ATLANTA -- In a season that's long been lost, the Orioles have begun to improve their play. Not since the season's early days when they won three of four at Yankee Stadium April 5-8 have they played this well against quality opponents.
In the past week, they've won four of six which began with their 10-4 win against Miami June 17. They then played creditably in Washington June 19-21 where they won just one of three but lost two close games.
Throughout the last two days, they've defeated the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves.
After a five hour, 21-minute deathmatch that lasted 15 innings and ended in a 10-7 Orioles victory June 22, the Orioles showed punch in their 7-5 win against the Braves June 23.
The runs came from two of their big boppers who had been quiet recently. Right fielder Mark Trumbo hit a first-inning grand slam and first baseman Chris Davis added a three-run double in the fifth.
Trumbo, who has been playing the field this week because the Orioles are playing National League teams and can't employ the designated hitter, hit his fourth home run in the past six games.
Davis, who sat out eight games, has five RBIs in the two games since he's returned, his most productive two games of the season. It will be hard for Davis' numbers to look weighty at the end of the season, but in two days, his RBI total has risen to 20, though he's still only hitting .153.
"I think that's the biggest thing for me, not really looking at the selfish result but looking at the team, what it did for the team," Davis said.
Dylan Bundy pitched 6.1 innings to earn his third win in June. The right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits and picked up his first major league hit in the fifth, a dribbler that made it through the right side of the infield.
"I was real excited. It felt good," Bundy said. "It felt really weird being on the bases. It was my first time out there so I've got some learning to do, I heard."
Even with the modest success of this week, the Orioles are still 29 games below .500 at 23-52. In order to avoid losing 100 games, the Orioles would have to finish 40-47 the rest of the way. The last time the Orioles lost more than 100 games was 1988 when they finished 54-107.
"We've been playing more like we need to play and have played in the past," manager Buck Showalter said. "It's just been methodical. I'm happy that they're getting a return. The mood and the effort's been good. It's just how much can you take. You worry about that, because nobody in here is happy about losing."
For the second straight game, the Orioles had trouble closing out their opponent. Donnie Hart, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for the fifth time this season before the game to help out a tired bullpen, relieved Bundy after the right-hander got the first out of the seventh. The left-hander, who entered with a 7-2 lead, didn't retire any of the four batters he faced, and two scored.
After Zach Britton frittered away a four-run lead in the ninth inning the night before, the left-hander held the Orioles' two-run lead to earn his first save of the season.
"I think overall, we've done a pretty good job of staying even-keel with all the struggles we had," Britton said. "But obviously, it's nice to come here and win two games against a really good ballclub.
"Even last night, obviously, we had a big lead there, I gave it up and for them to fight back through extra innings and come back today with not a lot of sleep, the offense come up right away and do a good job. It's good for the bullpen I think overall just to get a win for the guys."