Wednesday, September 03, 2014
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Orioles grind out win vs. Reds

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[September 03, 2014]  BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles often talk about working hard and grinding out wins. They scored a victory Tuesday night that falls into that category.

Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homer in the second inning after his teammates put up four in the first inning and the Orioles held on for a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The win gave Baltimore (80-57) a 9 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. Boston beat the Yankees, 9-4, earlier in the night.

The Orioles batted through two rain delays, one that lasted 23 minutes before the game began and another which stretched out for 1 hour, 46 minutes in the top of the first inning.

They also saw starter Bud Norris (12-8) take a liner off his leg and then come back and pitch six shutout innings after the long delay.

"I'm really happy with the win tonight," Norris said. "Big team effort, hard to do, late night like this. But when the team grinds it out like this, it speaks a lot."

Set-up man Darren O'Day gave up a late grand slam, and the Orioles nearly lost their lead in the ninth before second baseman Schoop made a slick 4-3 game-ending double play.

Baltimore scored four runs thanks to five first-inning singles, as right fielder Nelson Cruz, first baseman Chris Davis and catcher Caleb Joseph all had RBI singles with third baseman Jimmy Paredes driving in a run with a grounder to second.

Schoop led off the second with his home run off Cincinnati starter Mat Latos (5-4) for the quick 5-0 lead. The score stayed there until the Reds rallied for four runs on right fielder Jay Bruce's grand slam off O'Day in the eighth.

The Reds put runners on first and third with one out in the ninth off closer Zach Britton. The left-hander then got first baseman Todd Frazier to ground to Schoop, and the second baseman quickly tagged speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton and threw to first to finish the game-ending double-play.

"As a baserunner, you absolutely cannot be tagged there," Reds manager Price said. "It's the only way they are going to turn two in that situation. It's those things you got to learn from. It's the only thing you can pull out of a game like this. I hope this is the only time we got to learn that lesson."

The play stood up under review, and the Orioles had their win, even though the last two innings proved unusually shaky.

"It was a win," Cruz said. "It wasn't that pretty at end, but it was a win. Everybody's doing whatever they can, and they did a good job."

The effort of Norris proved to be a cornerstone in this win.

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He got out of a jam after center fielder Billy Hamilton lined a single off his leg to start the game. There was a delay then when Hamilton and umpire Mike DiMuro collided behind the bag. DiMuro left the game.

Hamilton then stole second to set a new team record for steals by a rookie (55). After the delay, Norris came out and saw Joseph throw out Hamilton trying to steal third. The pitcher then got the next two batters to end the inning.

"That was pretty impressive to go out there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "One of the keys to the game was that inning. We seemed to get momentum out of that."

The Orioles then scored four runs on five singles in the first off Latos. Cruz and Davis started things with back-to-back RBI singles to make it 2-0.

A third run scored on a ground out from Paredes -- where Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips made a diving stop -- before Joseph drove in the last run with an RBI single.

Schoop then added his solo homer in the second.

NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said SS J.J. Hardy (lower back spasms) is improving and could be ready to start in the second game of the series Wednesday. Showalter pulled Hardy late in Monday's loss to the Twins because of the injury. ... When INF Kelly Johnson makes his Orioles debut, he'll become the first player to play for all five teams in the current American League East, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... Reds manager Bryan Price said RHP Homer Bailey had another MRI that showed his elbow problems hadn't improved much and a return this season wasn't likely. That's why the team put him on the 60-day disabled list this week. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips came into Tuesday's game with a 94-game error-less streak, the longest from a major leaguer at that position this season.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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