The Baltimore Orioles needed to make a statement this weekend as they go head-to-head against a fellow wild-card competitor, and Manny Machado did just that in the opener. Machado will try to follow up a three-homer performance when the Orioles host the Los Angeles Angels in the second of a three-game series on Saturday.
Two of the brightest young stars in baseball are going up against each other in the series, and Mike Trout gave the Angels a 7-4 lead with a two-run blast in the fifth inning of Friday’s opener. Machado responded with a solo shot in the bottom of that inning - his second of the night - before clubbing a walk-off grand slam to hand Baltimore a 9-7 victory. The loss dropped Los Angeles into a tie for the second AL wild card spot with the Minnesota Twins while the Orioles climbed within two games of the Angels and Twins. Baltimore will try to knock another game off its deficit behind Kevin Gausman on Saturday while Los Angeles counters with J.C. Ramirez.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH J.C. Ramirez (10-10, 4.26 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (9-8, 5.08)
Ramirez’s worst start among his last eight outings came at home against Baltimore on Aug. 7, when he was ripped for six runs and eight hits in seven innings to suffer the loss. The Nicaragua native, who tossed eight scoreless innings against Philadelphia on Aug. 2, notched only two strikeouts against the Orioles. Ramirez was mildly better at Seattle last Saturday, when he yielded three runs on seven hits in five innings and did not factor in the decision.
Gausman has been one of the few bright spots on the Baltimore staff over the last month and surrendered two or fewer runs in five of his last six outings. The lone outlier in that group came at Los Angeles on Aug. 9, when he was knocked around for four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 frames. Gausman bounced back at Seattle on Monday, yielding two runs and six hits in seven innings to get back into the win column.
1. Orioles SS Tim Beckham went 2-for-5 on Friday - his 12th multi-hit game in 17 since joining the team at the trade deadline.
2. Los Angeles RF Kole Calhoun homered in back-to-back games after going 17 straight without a blast.
3. Baltimore OF Anthony Santander made his major-league debut on Friday and singled to kick off the ninth-inning rally.
PREDICTION: Orioles 8, Angels 2