5/5/2013 9:03 P.M. ET
O's homers overpower Angels in finale
Hardy, Machado homer to back Hammel as Davis returns from injury
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- As reliever Tommy Hunter said after Saturday's extra-inning win, the Orioles aren't going away in the American League East race, and it's going to be a different guy to step up in every win.
How about several?
The Orioles (19-13) capped a tough, three-city West Coast trip with an 8-4 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon, a game that required a total team effort that has become their trademark under manager Buck Showalter.
"It tells the tale of this team," Orioles starter Jason Hammel said of a resilient bunch, winners of five of their last six series, playing at their best when the game is close. "We're going to grind it out. We're going to battle. It's nice to be a part of, because all of our hard work that went into it so far has already come to fruition this early in the season."
There was Manny Machado, who continues to dazzle on defense, with a two-run, go-ahead homer in the fifth, and first baseman Chris Davis, whose return to the lineup was felt with a key two-out RBI that started a three-run eighth.
The Orioles got a gutsy start from Hammel, who battled through six innings, and more bottom-of-the-order production with a two-run homer from J.J. Hardy and a two-run single from Ryan Flaherty.
The bullpen -- an outstanding bunch all season -- turned in three scoreless innings as the Orioles ran their franchise record streak to 107 consecutive wins when leading after seven innings, finishing 7-4 on the trip with stops in Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim.
With at least a share of the four-game set against the Angels already in hand entering play Sunday, the Orioles showed no signs of complacency, rallying from an early deficit for an enthusiastic -- and Cinco de Mayo-appropriate -- end to the day, complete with some postgame pinata breaking.
"You get ... not satisfied, but you get a little dull, maybe," Showalter said of the challenges in finishing out the final game of a long trip. "But I think our guys know what's got to happen for us to get where we want to go. We are so challenged, and it's such a lure to give yourself a mental or emotional day off. The guys that can keep that kind of discipline, usually the baseball gods shine on them."
Up 5-4, the Orioles broke it open with a three-run eighth inning against Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa. Machado worked a four-pitch walk and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw from De La Rosa. After Nick Markakis' groundout moved Machado to third, Davis delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle to give the Orioles some breathing room. It was the first of four consecutive hits for the Orioles, with Flaherty driving in Davis and catcher Matt Wieters to push the lead to 8-4.
"We're all clutch," Machado said of the lineup. "No matter what the situation is, we come up with something big, whether it's laying down a bunt or getting the runners over like Nicky did. We got CD up and he gets a big hit. Little things like that that people don't notice. That's something that we all do on this team."
The Orioles chased Angels starter Jerome Williams from the game after 4 1/3 innings, with a pair of two-run homers from Hardy and Machado helping force the right-hander's early exit.
Hardy went deep for the second consecutive game with a two-out shot in the fourth inning that scored Adam Jones, who worked a leadoff walk, to tie the score at 3-3. One inning later, Machado followed Mike Trout's homer with a two-run shot of his own for a 5-4 lead.
"One thing I've learned over the years is that if you grind it out with a good-hitting ballclub, you're going to have the chance to come out with a 'W'," said Hammel, who rebounded after a 37-pitch first inning led to three Angels runs. "That's what these guys do for me."
Hammel, who became the fourth consecutive Orioles starter to go at least six innings, allowed only one run after that -- the solo homer by Trout in the fourth -- as he navigated through a dangerous Angels lineup.
"Three or four years ago, Hamm may not have been able to get through that [first inning]," Showalter said. " That was a mental challenge. We got down 3-1 and he gave us some zeros after that."
The Angels put the potential tying run on second base in the sixth inning after Erick Aybar's two-out single and Hammel's wild pitch. But Hammel held firm, sending Trout down on a called third-strike curveball to keep the 5-4 lead intact.
"We had bases loaded, he made some good pitches to get out of some innings early, which gave a different feel to the game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's no doubt on the offensive side, I thought we pressured those guys a lot. Early on, we got some hits with runners in scoring position. Later they made pitches and got out of it."
Lefty reliever Brian Matusz followed Hammel and struck out Josh Hamilton for the first out of the seventh inning, handing the ball off to right-hander Pedro Strop to finish it off. Strop, who has struggled early in the season, walked Mark Trumbo on five pitches and was called for a balk, which advanced Trumbo to second. But Strop made a nice stop on Alberto Callaspo's grounder, pivoting and throwing to third baseman Machado to get Trumbo caught halfway to third for the second out.
Machado then made a jumping stop on a high chopper from Howie Kendrick, with Davis -- who returned to the lineup after exiting Friday's game with a knee injury -- making a nice pick of the throw to finish the play. Right-hander Darren O'Day stranded a pair of inherited runners to bail out lefty Troy Patton in the eighth and tossed a scoreless ninth to seal the win.
"Any time you go to the West Coast for 12 days and you walk away with even a .500 mark, you're feeling pretty good about yourself, " Hammel said. "But to come away with seven of 11 wins, that's pretty impressive. and kudos to the guys to keep battling out and put up runs for us. Once again, the bullpen's been lights out."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.