Orioles win second in a row, defeat Rays 5-3; Jones and Hall lead the way, Matusz solid on the mound

The Baltimore Orioles continue to roll as they are one-fifth through the season, and it is one great thing to see.

They won their second straight game and downed the Rays, 5-3, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of an announced 32,862 fans on a wonderful night for a ballgame. It’s good to see the fans come back to the park, as the Orioles got a huge walkup crowd for Saturday’s contest.

Baltimore is now 22-10 and lead the American League East by two games.

Well, the Rays made five errors, and the Orioles did what good teams do – took advantage of the situation.

Adam Jones drove in two runs, and Bill Hall – in his first game as an Oriole and in the majors this season – hit a home run which gave his team some breathing room in the eighth inning.

Brian Matsuz, who struggled in his last start, delivered on the mound, going 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs – two earned. His control was much better, as were the pitches as well. He struck out five, walked one, and gave up seven hits.

His numbers could have looked better; however, Steve Tolleson’s error in the sixth inning allowed two Rays to score moments later as Luke Scott hit an up-the-middle single. Matusz is now 2-4 on the season.

The Oriole bullpen kept the Rays at bay at Luis Ayala pitched 1 1/3 innings, Pedro Strop was solid in the eighth, and Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth for his eleventh save.

It’s amazing how little attention Johnson is getting nationally in the closer role. Then again, if the Orioles keep it up, he will get his props from the media. He’s been dealing since the latter portion of last season, as he replaced Kevin Gregg in that role.

I do wonder what will happen with Gregg. He’s been a lot better as of late, but has not pitched much at all this season. Well, one should feel a little for Gregg; however, the Orioles and Showalter must go with what is working. The Orioles are winning, and nothing should change.

Over the past twelve games, the Orioles are 8-4.

If you take out the series with the Rangers, they are 7-1 against the American League East. Amazing.

If the Orioles keep this up against the division, it might be a wonderful summer in these parts for a change.