Orioles Sweep Royals; Jones and Hardy Help Out Again, Matusz Wins

We are almost at the quarter-pole of the 2012 season, and the Orioles – yes – are still rolling.

This afternoon, the Orioles won their third game in a row, and swept the Royals, defeating them, 5-3, in amazing fashion.

They are now an astounding 25-14 so far this season and they have the best record in baseball. Once again, the Orioles found themselves in a hole; however, they dug themselves out of it.

I’m not sure how they are doing it, but they are playing all 27 outs and doing things the right way. The Orioles have been rebuilding for a long time, and it has taken a lot of patience on the part of us fans to see the rewards.

Baltimore fell behind 3-0 to Kansas City in the early part of the game, but they started to turn it on in the fourth inning. Adam Jones hit his 13th homer in that frame – a two-run shot; however, the Orioles killed it in the seventh inning as Chris Davis, who has been struggling big time, singled to center and advanced Wilson Betemit to second.

Kansas City’s Jarrod Dyson inexplicably misplayed Davis’ single – which was roped to him – and allowed the ball to get to the warning track. Betemit scored, and a few minutes later, J.J. Hardy came through with a two-run single to plate Davis and Xavier Avery.

Dyson’s play might have the Orioles the momentum they needed. Like all strong teams do, they took advantage and did not look back.

Baltimore would take a 5-3 lead and finish out the game. Jim Johnson would earn his 13th save and they would again take the American League East lead – this time by ½ a game as the Tampa Bay Rays were idle at the time.

Brian Matusz had a shaky third inning, but calmed down and earned this third win of the season.

He went six innings and allowed three runs – all earned. The bullpen came through again as Luis Ayala and Pedro Strop each served as a bridge to Johnson, as both men pitched a scoreless inning.

Luke Hochevar took the loss for Kansas City. He went six innings and gave up four runs.

Could this be the season the Orioles contend?

Seriously? If they just play .500 ball from here on out, they could be in the playoffs. Seriously, did anyone – I mean anyone – envision this team playing so well into May?

I would not make plans for playoff tickets yet; however, with the way Baltimore is playing, anything can happen.

Things around the sport of baseball seem to be changing, and the Orioles look to be part of that trend.