Machado wows at 'shortstop' with O's in shift

Orioles third baseman makes two great plays in seventh inning

Machado wows at 'shortstop' with O's in shift

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado is pretty comfortable in the middle of the diamond, and he showed it again on Wednesday night as the young third baseman used his ridiculous range and arm to put on a defensive clinic in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Rangers.

"I don't know which one was [better]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after watching a pair of jaw-dropping plays from Machado to start the seventh. "He's really playing a lot of shortstop these last two years with the shifts. He's playing about as much shortstop as J.J. [Hardy]. Much like [Adrian] Beltre, you get that type of third baseman, you can do so many different things. He makes all the plays and makes them with a lot of efficiency."

Machado started things off by making a barehanded grab on Ryan Rua's softly hit ball and firing to first base. He followed that up by diving into the shift to snag Shin-Soo Choo's ball and throw him out at first, all while off balance.

Machado's barehanded play

"I feel really happy back there because you see Manny make those two great plays, and with Choo running -- he's a good runner -- so it's not easy to make those plays," O's starter Wei-Yin Chen, who pointed at Machado from the mound, said through his interpreter. "So with him behind me playing the defense I feel very comfortable pitching out there."

Added Hardy: "I love watching him play. He does things every night that amaze me, and he does a lot of things that other third basemen can't do."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.