Third baseman collects four hits, including second-inning home run
By Jeff Seidel
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE-- Manny Machado came up with two of the biggest plays on offense for the Orioles in their 5-3 victory over the Rays on Sunday, a big reason the Orioles remain the only undefeated team in the Majors.
Machado's two-run homer proved to be the key hit in a four-run second inning that gave the Orioles a lead they never lost. Then, after the Rays cut a four-run deficit to 4-3, Machado came through again in the eighth.
The third baseman completed a 4-for-4 day at the plate with a leadoff double to left-center. Chris Davis moved him to third by grounding to first, before Machado scored on an Erasmo Ramirez wild pitch that bounced to the right of home plate.
The ball didn't get too far away from catcher Hank Conger, but Machado took a chance anyway, feeling the Orioles needed some insurance. His gamble paid off.
"We're trying to get that extra run in that situation," Machado said. "[Third baseman Evan] Longoria's off the bag, so you want to get as much as possible. If you see anything in the dirt, you've got nobody covering behind you so you just want to be aggressive. I took advantage of it. Any ball going to the sides, I was going to try to get that bag."
That completed the perfect day on offense for Machado, who was a triple shy of the cycle with two runs scored. This was his fourth career four-hit game.
Machado now is hitting .429 with three homers and four RBIs, but the team's 5-0 record -- which is tied with the 1970 World Series champions for the best start in franchise history -- pleases him more.
"We haven't driven the ball out of the ballpark like we're supposed to," Machado said. "But we've been getting guys over, doing the little things. Great baserunning, playing good defense, our pitching staff is keeping us close [in] the games and we're getting ahead. So those little things, every time you do little things early on, it will take you a long way."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.