On day when O'Day landed on DL, relievers toss 3 1/3 scoreless innings to allow for winning rally
By Ryan Baillargeon
BALTIMORE -- With All-Star reliever Darren O'Day placed on the disabled list Friday afternoon, Orioles manager Buck Showalter needed to turn to another member of the bullpen to bridge the gap to closer Zach Britton. Mychal Givens, who entered Friday night with a 2.16 ERA and four wins in 25 innings, got the nod.
After coming in for the final out of the seventh -- when catcher Matt Wieters threw out Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who was trying to steal second -- Givens retired the middle of New York's lineup in order on nine pitches. It was part of a clutch performance for the O's bullpen, which tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-5 win. And Givens was credited with the victory, improving to 5-0.
"Our bullpen, we've always felt is a strength no matter who's out there," Wieters said. "Darren will hopefully get better soon, but Mychal did a great job tonight."
When the bullpen took over with two outs in the sixth inning, the Orioles trailed, 5-2. If the offense was going to mount a rally, keeping the deficit within reach was going to be key.
And the O's 'pen, which entered the night with the third-best ERA in the Majors, delivered as it has often this season. Lefty T.J. McFarland, Givens and Britton combined to allow just two hits.
"I don't think we're ever out of it," said starter Chris Tillman, who allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings. "These guys have got a good bullpen, but so do we. I think that as long as we can keep it close, our guys are going to put up some runs, and they picked me up big-time tonight. So did the bullpen."
With Baltimore's starters struggling to go deep into games lately, Showalter has been forced to rely heavily on his bullpen. Even with an increased workload, they've continued to stymie opponents.
Givens tossed two scoreless innings against a potent Red Sox lineup to notch a victory Thursday before going 1 1/3 Friday. He's providing a solid option for Showalter as the team's setup man while O'Day recovers from a strained hamstring.
"Mychal's been thrown in the fire mostly because we think he can handle it," Showalter said. "We have other options, but he's responded to it well."
Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.