Miss me Machado? Manny homers in return

Miss me Machado? Manny homers in return

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado returned to the lineup on Friday and wasted no time making his presence felt.

Machado, who served a four-game suspension earlier in the week, belted his 18th homer of the season as part of Baltimore's 6-3 win over the Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Machado, who is leading all American League third baseman in All-Star voting, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

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"It felt good. I wasn't sitting at home and just drinking some beer and not doing anything," Machado said of his suspension. "I was in here working, working out in the cage, doing what I needed to do to stay fresh. I knew it wasn't a vacation at the end of the day. I had to come in here and help this team in whatever way I can, defense and offensively. It was good to be back out there, see some good pitches, and know that my swing is still there."

Machado's nice play at third

Suspended for his role in June 7's benches-clearing brawl against the Royals, Machado -- who stormed the mound and punched Yordano Ventura -- raised his season average to .320 on Friday night and is second only to Mark Trumbo in Orioles homers. His consecutive games started streak had been snapped at 229, the longest in the Majors.

"I don't think it will hurt him at all," manager Buck Showalter said of Machado's layoff. "I know I was talking to him today about what he had been doing. Did he watch every pitch? He said, 'Yeah, I saw every pitch.' I said, 'What did you get out of it?' He said how easy the game looks there compared to how hard it is. How slow it looks on TV and how fast it is when you play it. And the umpires are a little better than sometimes we think they are. Every ball that's hit he thinks is going out of the park. It's fun just to sit there and watch. It's like watching a golf tournament at a course that you played at. You've got a better feel for it.

"Hopefully, he can start another [consecutive games] streak. I was going to give him a couple games anyway, but some other people took care of that. Ventura took care of that."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. 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.