Castillo's hot bat could aid O's down the stretch

Castillo's hot bat could aid O's down the stretch

BALTIMORE -- Will Orioles catcher Welington Castillo ever sit again?

"I was thinking of DH'ing him tomorrow," manager Buck Showalter said of Castillo, who homered twice, including the game-tying shot in Sunday's 5-4, 12-inning win over Toronto. "Does that count as sitting?"

Any scenario that keeps Castillo's red-hot bat in the lineup would benefit Baltimore, which pulled within 1 1/2 games of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot. Castillo has four homers in the past week and 18 on the season, 10 of which have come since the break. The O's backstop is hitting .376 with 19 runs and 23 RBIs in the second half.

Is that what the Orioles were expecting when they signed Castillo as a free agent this winter?

"He had that potential. I told you from the first day. I wasn't that knowledgeable other than talking to people, people who I respect their opinion, watching some tape," Showalter said. "Until you get someone, especially a catcher, he's been so easy to work with. This guy likes to win, and he likes to improve if there's something he needs to improve on.

"And he respects Caleb Joseph. It's a good tandem. He understands that guys are doing well and need to play, and it's worked out real well for him. He's getting a good return for the way he's approached this season, and so are we."

Castillo forced extras on Sunday afternoon, going deep off Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna to tie the game at 4 in the ninth and prompt cheers of "Beeeeeef" at Camden Yards.

"I played against him a lot, Welly, that is," Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo said. "He's a clutch hitter. That's a big-time situation against a premier closer."

Castillo also went yard to start the bottom of the third inning and is hitting .407 with seven homers when leading off an inning. On the season, despite two trips to the disabled list, Castillo has 48 RBIs.

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