Orioles use power, good pitching to beat Blue Jays for AL East title

September 16, 2014|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Somehow, some way, the Orioles are the 2014 American League East champions.

With the embattled Ubaldo Jimenez going five innings for the victory and scrap-heap addition Jimmy Paredes hitting a solo homer and cut-and-re-signed first baseman Steve Pearce smashing a three-run blast, the Orioles won Tuesday night’s clincher, 8-2, over the Toronto Blue Jays the way they’ve done it all year.

Power, good pitching and a pass-the-baton offense – which included a three-run triple by scorching newcomer Alejandro De Aza in the seventh to put the game and title out of reach.

It’s the first Orioles’ AL East pennant since 1997. It’s the second earliest the club has ever clinched the division -- behind only Sept. 13, 1969.

It’s the first time they’ve clinched at home with a win -- in 1969 they won at Memorial Stadium, but they technically had clinched earlier in the day.

In 1979 they clinched at home, but lost the actual game that day.

So Tuesday night was the first time the Orioles have ever clinched a division title at Camden Yards and first time they did it needing a win.

The announced 35,297 at Camden Yards – many participating in the club’s “Orange out” with orange shirts – cheered throughout.

They cheered a club that lost catcher Matt Wieters in May and third baseman Manny Machado in August and corner infielder Chris Davis in September.

The Orioles had to change closers in mid-May, and their big offseason pitching acquisition, Jimenez, was sent to the bullpen in the second half and the club had to use true rookies at catcher and second base.

Through it all, they kept winning.

And the Orioles are now AL East champs, the fourth different one in the last five years.

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