BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles won’t get to the postseason this year, yet they could determine who does.
Tommy Hunter pitched seven scoreless innings, Mark Reynolds and Nolan Reimold homered, and the Orioles blunted the Los Angeles Angels’ playoff charge with an 8-3 victory Friday night.
Los Angeles remained 3 1/2 games behind first-place Texas in the AL West and dropped five games behind Boston in the wild-card race.
It was the third straight win for the last-place Orioles, who have become spoilers of late. Baltimore took two of three from wild-card hopeful Tampa Bay before easily handling the Angels, who had won eight of 11.
Baltimore needs two more wins to avoid the third 100-loss season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954, but their incentive down the stretch goes beyond that.
“There’s a lot to do in 12 games,” said center fielder Adam Jones, who’s been sidelined with a sore thumb but hopes to return soon. “We’ve got seven against the Red Sox. We can be a very significant part of how everything finishes out.”
The Orioles certainly made an impression on the Angels.
“A lot of things they did on the field better than we did,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We have to play at a higher level.”
After the Angels fell behind 8-0, Scioscia pulled every one of his position players except third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
“No message,” Scioscia said. “At this part of the season, in a game like that, we needed to get some young legs out there and let these guys regroup.”
The Angels avoided a shutout in the ninth against Kevin Gregg, who allowed a two-run homer to Hank Conger and an RBI double to Alexi Amarista.
“We lost. It’s very concerning,” outfielder Torii Hunter said. “We didn’t play like a team that is in the pennant race.”
Tommy Hunter gave up seven hits, struck out five and walked two in his most impressive outing since coming to Baltimore on July 30 from Texas. He came in 1-4 with an 8.79 ERA in seven career games against Los Angeles.
“We’d like to finish strong no matter who it is out there,” he said. “It’s not one of those things where we’re going to play harder against one of these teams or that team. This team is young. We want to go out there and play, no matter who it is.”
Haren (15-9) yielded seven runs — six earned — and seven hits in five-plus innings.
“Everyone knows that every game is important. I feel terrible,” the right-hander said. “We have some games to make up and time is running out.”
Haren got into trouble in the second, when the Orioles manufactured two runs on one hit. Reimold walked, stole second and scored on Robert Andino’s single. A sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch got Andino to third, and he came home on J.J. Hardy’s groundout.
Baltimore made it 5-0 in the fifth. After Reynolds led off with his 33rd homer and Andino got an infield hit, Callaspo let a grounder go through his legs for an error. Hardy followed with a two-run double.
Any hope the Angels had of a comeback ended in the sixth, when the Orioles increased the lead to 8-0. Chris Davis led off with a single and Reynolds doubled to chase Haren. Tyler Chatwood entered and threw a wild pitch, allowing Davis to score, and Reimold followed with a drive to left on an 0-2 pitch.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)