BALTIMORE -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made only three of his 51 regular-season starts batting sixth in the lineup, but that's where he was for Sunday night's Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Yankees.
Manager Buck Showalter's batting order against left-hander CC Sabathia had Machado rounding out the middle third, sandwiched between first baseman Mark Reynolds and right fielder Chris Davis. Leadoff man Nate McLouth was the only lefty in the lineup besides Davis.
"You face a lot of starting pitchers, and sometimes you're facing a four and five guy," Showalter said. "You're making sure your batting order is such that you can attack their bullpen and make it tough on these pitchers to get multiple outs.
"But with a guy like Sabathia, your whole mindset is try to figure out a way to get him out of the game before nine innings are up, because that's the biggest part of the equation."
Machado has made 13 starts in the No. 7 spot this season, 20 in the No. 8 spot and 15 in the No. 9 spot, which is where he was for Friday's AL Wild Card game. He experienced the most success batting eighth, where he put up a .315/.346/.507 line with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Machado went 3-for-15 (.200) with a triple in the No. 6 hole, with his most recent start there coming on Sept. 24.
Despite loss, Showalter lauds O's defensive gems
BALTIMORE -- It was the biggest source of frustration for manager Buck Showalter, the thing he placed the most emphasis on improving: the Orioles' defense.
A Baltimore club that led the Majors in errors for most of the season has turned it around the past two months, and there was more defensive wizardry on display in Sunday's 7-2 loss to the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Wearing a bulky brace to limit the lateral movement on his knee, Orioles starter Jason Hammel walked four but was able to avoid the big inning with some help behind him, including two stellar stops from first baseman Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis' outfield assist in the fourth.
But one of the most awe-inspiring plays came from catcher Matt Wieters, who helped reliever Darren O'Day get out of a sticky spot in the seventh to keep the game tied at 2.
"It was unbelievable," Reynolds said of Wieters picking second baseman Robert Andino's throw in the dirt and applying the tag to get Russell Martin at home. "It was pretty remarkable that he's able to do that with the catcher's glove on."
Wieters also threw out Ichiro Suzuki on a steal attempt in the first inning, although getting Martin was the play that sent the sold-out crowd at Camden Yards into an uproar and had teammates and manager Buck Showalter marveling at the 26-year-old's prowess behind the plate.
"We had a great defensive game," Showalter said. "Reynolds made two great plays at first base. Chris Davis made a couple good plays in the outfield for us. Wieters made that play at the plate. You know how difficult it is ... [with] a catcher's mitt, too, that's some kind of play, especially in that situation. That's probably the difference in that ballgame was Jason pitching real well, and I was real proud of him and everybody defensively that kept us in the game."
Davis, taking over right-field duties for the injured Nick Markakis, also made an on-the-run grab in the deepest corner of foul territory to retire Curtis Granderson and end the sixth inning. Rookie Manny Machado, a big part of the club's improved defense, barehanded and threw across the diamond to get Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano for the second out of the sixth.
Heroic counselor, student throw Game 1 first pitches
BALTIMORE -- Perry Hall High School guidance counselor Jesse Wasmer and student Daniel Borowy threw out the ceremonial first pitches before Sunday night's Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Orioles and Yankees at Camden Yards.
Wasmer played a heroic role in a shooting that occurred in the Baltimore school's cafeteria on Aug. 27.
After Borowy was shot in the back, Wasmer responded quickly by tackling the gunman to prevent any further violence.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.