Hearing from Ayala, Patton and Reynolds

BOSTON - Reliver Luis Ayala gets the award tonight for biggest understatement by an Oriole.

"The team in tonight's game had really good relief pitching," he said.

To say the least.

"We have a good 'pen, and that's one of the reasons why," he added, after the Orioles' relievers combined for eight scoreless innings. "We have a pretty good bullpen this year. We make great outs at key times. It's good for the team that we stay consistent.

"I've spent a lot of time with different teams and we have a great group of guys. We're working hard every day. Nice teammates, nice baseball players."

Are the Orioles surprising people this season?

"We play hard every day," said Ayala, who hasn't allowed a run in 14 innings. "It's a long season. It's too early to say something. We give 100 percent on the field. It's important to stay healthy, and if you can stay healthy, you can be a great team.

"Everybody tries to do a job. They throw quality pitches. We have great unity. The great teams have unity, and they start to do something great.

"We have one of the greatest bullpens. Every guy in the 'pen can do his job in every situation. We have that great union and everybody's happy."

Troy Patton, who tossed two scoreless innings, didn't realize the bullpen combined for eight shutout innings.

"I knew we were throwing up a lot of zeroes, and their guys were, too," he said. "It was a prolonged battle, it seemed like. Glad we came out on top.

"They put a lot of faith in me to get righties and lefties out. Tie game, it was a pretty big spot and I was happy to get the ball.

"A lot of the guys are really feeding off each other and putting up zeroes and having good outings. It helps our starters have pitched pretty well for the most part and guys have been fresh and doing their job.

"I think Buck (Showalter) really likes to keep a hold on the role thing. Other than the closer, he doesn't like to give out roles, probably for that reason, so everybody is ready to go. I think he likes keep everyone on their toes and everyone ready to pitch."

Are the Orioles having fun yet?

"It's been a whole lot of fun," he said. "We were just talking about that. We've got a lot of good guys, a lot of battlers, guys who are having good at-bats or throwing strikes. It's been a whole lot of fun."

Mark Reynolds hit his first home run and got the traditional reception from teammates.

"I got the silent treatment from the dugout, which was expected, but it's good to kind of get that first one. Now I can just relax and play," he said.

"They were all sitting down, so I just ran in the tunnel. I think I stood Buck up. He was trying to give me a five and I ran by him, but I didn't mean to. I gave him a five when I came back out.

"I felt good tonight. I got that first hit in that first at bat and I think I drew a walk and a double and a sac fly. I was feeling good. My other out, I had a hard line drive to the left fielder. So you know, hopefully this will be the start of me putting some good swings on the ball and start contributing around here.

Asked about the bullpen, Reynolds said, "It's unbelievable. These guys come in every night and they throw up scoreless inning after scoreless inning. We definitely wouldn't be where we are right now without those guys coming in and throwing strikes and keeping us in games. Those guys are doing a great job and we have a lot of guys down there who we like to say (make) uncomfortable at bats, throwing mid-90s upper-90s. It's good to have those guys on that team

"If our starting pitcher goes out and gives us, six, seven solid innings, we know that the bullpen is going to come in and do their job. Jim Johnson had a fairly stressless inning there. Pedro had a good inning. Troy Patton threw two scoreless. Everybody's contributing. It's fun to play behind these guys. They throw strikes and they keep us in games, and that's all you can ask for.

"I've said many times, the most fun I've had in the big leagues is when we went to the playoffs, and the atmosphere of coming to the yard every day and playing for that chance to get in the playoffs and make a run, its fun. Right now, we're playing real well. We've just got to keep it going and don't get complacent and keep playing hard like we've been playing all year."

Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk's Bill Hall has now hit safely in seven straight games, batting .367 (11-for-30) with two homers and five RBIs.

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