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STL@BAL: Orioles hit six homers in win over Cards

BALTIMORE -- Each ball that flew through the sky above Oriole Park at Camden Yards drew cheers. It didn't matter whether they were headed toward the seats or destined to drop into an outfielder's glove -- Friday was a celebration and every ball that headed toward the outfield had a chance to carry out of the stadium.

On the day the O's celebrated the club's 60th birthday with 23 team Hall of Famers, the 2014 Orioles turned the night into a party for the 43,743 at the stadium. Baltimore belted a season-high six home runs and received a solid performance from Chris Tillman to eliminate any drama from a 12-2 win against the Cardinals.

"There's a lot of hits," shortstop J.J. Hardy said of the Birds' 15 knocks on the night. "Manny kind of got us started with that three-run homer. The balls were falling in for us tonight."

Hardy went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs. Manny Machado added another homer in a 2-for-4 performance. Every O's starter collected a hit. After scoring three total runs in their last two games, the Orioles erupted for their most runs since the All-Star break.

Befitting the occasion, it was the home runs that highlighted the evening. And as if honoring the late Earl Weaver's love of the three-run home run, Baltimore belted two of those.

"I thought about that, too," manager Buck Showalter said. "We got a real lift from our fans."

Machado's first homer, the three-run shot that gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead in the second, fit the theme and each subsequent homer built momentum.

Hardy's solo homer stretched the lead to five in the third and his dinger an inning later -- another three-run homer, of course -- turned a convincing lead into an 8-0 laugher.

"It was a good night to do what we did," Tillman said. "We were hanging out with them in the clubhouse, so as a player now it's good to be around those guys."

The O's entered Friday ranked last in the American League in runs, batting average and on-base percentage since the break. Against St. Louis, they rose to the moment and solved their woes. The Orioles chased Justin Masterson, one of the Cards' Trade Deadline acquisitions, four batters into the second inning after tagging him for five runs.

Nick Hundley opened the scoring with an RBI single in the second inning. Two batters later he was trotting home after Machado's three-run home run.

"It's always fun to see the all balls fly out -- as long as it's not against us," Tillman said. "I think it's only a matter of time before these guys did this."

In the first inning, it seemed the Orioles were on their way to another game defined by missed opportunities. Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs against Masterson, but Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis fanned. Hardy grounded out as Masterson danced around disaster.

Really, it was a fluke. Machado's three-run homer capped a four-run frame an inning later. Hardy added a solo home run in the third and another three-run shot in the fourth. Adam Jones, Davis and Ryan Flaherty threw in homers in each of the next three innings.

"Just one of those days," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

As each one carried over the fence, excitement transformed into disbelief. Camden Yards took on a celebratory feel to match the birthday festivities as the O's moved a season-best 17 games over .500 and were able to empty their bench.

And every time one of the O's explosive innings came to an end, Tillman did his best to get the offense back in the batter's box. The starting pitcher allowed two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings and matched a season-high with seven strikeouts.

After the game, the celebration continued. As the Orioles headed to the clubhouse, they crossed paths with the 23 Orioles legends ready to be honored as part of a postgame laser show and fireworks display. The celebration could carry on into the night, and perhaps it will last even longer as Baltimore holds tight to a five game lead in the AL East.

"I've still got chills," Showalter said. "That was pretty cool. You want to take pictures. Those are keepers."

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