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Machado, Keys take home Mills Cup

O's top prospect named MVP, plates four in 11-run inning
September 17, 2011
The Frederick Keys picked the perfect time to set a franchise playoff record.

Manny Machado homered and drove in four runs as Frederick scored a club-record 11 times in the third inning to wrap up the Carolina League championship Friday, beating the Kinston Indians, 11-3.

The Keys returned to Maryland with their first Mills Cup title since 2007.

Frederick trailed, 2-0, before taking advantage of three errors and a wild pitch in the third. Batting with runners on the corners and none out, Machado was credited with an RBI as third baseman Adam Abraham bobbled his grounder, allowing Dale Mollenhauer to score.'s No. 10 prospect came up again with two on and two out and launched his first playoff homer.

"After I came up again, I was just trying to drive the ball," Machado said. "He [reliever Cody Allen] gave me a pitch I could drive and I took the ball out of the park. I knew it was gone right off the bat. I got all of it and it was a definite home run.

"I was excited just to get the insurance runs. This is a very good team we're playing against; you can't give these guys a chance to fight back."

Machado was named MVP of the Mills Cup Finals after hitting .344 with a homer and a league-leading nine RBIs in nine playoff games.

Selected third overall in the 2010 Draft, Machado battled through injuries in his first full Minor League season and batted .257 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 101 games. He started the season with Class A Delmarva and was promoted to the Keys on June 23 before homering in his Carolina League debut.

"It's my first full season and just to be in the playoffs and then go ahead and be champs and be MVP of the championship game, it's the icing on the cake of the first full year I've had and I'm blessed," Machado said.

Frederick completed arguably the finest season in franchise history, winning a team-record 80 games. This is the fourth Mills Cup for the Keys and the first championship in the Orioles organization since their last title.

"We're all excited, we've been working for this all season," Machado said. "We're taking advantage of every moment we have together. We're all excited and we're having a great time."

Ryohei Tanaka (1-0) was credited with the win, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits with seven strikeouts over five innings. Ashur Tolliver and Jason Gurka combined for four innings of hitless relief to close out the clincher.

The Keys endured two separate rain delays that totaled more than two hours. The second delay came in the middle of the fourth, an inning after Frederick's outburst.

"That was pretty rough," Machado said. "It's tough after getting all those runs to come out and tell us that we have to go in. We handled it well and we stayed on the main goal."

The loss marked a disappointing end to the Indians' run at Grainger Stadium. Kinston will relocate to Zebulon, N.C., for the 2012 season.

Jordan Casas had two hits, including a solo homer, and drove in two runs for the K-Tribe.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to