On Sunday, after Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins ranged to his left and into Camden Yards’ outfield wall to rob Minnesota Twins designated hitter Byron Buxton of extra bases, starting pitcher Cole Irvin believed Mullins deserved a thank you gift.
“I think I owe Ced a little something,” Irvin quipped.
That probably would not suffice for Friday’s second act, when Mullins leaped in the bottom of the fourth inning at Target Field to deny Buxton what otherwise would have been a three-run home run off Irvin. Buxton slammed his helmet into the ground and put his hand on hips then in the air before tipping his helmet toward Mullins, the Gold Glove Award finalist shrugging with a smirk in response.
Irvin retired the next two Twins to keep the game scoreless, and Mullins produced the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. It did not stand as such, but the Orioles managed to open their final series before the All-Star break with a 3-1 victory in 10 innings, their third straight win after dropping six of seven games.
The Orioles’ half of the ninth ended on a questionable ruling. With two outs and no one on, rookie Colton Cowser cued a grounder up the first base line. Twins closer Jhoan Duran fielded the ball and threw to first, but the effort hit Cowser, who was ruled out for interference despite appearing to run on the chalk of the base line the entire way to the bag.
It meant, after Félix Bautista pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth, Cowser was Baltimore’s automatic runner at second base, scoring on Ramón Urías’ first-pitch double off Duran. Out of the past two days with left Achilles tendon soreness, Aaron Hicks brought home Urías with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly, with Urías emphatically pumping his first after crossing home plate. Bautista returned for the bottom of the 10th to finish off the victory, stranding Minnesota’s automatic runner at third base.
Irvin, a left-hander acquired from the Oakland Athletics this offseason to provide dependability out of the rotation, authored his best start with the Orioles (52-35). He efficiently carried a shutout into the seventh inning, completing the sixth for the first time with Baltimore after doing so 36 times in 62 outings the past two seasons with Oakland. After retiring Buxton again to open the seventh, Irvin allowed a double to Kyle Farmer, only his third hit surrendered, but it ended his night after 84 pitches.
Right-hander Mike Baumann, a native of Minnesota, gave up a game-tying single to the first batter he faced, leaving Irvin with one run allowed in 6 1/3 innings. On the other side of Triple-A stints and relief outings, Irvin allowed three runs over 14 1/3 innings in his final three starts of the first half.
Former Twins reliever Danny Coulombe and Yennier Cano, who have both emerged as key members of the Orioles’ bullpen, combined for four outs to get the game to the ninth. Through regulation, Baltimore’s offense was quiet a day after setting season highs with 14 runs and 20 hits. But Mullins’ catch afforded them wiggle room until the decisive 10th.
This story will be updated.
Orioles at Twins
Saturday, 2:10 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Source: Berkshire mont