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Kyle Bradish shows former organization what it’s missing as Orioles top Angels, 3-1

Nights such as Wednesday don’t surprise Orioles rookie infielder Joey Ortiz. He’s been watching Kyle Bradish dominate since their college days at New Mexico State.

“Ever since I’ve known him, he’s always been, like, the best pitcher I’ve ever seen,” Ortiz said. “The stuff he’s got, to me, it looks unhittable.”

The Los Angeles Angels were left largely feeling the same way Wednesday night, as Bradish, once a member of their minor league system, held them to one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Orioles won, 3-1, at Camden Yards. He struck out five with no walks as Baltimore nearly went a second straight night without issuing a free pass.

The Angels took Bradish in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, with the Orioles taking Ortiz in the same round the next year. The subsequent offseason, they became members of the same organization, when Bradish and three other young right-handers were traded to Baltimore for starting pitcher Dylan Bundy. On Wednesday night, Bundy pitched against the Orioles’ Triple-A team for the New York Mets’ top affiliate and was ejected for a foreign substance violation.

Bradish, a 26-year-old in his second season in Baltimore’s rotation, was always considered the centerpiece of the trade, with the Orioles also receiving Isaac Mattson, a reliever who made his debut with Baltimore but is no longer with the organization, and Zach Peek and Kyle Brnovich, two minor leaguers recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. But his future as a starter was initially questioned. On Wednesday, he showed the Angels what they’re missing, with some defensive help from his former college teammate.

“He was throwing every pitch where he wanted to,” said third baseman Gunnar Henderson, who recorded his first multi-hit game since April 25. “He’s been electric his past few outings.”

Bradish retired the first six Angels he faced before a single opened the third, with Ortiz’s diving stop at shortstop leading to a forceout preventing the runner from advancing to second. After Cedric Mullins walked and came around to score on Ryan Mountcastle’s single to give the Orioles (28-15) the lead in the third, Bradish gave it back on a home run by superstar Mike Trout, with the ball ticking off Mullins’ glove in center to open the fourth.

Mullins broke the tie with an RBI single in the inning’s bottom half. Bradish allowed a single to open the third, but a ground ball to Ortiz followed, and the young shortstop went to the bag himself and threw to first for a double play.

“I got to experience that for two years [in college],” Bradish said. “Doing it at the big leagues, looking back there, seeing him make those plays, it was really cool.”

That sparked a run of seven straight batters retired for Bradish — with Austin Hays doubling Baltimore’s lead with an opposite-field home run in the fifth — before a bloop single on his 94th pitch ended his night.

Bradish’s slider was responsible for four of his five strikeouts and tied his four-seamer for his most-used offering, following a formula that led to success in last year’s second half, when he posted a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts after an injured list stint. His past three starts, in which he has posted a 2.04 ERA in matchups against winning teams, have featured his heaviest slider usage of the season. Bradish said improvements to mechanics that have allowed him to fill up the strike zone have led to his improved performance; Wednesday’s outing lowered his ERA this season to 3.90.

“I thought Kyle just had a ton of life to his fastball tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Was working ahead in the count, 95-96 [mph] with cut, really good breaking balls. Not many rallies. Was just working ahead all night and was super aggressive in the strike zone. Huge for us to get him into the seventh inning and almost got through it. Outstanding start.”

Behind Bradish, Danny Coulombe recorded the final out of the seventh before Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista worked a scoreless inning each. Cano has not allowed a run or walk in his first 17 outings this year, two shy of the record to start a season and five shy of the overall record. Bautista’s frame featured some tension, with a one-out walk of Trout bringing up the potential tying run, but Baltimore’s closer struck out two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani before Hunter Renfroe flew out to deep center to end the game.

Hyde said Ohtani was “not the matchup I’m looking for with the tying run at the plate” but was impressed with Bautista’s splitter, which elicited two whiffs from Ohtani for the strikeout.

“Two large men,” Hyde said. “Just guys that are at the top of their game and top of their profession.

“Félix did a great job pitching to him.”

Around the horn

  • Shortstop Jorge Mateo was out of Wednesday’s lineup, with Hyde saying he has been dealing with leg soreness the past couple of weeks. Hyde was unsure of the impact it’s had on Mateo offensively; Mateo is hitting .116/.152/.140 in May after batting .347/.395/.667 through April. Hyde said he expects Mateo to be back at shortstop in Thursday’s series finale.
  • Both Mychal Givens (left knee inflammation) and Dillon Tate (right forearm flexor strain) both came out of Tuesday’s rehabilitation appearances with Triple-A Norfolk healthy, Hyde said. Givens will throw a bullpen at Camden Yards in the coming days, while Tate will have at least one more rehab outing.
  • Left-hander DL Hall, the Orioles’ No. 2 pitching prospect, pitched three innings on 45 pitches in his start Tuesday for Norfolk, part of what Hyde said was a plan for him to build up strength after he missed most of spring training with back discomfort. While up with the Orioles as their 27th man for a doubleheader late last month, Hall noted that he only recently had started weightlifting again after the injury.
  • A night after No. 2 Orioles prospect Jackson Holliday came a single shy of the cycle in a rain-shortened game with High-A Aberdeen, he was a home run short Wednesday, going 5-for-6 with a double, two triples and five RBIs. He’s batting .391 with a 1.219 OPS for the IronBirds.

Angels at Orioles

Thursday, 12:35 p.m.

TV: MASN2, MLB Network

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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Source: Berkshire mont

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