This is why the Orioles signed Kyle Gibson.
With their rotation in flux, the Orioles called upon Gibson, temporarily their lone veteran starter, once again, a day earlier than expected. He delivered Baltimore’s lengthiest start of the season Thursday, going eight innings in a series-clinching 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The outing, supported by home runs from Anthony Santander and Cedric Mullins, kept the Orioles’ lead on the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East at two games. Baltimore (79-48) ends the season with a 10-3 record against Toronto, leading the Blue Jays — at 70-58 the best team in the AL not in playoff position — by 9 1/2 games.
Gibson, signed to a one-year, $10 million contract this offseason, has often provided dependability in the Orioles’ rotation, even as his surface-level numbers have been less than stellar. After Thursday’s eight innings of three-run ball, Gibson has a 5.84 ERA in his past 14 starts, but nine of them have lasted at least six innings and he’s pitched into the seventh six times. He’s perhaps pitched better than that ERA suggests, entering Thursday with a FIP — an ERA-like metric using only aspects pitchers can control such as strikeouts, walks and home runs — of 3.81 in that stretch.
He retired the first nine Blue Jays on 26 pitches before running into trouble in the fourth. Toronto loaded the bases with no outs and plated two runs.
Toronto starter José Berríos also opened his night with three perfect innings, but after Adley Rutschman singled to begin the fourth, Santander hammered his third home run in two days, evening the game on Baltimore’s third home run to reach Eutaw Street this year. A shutdown fifth from Gibson preceded a two-run home run from Mullins in the bottom half, with Gunnar Henderson adding an RBI single in the frame.
Gibson allowed a home run by Brandon Belt in the sixth but pitched crisply from there, getting help from Mullins in center when he threw out Danny Jansen trying to stretch a double into a triple in the seventh. Félix Bautista worked a clean ninth for his 33rd save.
Around the horn
- Before the game, the Orioles activated Danny Coulombe from the injured list and optioned Nick Vespi to Triple-A Norfolk in a swap of left-handed relievers. Coulombe, who has a 2.77 ERA in 47 appearances, missed the minimum 15 days with bicep tendinitis. This is the fourth time Baltimore has optioned Vespi since the season began; a player’s minor league option can be used five times in a year before they must be exposed to waivers to be sent to the minors. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde praised how Vespi, a 27-year-old who was also optioned four times in 2022, has handled his transactional career, saying, “I give him a lot of credit.”
- The Orioles will start left-hander Cole Irvin in Friday’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies but haven’t announced the rest of their rotation for the series. The club is waiting to see how right-hander Jack Flaherty progresses after he was unable start Wednesday with what Hyde called “general soreness.”
- Closures on Pratt Street for the Charm City Live Music Festival will impact traffic heading to Camden Yards for games Friday and Saturday. Pratt Street will be closed between Gay Street and President Street beginning noon Friday, with the closure extending to west to Calvert Street on Sunday. Eastbound traffic on Pratt will be directed to East Baltimore Street, while drivers will still be able to travel west on East Lombard Street.
This story will be updated.
Source: Berkshire mont