The Orioles’ offensive eruption in Friday’s series opener with the Boston Red Sox had no carryover into Saturday.
Baltimore fell to the Red Sox, 4-3, to even the three-game set, which will conclude Sunday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with the nationally broadcast Little League Classic.
The Orioles (62-57) scored 15 runs through Friday’s fifth inning but managed none in their next nine turns at bat before scoring twice in Saturday’s bottom of the seventh. Baltimore has lost six of its past 10 games, scoring three or fewer runs in each defeat. The Orioles are 12-42 when doing so this season but 50-16 scoring at least four runs, including each of their four victories in this stretch.
With Saturday’s loss, Baltimore dropped 2 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League’s third wild-card spot.
“As an offense, we know we need to get better,” catcher Robinson Chirinos said. “I know the guys are working hard to put runs on the board early. When we score early, we win most of the games, and we know that. Hopefully, last six weeks we have in the season, we can support our pitcher early in the game and bring in our nasty relievers to keep us in the game.”
A lineup stacked with right-handed hitters to face Boston’s Michael Wacha, a right-hander who historically has had more success against left-handed batters, managed little against him in his 5 2/3 innings, recording four hits and one walk. That walk put two Orioles on base against Wacha for the first time and chased him from the game, but Ryan Mountcastle struck out on three pitches to end the threat.
“We had a tough time getting a rally going against him,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Good to see us make a run late, like usual, but just came up a run short.”
Singles from Ramón Urías and Jorge Mateo and a subsequent throwing error put two in scoring position for pinch-hitter Kyle Stowers, who ended the drought with a groundout that scored Urías. Mateo scampered home on a wild pitch between a pinch-hit foulout from Rougned Odor and a Chirinos strikeout.
With Baltimore down two, Mateo tripled in the ninth, and given how the Orioles have shown a knack for rallying this season — their 11 wins when trailing after six innings entered Saturday tied for most in the majors — it sparked thoughts of another comeback. He scored on another Stowers groundout, but a Red Sox (60-61) insurance run in the top of the ninth prevented that from evening the game.
“We never give up,” Chirinos said. “We’re never out of the game, even the last out. Remember when we were playing Anaheim [in July] with two outs and two strikes, we came back, and we know we can do that. And today we were just short. Hopefully tomorrow, we’ll win the series over there in Williamsport.”
Better from Bradish
The lack of offense made a loser of Orioles rookie Kyle Bradish in his deepest start in more than three months.
He opened his afternoon with four scoreless innings. Showing increased velocity relative to his season averages but generating few whiffs, he stranded runners in scoring position each of the second, third and fourth innings. However, three straight one-out singles in the fifth plated the game’s first run.
Bradish returned for the sixth on 81 pitches, but Kiké Hernández hit a two-run home run on his 93rd offering, a 2-0 fastball Bradish wanted up and in but left over the middle. He followed by striking out Jarren Duran, with his 5 2/3 innings giving Bradish his longest start since he worked seven innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks in third major league outing May 10.
He didn’t walk any batters Saturday, having issued multiple free passes in his previous three starts. Bradish said he made a change in where he stood on the pitching rubber, which required some tweaks to his breaking balls, but was otherwise pleased with being “around the zone all day.”
“Each inning, each pitch, gaining more confidence,” Bradish said. “I’m getting more comfortable being in situations with runners on, executing my pitches and getting out of jams. Made a few good plays on defense today to help me out, but a lot more comfortable within runners on.”
That strikeout of Duran ended his start but began a run of nine straight Red Sox retired, with Joey Krehbiel and Bryan Baker supplying the next eight outs. Duran spoiled that stretch with a bunt single in the ninth, eventually scoring the key insurance run on Christian Arroyo’s double.
Around the horn
> Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins was unavailable Saturday with a bruised right foot, suffered fouling a ball off it in Friday’s game, Hyde said. The manager was unsure of Mullins’ status for the Little League Classic.
> With an announced attendance of 34,939 on Saturday, the Orioles have drawn more than 1 million fans to Camden Yards this season. They have 23 home games left.
> Top Orioles prospect Gunnar Henderson made his first professional start at second base Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk, having made his first career start at first base earlier this week. Although Henderson is considered a talented defender on the left side of the infield, the Orioles are trying to increase his versatility should he be called up to the major league team for the season’s final stretch.
> The Orioles promoted Adam Hall, their 2017 second-round pick, to Triple-A. He was one of their top infield prospects when executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias inherited the system before the 2019 season. The 23-year-old hit .282/.376/.368 this year with Double-A Bowie, mostly serving as a designated hitter or outfielder.
Source: Berkshire mont
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