The Oakland Athletics pitched around Adley Rutschman, the Orioles’ No. 2 hitter, twice on Tuesday night.
Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore’s No. 3 hitter, made them pay both times.
Mountcastle hit an RBI single in the third inning after Athletics starter Kyle Muller walked Rutschman on four pitches. In the seventh — two innings after Mountcastle brought the Orioles back into the game with a three-run blast — Oakland intentionally walked Rutschman with first base open, giving way for Mountcastle to launch a grand slam over the left field wall.
Mountcastle’s two-homer, nine-RBI night propelled the Orioles (6-5) to a 12-8 comeback win over the visiting Athletics.
“I thought I was seeing it well today,” Mountcastle said. “For them to do that, I get it. But it gave me another chance to score some more runs and capitalize on it.”
His nine RBIs tie Eddie Murray (1985) and Jim Gentile (1961) for the Orioles’ single-game record.
“Two greats,” said Mountcastle, who received an ovation from Baltimore fans when he went out to play first base in the eighth inning. “To tie them in any category is super special. Pretty cool night.”
Mountcastle didn’t know after his slam how many RBIs he had accrued in the game until assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes told him.
“I was like, ‘That’s a lot, man,’” Mountcastle responded.
The multi-homer game is the seventh of Mountcastle’s four-year career. The 456-foot grand slam — the farthest long ball of his career — is Mountcastle’s second; the first also came against Oakland on Sept. 3, 2022. The last MLB player with nine RBIs in a game was Atlanta Braves outfielder Adam Duvall in September 2020.
Through 11 games, Mountcastle has five home runs, 18 RBIs and a .711 slugging percentage. The only other Oriole to have at least five home runs and 18 RBIs in his first 11 games of a season was Chris Davis in 2013. Davis recorded 53 homers and 138 RBIs that year.
“The power he has is incredible, and he’s got great bat-to-ball skills with balls in the strike zone or just off,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “You make a mistake, and he’s ready to hit. He’s off to a great start this year. Love the confidence he’s playing with right now. What a special night for him.”
The 12-run, 12-hit performance from the Orioles’ offense, which had combined to score just nine runs in its previous three games, bailed out starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and reliever Austin Voth, who combined to allow five runs in the fifth inning.
“I think our offense, our lineup, top to bottom is scary when we’re rolling,” Mountcastle said.
Mountcastle’s first RBI was a sacrifice fly in the first inning that scored Austin Hays, who led off the game with a double. Hays, a right-handed hitter, led off Tuesday instead of left-handed hitting Cedric Mullins against Muller, a lefty. Hays entered the game hitting just .239 in 34 starts as a leadoff hitter, but he went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBIs.
Over the weekend, Mountcastle and Hays dealt with tough luck as they lined into hard outs or had home runs robbed by Camden Yards’ extended left field wall. But they both broke out in Monday’s win, blasting deep shots and debuting the Orioles’ new “homer hose” celebration. They went back to the well — er, hose — Tuesday.
“I think both me and Hays were complaining the first series here,” Mountcastle said. “It’s starting to warm up a little bit, and it seems like it’s flying a little better now.”
The only other Orioles run to not include Hays or Mountcastle was an RBI double from designated hitter James McCann in the fourth. The hit was McCann’s first as an Oriole.
Rodriguez’s first start at Camden Yards — with a “Welcome to the Show” T-shirt as the fan giveaway — began the same way the first one of his big league career did last week in Texas. The club’s top pitching prospect walked the leadoff batter, Tony Kemp, who later scored on a single from cleanup hitter Brent Rooker.
Through the fourth inning, though, the 6-foot-5 right-hander was sharp and pounded the strike zone, getting swings and misses on upper-90 mph fastballs, sharp sliders and string-pulling changeups. Rodriguez ended his night with 15 whiffs in 4 1/3 innings — the most from an Orioles starter this season, with his 11 swings and misses last week ranking second.
The main blemishes before the fifth inning were the two-strike singles he allowed. While he at times displayed his putaway ability, he still struggled when he got batters to two strikes. All six of the hits he allowed — including Rooker’s single and Jace Peterson’s RBI single in the third — came with two strikes, including three on 0-2 pitches.
“I thought he had better stuff than he did in Texas,” Hyde said. “His fastball had a ton of life. He was throwing 97-98 [mph], felt the slider got better as the outing went along. Thought he made some mistakes 0-2, some young pitcher mistakes. Got beat three times 0-2 where he has the leverage. Hopefully he learns from that.”
As his pitch count rose, the 23-year-old lost his command, walking three of the first four batters he faced in the fifth. He exited with one out and the bases loaded, and Voth surrendered hits to four of the first five batters he faced, including a three-run home run to Shea Langeliers.
Rodriguez threw 99 pitches in the outing. The last time the prospect has thrown more 90 in a game was August 2019 with Low-A Delmarva. The only time he eclipsed 99 was May 2019, when he threw 100 pitches.
“I can’t continue to pull our starters in the fifth inning,” Hyde on why he let Rodriguez reach that pitch count.
Rodriguez’s Oriole Park debut ended with him allowing six hits, five runs and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. He thanked the offense after the game for slugging Baltimore to a victory.
“Definitely, the offense had my back,” he said. “That’s something that this team is about to be known for. There’s a lot of guys in this clubhouse who can swing it. And they had my back tonight, and that was pretty awesome.”
Voth bounced back to retire the side in the sixth, and relievers Bryan Baker, Danny Coulombe and Logan Gillaspie followed to cap off the win. Baker and Coulombe pitched scoreless frames; Gillaspie allowed one run in the ninth before striking out the final batter for the win.
Around the horn
- Hyde said starting pitcher Kyle Bradish (bruised right foot) will begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday in Bowie. The goal is for Bradish, who can return from the 15-day injured list on April 19, to pitch four or five innings with the Double-A affiliate.
- Mullins, who was in the No. 9 hole Tuesday, went 0-for-3. Since going 5-for-13 in the opening series, Mullins is 2-for-30.
- Shortstop Jorge Mateo stole third base in the third inning for his sixth swipe of the season, tied for most in the majors. The Orioles’ 16 steals through their first 10 games entering Tuesday were the most for the club since moving to Baltimore in 1954.
Athletics at Orioles
Wednesday, 6:35 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Source: Berkshire mont
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