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Austin Voth pitches five scoreless innings but bullpen falters as Orioles drop series with 3-2 loss to Reds – The Denver Post

The splitter has been nearly untouchable this season for right-hander Félix Bautista, but at some point even the best pitches can be crushed. The Orioles reliever had thrown three high straight fastballs to Cincinnati Reds first baseman Brandon Drury, so ahead in the count, Bautista tried to change eye level.

The splitter – which should have dipped below the zone – instead hung up for Drury. And with that one mistake in a 2-2 game, one of Baltimore’s top relievers was forced to turn around and watch Cincinnati’s game-winning home run fly over the left-field fence at Great American Ball Park.

Before that long ball, Bautista had allowed a home run in his previous 27 innings. The next one had to come, but since it covered an Orioles offense unable to produce much, the margins left no room for error. Drury rounded the bases, Baltimore dropped to ninth and the Reds earned a series with a 3-2 win on Sunday.

Half a round earlier, a comeback seemed almost inevitable. That’s what the Orioles (51-51) have done so often this season, with 23 wins from behind to their credit. Anthony Santander tied the game at 2 with a long shot to right field in the eighth inning, but the bullpen cracked, allowing three runs after starter Austin Voth’s five good innings without much offensive support.

With the loss, Baltimore lost a series to a club that handed out its best pitcher to Seattle and has 21 games under .500. As the trade deadline approaches Tuesday, the Orioles have a more complicated decision ahead of them. They might still be pushing for a wildcard spot, but losses to losing clubs don’t help this case.

A duel of pitchers

One was a top prospect, another a midseason waiver request. And yet, when they met on Sunday, nothing separated Reds rookie southpaw Nick Lodolo and Voth.

They continued to post zeros on the board, managing more strikeouts than hits, and it resulted in the best outings of their seasons — if not careers. That’s especially the case for Lidolo, a 24-year-old who had made seven other major league starts. He worked his way through the Baltimore order and fought his way through infrequent trouble, hitting Ramón Urías with two runners to finish sixth, for example.

But the same can be said for Voth, who missed out on opportunities with the Washington Nationals, was slated for assignment and now finds himself in a rotation at Baltimore competing for a playoff spot.

Voth’s average speed out on Sunday was 80.1 mph, and he did most of his best work with his curveball. He caused four puffs and fired six called shots with this offering, throwing it more than a third of the time. The 30-year-old went five innings for the second time this season and allowed four scoreless hits on walks as well as six strikeouts – the first time Voth has gone five scoreless innings since Aug. 8, 2020.

Before Voth joined Baltimore in June, the right-hander’s ERA had climbed to 10.13. He had long been a starter or long reliever for the Nationals, but his career took a turn — then turned — when he allowed 21 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings for Washington this season. He quickly found himself on waivers, then with the Orioles, then in the rotation. On Sunday, it was the bullpen that folded in an unusual way, with two runs from right-hander Bryan Baker and another from Bautista. But Voth laid the groundwork.

The problem for the Orioles, of course, was Lodolo’s throwing quality. Prior to the game, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde described Lodolo as “junior Dirty-ish”, referring to Boston Red Sox southpaw Chris Sale. His three-quarter arm delivery provides a unique angle for hitters, and he fired 17 puffs between his lead, curveball and change.

Ranked as the Reds’ second-best prospect, according to Baseball America, Lodolo worked six innings before the Orioles broke through. Ryan Mountcastle, who started with a walk, came home on a sacrifice fly from Cedric Mullins. The Santander explosion momentarily tied things together.

Offensive production has been too meager lately, however, to cover a bullpen that ultimately wasn’t perfect – a level he’s competed at for much of the season.

around the horn

>> Mountcastle was back in the lineup on Sunday after being given the day off on Saturday. Hyde said Mountcastle was dealing with “bumps and bruises” as well as his meltdown, entering Sunday with two hits in 31 at-bats in his previous eight games. Mountcastle hit a field single in the second inning, the kind of break he was looking for.

>> Southpaw DL Hall, the Orioles’ No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America, was scheduled to start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk before rain pushed him to next week.


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