Brewers ace Corbin Burnes has spent most of the season chasing the dominant form that won him the 2021 National League Cy Young Award.
He found it Wednesday night against the Orioles.
The right-hander twirled eight shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing two hits, to hand the Orioles a 10-2 loss. He only faced two batters over the minimum.
“I have to watch the last innings inside and just watch how he pitched around the corners,” manager Brandon Hyde said, noting how he could watch the last four innings on TV after being kicked out in fifth for s be disputed balls and strikes. “I thought he had some great stuff tonight, kind of like some Cy Young stuff like he did a few years ago. I just had a tough time. He was in the corners all night with some really good stuff, we struggled to square him.
After a torrid April, the Baltimore attack came down to earth. The Orioles have scored three or less in nine of their last 12 games, averaging 3.6 per game over that streak.
Even if the lineup had come to life, it probably wouldn’t have mattered, as the Brewers and No. 9 hitter Joey Wiemer beat Dean Kremer and long reliever Bruce Zimmermann for 16 hits and 10 runs. It’s the fourth time Baltimore has allowed 10 runs in a game this season and the fifth time an opposing team has 16 or more hits.
Kremer gave up a season-high six runs in five innings, ending his streak of six straight starts. The right-hander had a 6.67 ERA in six starts in April, but rebounded in his next six starts with a 5-1 record and a 2.55 ERA. Kremer allowed runs in four of his five innings, scattering nine hits and no walks. His ERA went from 4.43 to 4.89.
“Something I was told in the minor leagues [was] you’ll get five that will be really good and five that won’t be so good,” Kremer said. “So that average volume is what makes your season, so I’d like to award that one to one of those unlucky ones.”
Zimmermann, a Baltimore-area native, relieved Kremer, tossing a scoreless sixth before giving up four runs in the seventh. The southpaw was called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Friday to provide long relief out of the bullpen. Zimmermann, who pitched two scoreless innings Saturday, ended his night allowing seven hits and four runs through three innings.
The bat that carried the Brew Crew this series was unexpected. Wiemer, a 24-year-old rookie who entered the series hitting .214 with a .668 OPS, went 4-for-4 with two homers, a double and five RBIs one night after delivering the walk-in single in the 10th innings. He received a callback from the local crowd.
Willy Adames, who came off the injured list on Wednesday, hit a solo home run in the first to give Milwaukee an early lead. After Wiemer’s two-run homer in third and RBI single in fourth, Jon Singleton and Brian Anderson both drove in runs in fifth. In the seventh, before Wiemer’s second two-point outburst, Andruw Monasterio scored an RBI brace and Victor Caratini hit a sacrifice fly.
The only Orioles to handle Burnes’ hits were Aaron Hicks, who has been the club’s leading hitter since joining the team last week, and Gunnar Henderson. Hicks curled a single in the second but was doubled a few pitches later on a lineout, and Henderson hit a field single in the fifth.
The Orioles rarely made hard contact against Burnes, whose 3.75 ERA and 22.7 percent strikeout rate entering Wednesday was far worse than his 2.43 ERA and 35.6 percent strikeout rate in 2021. Of 17 balls hit off Burnes, the Orioles hit the ball harder than 91 mph three times, with only one having an expected batting average over .500.
“He was throwing in really good places, attacking the batters, down and out, down and in,” Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander said. “I mean, that’s a big key as a pitcher.”
The Orioles didn’t have a runner in scoring position until the ninth, when Milwaukee reliever Bennett Sousa charged on two singles and a walk. Austin Hays doubled an RBI single and another run scored on Ryan McKenna’s double play.
The series loss is the sixth of 20 for the Orioles. Baltimore (37-24) will try Thursday to avoid being swept for the first time this season.
When Orioles starting pitcher Kyle Gibson hit Luis Urías with a pitch Tuesday, Ramón Urías’ teammates questioned him.
“I was laughing inside. My teammates were like, “Hey, you sent Gibson to hit him?” Ramón said of his younger brother, a Brewers infielder, who got run over.
For the first time in their major league careers, Ramón and Luis Urías share a pitch. The infielders grew up playing in Mexico, and Ramón, 29, said playing against Luis, 26, was “a special moment”.
“We were looking forward to this match,” said Ramón. “It was an exciting time to be on the pitch with him.
“You don’t really know that you’re going to have the opportunity to play in the big leagues. Doing it with your brother is something you dream about, but it’s not like you take it for granted.
“How is that cool for his parents?” said manager Brandon Hyde. “It must be amazing to see two of your boys on a major league field playing against each other.”
The Urías brothers both struck on the seventh Tuesday, combining to go 0-for-7 with six strikeouts. Ramón entered late Wednesday and singled in the ninth.
Jackson Holliday is baseball’s highest-ranked prospect still in the minor leagues. The 19-year-old phenom moved into second place overall in Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects on Wednesday, behind only Cincinnati Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz, who made his MLB debut on Tuesday.
In just a few short months, the 2022 No. 1 overall pick has gone from No. 15 to No. 2, becoming the top-rated prospect in the Orioles’ top-ranked minor league system. Henderson was the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball before the season, but the 21-year-old has since graduated.
Baltimore still has eight prospects in the top 100, although one name is new. Low-A receiver Delmarva Samuel Basallo, who the Orioles signed as an international free agent in 2019, was unranked in the previous two iterations, but he appeared at No. 81.
Triple-A outfielder Colton Cowser, Norfolk infielders Jordan Westburg and Joey Ortiz and Tides first baseman Heston Kjerstad all received significant raises. Cowser is now the organization’s second-best prospect at No. 16, followed by Westburg (46), Ortiz (75) and Kjerstad (84).
Grayson Rodriguez, who entered the year as the sport’s leading pitcher, fell 12 spots to 17th after his demotion in late May amid struggles at the big league level. Southpaw DL Hall also fell, dropping 13 places to No. 80.
around the horn
- Henderson was back in the lineup Wednesday for the first time since Saturday, when he was pulled with lower back discomfort. The 21-year-old went 1 for 3.
- Ryan Mountcastle was out of the Orioles roster for the second time in five games as he continues to slump at home plate. Mountcastle, whose 11 homers lead the Orioles, entered Wednesday hitting .167 with a .526 OPS in his last 70 plate appearances. “He’s looking a bit at home plate right now,” Hyde said before the game.
- Kjerstad’s Triple-A debut will have to wait at least one more day, as Wednesday’s Norfolk Tides game in Scranton, Pennsylvania was postponed for a second straight day due to poor air quality caused by the winds carrying smoke from the eastern Canadian wildfires. Kjerstad was promoted to Norfolk on Monday after topping Double-A with a .960 OPS.
This story will be updated.
Orioles at Brewers
Thursday, 2:10 p.m.
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