After Friday night’s loss, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was unhappy with the quality of his hitters’ plate appearances against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“We didn’t bat very well,” Hyde said. “We need to do a lot more offensively.”
In three races on Saturday, little had changed. Baltimore’s offense had just two hits and no runs with four strikeouts and scored just two runs in its last 18 innings.
This crisis ended the next round.
Seven consecutive Orioles recorded hits in the fourth inning to turn a two-run deficit into a four-run lead and propel Baltimore to a 7-3 victory. The six-run inning was more than enough for ace Kyle Bradish and his bullpen, keeping the Diamondbacks within three runs on five hits.
“We can do it,” Hyde said. “We can score in batches and do it quickly. We’ve been missing it a bit here lately. It was a great offensive round.
With an out in fourth, Ryan O’Hearn started the rally with a 100.5 mph single to center field — the first of six batted balls hitting harder than 99 mph, according to Statcast tracking data — against the rookie of Arizona Slade Cecconi. After Austin Hays reached base on a field single, Cedric Mullins officially ended the offensive woes with a three-point shot to right field.
Mullins has struggled since returning from the first of two stints on the injured list with a right groin strain, entering Saturday with just .216 with a .644 OPS in 35 games since June 24. But the long ball was his third in nine games and it cemented his status as the Orioles’ leading hitter with runners in base position. In 98 plate appearances in such situations, Mullins is slashing .321/.402/.625 — good for a team-best 1,027 OPS.
“One of the hardest things in times of crisis is maintaining that trust,” Mullins said. “But just trust your ability to play this game and keep working, and the results will eventually come.”
Ramón Urías followed the long ball, which gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead, with a single at 107.6 mph and scored on a double to right center by Adam Frazier. James McCann then had an RBI double and scored to give the Orioles a 6-2 advantage on Adley Rutschman’s 104.4 mph single.
“Honestly, that’s kind of our mindset as a team, just go to the next guy,” McCann said. “Chasing hits in this league is extremely difficult, so getting seven in a row was a lot of fun to watch.”
The Only Other Baltimore Race scored for the remainder of the game was a 405-foot seventh-inning homer from Rutschman against Diamondbacks reliever Scott McGough.
The American League’s top Orioles won a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost in an overtime tie to the Cleveland Guardians. Baltimore (84-51) is 2 1/2 games ahead of the Rays with 27 games remaining.
The victory gives the club its most in a season since 2016 and extends its streak without being swept to 83 series. The last time the Orioles were swept was in mid-May 2022, before Rutschman’s MLB debut. The streak is tied with the New York Yankees from 1922-24 for the third-longest in MLB history, according to Elias’ Athletic Bureau.
Bradish becomes an ace
Bradish, a native of Peoria, Ariz., pitched in his home state for the first time as a major league player on Saturday. He entered the contest at Chase Field, with about 70 friends and family in the stands, with a 3.03 ERA and walked out with the same average.
The 26-year-old said it was a “dream come true” to pitch at the ballpark where he grew up as a fan. He had never pitched at Chase Field until Saturday.
“I’ll be honest: It was probably the most nervous time I’ve been,” Bradish said, “even more than my debut, just knowing I’m going to have so many people there and want you to go out and have a good game.
The right-hander overcame a shaky third inning, in which four of the first five batters reached base. Ketel Marte’s chopped fly ball to Baltimore off first baseman O’Hearn’s head gave the Diamondbacks (70-66) a 1-0 lead, and Alek Thomas doubled it with an RBI groundout.
Bradish tied in his final three innings to end the night with his fourth straight quality start — six two-run innings on a career-high 107 pitches. Only two starting pitchers on the circuit have a better ERA than Bradish, who makes the case for AL Cy Young’s consideration.
Bradish has a 2.26 ERA in his last 11 starts and a 2.55 ERA in 17 starts since May 28. Since returning from the disabled list last July, Bradish has a 3.13 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 210 innings.
McCann, who caught up with Bradish, said he’s seen the sophomore starter grow as the season progressed.
“I think the most important thing for him is that he understands who he is,” McCann said. “He understands how he’s succeeding and he’s sticking to that plan. You notice the guys who have been doing it in the league for a long time and have had a lot of success, they know who they are as pitchers and they don’t deviate from it.
“It’s something that Bradish has done very well this year: understanding who he is, how he finds success and sticking to it.”
Top prospect pitcher DL Hall, August waiver request Jacob Webb and September call-up Joey Krehbiel have covered the final three innings. After Hall and Webb combined for two scoreless frames, Krehbiel allowed a solo home run to Gabriel Moreno in the ninth.
Santander comes out after being hit by a throw
Anthony Santander was knocked out in round nine after being hit in the right hand by a 94.7 mph cutter. He came down the first base line but was quickly replaced by Ryan McKenna.
Hyde said shortly after the game, the batter would have his hand X-rayed.
“He’s going to have some precautionary x-rays, but he should be fine,” Hyde said.
Orioles in Diamondbacks
Sunday, 4:10 p.m.
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