For most of this season, Andrew Cashner has been one of the steadiest members of the rotation. In such a bad rotation, that’s not really saying much, but we as Orioles fans we take what we can get. But his last two starts have been pretty bad, with him giving up a total of 11 runs in just 10 innings. He was pushed back a few days due a sore hip, so maybe that was the reason for his turnaround today.
Cashner and Astros’ starter Framber Valdez exchanged zeroes through the first five innings of this game, with Cashner allowing just three base runners in those five innings. None of the runners reached in the same inning and none advanced past first base. That’s a pretty good way to keep the other team off the score board.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, Valdez was doing pretty much the same thing to them. But Renato Núñez, who had reached base in the first on a hit by pitch, changed that in the top of the sixth. He hit a monster bomb to left field that landed in the windows at Minute Minute Maid Park. It was a beauty:
Pretty sure this one went to Eutaw Street. pic.twitter.com/TAOJNNKGo4— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 8, 2019
It feels like that should have counted for more than one run, but sadly it did not. So when Cashner gave up one run in the bottom half of the inning we were right back where we started. But I shouldn’t complain; it could have been a lot worse than one run if not for Anthony Santander.
Cashner got in trouble with back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the inning. With runners on first and third and one out, Yuli Gurriel hit a towering fly ball to right field that looked like trouble. In fact, it may have gone over the fence for a three-run home run if not for an outstanding play by Santander. He made a leaping catch and then fired the ball back to first. A nice play by Trey Mancini at first helped double up the runner to end the inning.
The Astros did score a run on the play as the runner at third tagged up, but the damage was limited to just that. It’s nice seeing good defense!
That was it for Cashner, whose final pitching line was 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K. He lowered his ERA from 5.04 to 4.73.
The tie was broken in the 8th inning but it felt at the time like a missed opportunity for more. A Hanser Alberto double and Mancini single put runners on second and third with no outs, but they could only score one run when the next two batters grounded out. Luckily for the Orioles, a throwing error from shortstop Jack Mayfield allowed Mancini to score from third to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
In the ninth inning, Richie Martin found himself up to bat with two outs and Stevie Wilkerson on first base. He’s not the guy I would pick to have at the plate when the Orioles are looking for insurance runs, but today he was the right man for the job. He sent a 86 mph slider from Reymin Guduan out of the ballpark for a two-run homer. And it wasn’t a cheap shot, either.
Seeing Miguel Castro on the mound in the ninth inning is a lot easier with a three-run lead. Castro had relieved Paul Fry with two outs in the eighth inning after Fry pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and came back for the ninth to pick up the save. And he made it look easy, too. He got a line out to center and two ground ball outs to end the game.
O’s win! They finally got their 20th win of the season, the last team to do so in MLB. Tomorrow they will look for number 21 and the series win.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Saturday, June 8th?
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Andrew Cashner (6 IP, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K)
Renato Núñez (monster dinger)
Anthony Santander (game saving catch)
Richie Martin (2 hits, including 9th inning homer)