The Orioles scored three times in the sixth inning to gain a two-run advantage but could not hold the lead. The Angels evened the score in the bottom of the sixth, and Matt Thaiss blasted his second homer with one out in the ninth to give Los Angeles a 5-4 victory.
Baltimore entered the game in search of their first series sweep this season. It’s very difficult to beat a team four games in a row, and extremely tough when you’re over 30 games below .500. Still, the Orioles had a chance.
Thaiss got the Angels on the board with a two-run shot off Dylan Bundy in the second inning. Thaiss, a 24-year-old from Jackson, New Jersey, was selected 16th overall by the Angels in the 2016 draft. He entered the game with two-home runs in 11 Major League games, he left the game with four.
The Orioles countered by picking up a run in the top of the third. Pedro Severino led off with a leadoff walk, but was gunned down attempting to steal second. Stevie Wilkerson worked another walk to replace Severino at first. After Hanser Alberto flew out to right, Jonathan Villar ripped a double down the right field line. Wilkerson scored without a throw, and the Birds had trimmed the lead in half.
Baltimore used a big fifth inning to put itself in position to win the game. Severino walked for a second time, Alberto reached on an error, and Villar came through once again. The middle infielder punched a ball the other way down the left field line to bring in Severino and even the game at two.
Trey Mancini stepped into the box with two men in scoring position, and he delivered. Mancini muscled a ball into shallow center field that allowed both Alberto and Villar to score. The single brought a meeting on the mound, but Angels starter Felix Peña got Anthony Santander to ground out and end the inning.
Dylan Bundy delivered a shutdown inning in the bottom of the fifth, but failed to make it through six innings. Kole Calhoun led off the sixth with a single, and the Orioles fell victim to another milestone by future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Pujols turned around a 3-0 fastball and lifted it over the left-field fence for his 650th career home run. The ball was 90 MPH, elevated, and right down the plate. Even at 39-years-old, Pujols does not miss those.
The homer by Pujols evened the score, and it stayed there until Thaiss batted in the ninth inning. Mychal Givens grooved a 3-2, 95 MPH fastball right down the plate, and Thaiss took advantage. Just like that, the ball game was over.
Bundy’s final line read 5 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs and three strikeouts. It’s never a surprise to see him give up the long ball, but the Orioles needed one more inning out of the righty. Shawn Armstrong and Paul Fry combined to through three scoreless innings before Givens surrendered the blast.
Baltimore recorded only five hits in the contest, and three were by Villar. Mancini and Alberto added the other two. Still, they had opportunities to take the lead late. Mancini flew out to center with two out and two on in the seventh, and Chance Sisco grounded into an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
The Orioles will settle for taking three out of four games in an impressive series win. The Birds are now 35-70, and will visit old pal Manny Machado for two games in San Diego starting Monday.