The Orioles went into tonight’s game looking for their first win against the Twins since Opening Day 2018. They did not get it. While they performed better than I expected they would against Twins starter José Berríos, it wasn’t enough to overcome another poor performance from Dean Kremer, though he had some help in his futility from the umpire and his catcher’s defense.
It’s worth mentioning that tonight’s home plate umpire, David Rackley, had a pretty poor night behind the plate, especially early in the game. It went both ways with both Kremer and Berríos on the short end of several missed calls. I am guessing it’ll be a rough review of Rackley tomorrow on @UmpScorecards.
The early excitement of this game came in a wild second inning. The Orioles struck first (being the away team, obviously) with two runs. With Maikel Franco on first base and one out, Ryan Mountcastle hit a dribbler to the first base side of the pitcher’s mound. Berríos made a nifty play to get the ball quickly and fired it to second base in hopes of starting a double play. The ball hit defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons in the glove but he couldn’t catch it and everyone was safe.
After a Stevie Wilkerson strikeout, Pedro Severino walked to load the bases and bring up Cedric Mullins. Mullins got the job done, singling to right field to bring in two runs. It was already the second hit of the night for Mullins, who started the game with a double but was then picked off. Oops.
The two run lead didn’t last long enough for any of us to enjoy it. Kremer immediately surrendered a home run to Jorge Polanco, and that was just the start of things. He walked the next guy, then Rob Refsnyder doubled in the tying run. This is not the last time Refsnyder will be annoying tonight.
Kremer then walked the next two batters to load the bases and allowed two runs to score on two wild pitches. Not great! I am on record as saying that Severino should have caught the first wild pitch at the very least.
It wasn’t the first bad play by Severino back there tonight as he missed a ball right down the middle in the first inning on strike three that allowed the runner to reach. It’s getting really tough to watch him back there.
The Orioles made some noise against Berríos in the third inning with a single from Anthony Santander and a double from Franco, but Mountcastle grounded out to thwart the rally. They pulled to within one in the very next inning, though, thanks to back-to-back doubles from Wilkerson and Severino. But despite the tying run being in scoring position with no outs, they couldn’t capitalize.
Kremer had bounced back from his horrific second inning with a scoreless third inning, but he couldn’t let that run his offense scored him go unanswered. Refsnyder doubled and later came in to score on a sac fly.
Then with two outs, Kremer’s defense picked him up. With Simmons on first base, Alex Kirilloff launched a ball to center field. It got over Mullins’s head but he got to the ball quickly and fired it to the cutoff guy, Freddy Galvis. Galvis fired a bullet to Severino and Simmons was dead meat at the plate. Good defense is fun!
That inning was the end for Kremer, whose final pitching line was 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K.
There was a scary moment to start the sixth inning when Mountcastle was hit by a pitch in his wrist. He came out of the game. The Orioles announced that his x-rays were negative, which is good news. Get back soon, Ryan.
After the HBP, the Orioles tried and failed to rally. With two outs and a runner on first, Mullins hit a fly ball to the centerfield that looked like it would be his third hit of the night. But the pesky Refsnyder came out of nowhere to make a sliding catch to end the inning.
The offense wasn’t quite finished, even it was too little too late. DJ Stewart launched his second home run in as many days in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 6-4. Pat Valaika, who had come in to replace Mountcastle, singled, as did Wilkerson. But neither Severino nor Mullins could bring them home.
Keegan Akin pitched the final three innings of the game for the Orioles and gave up two runs. The first came in the sixth inning on back-to-back hits, and the second came in the eighth on a home run from, you guessed it, Rob Refsnyder. What is with that guy? He’s not supposed to be good! He did botch a catch in the top of the ninth inning, so that’s something I guess.
Orioles lose, 7-4. They are back in action tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the series finale. They are staring their third straight sweep in the face if they lose, so they should probably try to win.