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Orioles minor league recap 8/22: Norfolk loses, but Tides starters continue to shine

Alexander Wells continued a strong run of Norfolk starting pitching, Bowie swept a doubleheader and Delmarva won in extra innings. 

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
The Aussie has struggled at the major-league level, but yesterday in Triple-A, he was dominant.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 5, Charlotte Knights 7

Alas. On Saturday, Norfolk inherited some Baltimore relief pitchers and started to look like the Orioles. The rehabbing Hunter Harvey pitched a scoreless sixth inning but allowed a single in the seventh, was yanked, and got saddled with a run when Adam Plutko immediately gave up a homer—yeah, Plutko is in Triple-A now and still hasn’t shaken the home run bug. Plutko got two outs before allowing another two-run homer. Félix Bautista took a hard loss, entering in the ninth with Norfolk clinging to a 5-4 lead before he gave up a double, a walk, and a walkoff homer to Charlotte’s Romy Gonzalez.

Before that mess, though, Alexander Wells pitched a sparkling five innings. The only hit he allowed was a single to Yasmani Grandal, whom you might know as a bona fide big-leaguer, rehabbing right now. Wells also walked none. That’s a pretty dominant outing. It’s been a really strong couple of games for Norfolk’s rotation, with Cody Sedlock pitching five shutout innings yesterday and Ofelky Peralta allowing one run in 5.2 innings two nights ago.

It was a weird day for the offense, which scored five runs on only three hits. That can happen when your opponent gifts you three wild pitches with men on third base. Saturday’s Most Birdland performance undoubtedly came from the red-hot Ryan McKenna, who walked twice, stole two bases, scored three runs and homered. McKenna is hitting .317 and OPS’ing 1.162 at Norfolk right now. Meanwhile, Tyler Nevin went 1-for-4 with a double, and Adley Rutschman singled and scored a run. Jahmai Jones had an RBI sac fly. The bottom half of the order, however, was very quiet.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 5, Reading Fightin Phils 1 (Game 1)

Bowie went deep three times in this one, courtesy of Kyle Stowers, Johnny Rizer, and Toby Welk. Each of them also had two hits, including a double apiece for Rizer and Stowers.

Gray Fenter (4-2, 6.21 ERA) turned in a good outing in his ninth start this season, going four innings with just one run allowed on a solo homer. He struck out three while walking three, as well. Steven Klimek got the win with two blemish-free innings and Morgan McSweeney, brand new to Double-A baseball, pitched a perfect seventh.

Bowie Baysox 4, Reading Fightin Phils 1 (Game 2)

The Baysox broke a 1-1 tie open with a three-run fifth. That inning, Cadyn Grenier singled in one run, Patrick Dorrian tripled in another, and Kyle Stowers plated a third run on a groundout. That would be all she wrote in term of offense, and all Bowie would need.

More good pitching in this one: Kyle Brnovich went just two innings (on 61 pitches, finishing with a 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 SO line), but David Lebron (5-0, 3.26 ERA) picked up the IronBirds staff with four scoreless, hitless innings. Logan Gillaspie pitched a clean seventh inning to tie up the doubleheader sweep.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 5, Wilmington Blue Rocks 7

Some bad defense spoiled Zac Lowther’s rehab outing, who over 2.2 innings threw 59 pitches and allowed five runs, only two earned. An error by Gunnar Henderson kept a long third inning alive for Wilmington, and after three singles, Lowther was yanked for Easton Lucas, who made a bad situation worse by serving up a bases-clearing triple. Two more runs scored on a home run off of Conner Loeprich.

Aberdeen notched nine hits, three of which belonged to a rehabbing Terrin Vavra, OPS’ing 1.030 these days. Willy Yahn had an RBI triple. Maverick Handley homered. Hudson Haskin hit an RBI triple. Lamar Sparks, recently promoted, has a 1.417 OPS. Just sayin’.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 5, Fredericksburg Nationals 4 (10)

Delmarva’s revamped offense showed up for this one, with the new guys playing a big part in a late-innings comeback where Delmarva plated a run in the ninth to tie the game and another in extra innings to win it. John Rhodes hit a game-tying RBI double and Colton Cowser hit the game winner, an RBI single in the tenth. Connor Norby, another 2021 draftee, had an RBI triple in the first inning.

Delmarva starter, the 20-year-old Jean Pinto, allowed two runs (one earned) over five innings, with eight strikeouts. Carlos Del Rosario got the win with a scoreless tenth inning.

Complete box scores from Saturday’s games can be found here.

Sunday’s scheduled games:

Norfolk at Durham, 5:05 PM. Starter: Kyle Bradish (3-3, 4.34 ERA)

Bowie vs. Reading, 2:15 PM. Starter: Grayson Rodriguez (5-1, 2.33 ERA)

Aberdeen vs. Wilmington, 2:05 PM. Starter: TBD

Delmarva vs. Fredericksburg, 5:05 PM. Starter: Ty Blach (0-0, 0.00 ERA)