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Orioles minor league recap 9/13: Baysox complete seven-game sweep as playoff push continues

Bowie’s flawless week put the team within a game of a postseason spot with one week remaining.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Durham Bulls (Rays) 7, Norfolk Tides 6 (10 innings)

In a roller coaster of a game, the Tides took the first lead, blew it, took another lead, blew it again, fell behind, tied the game in the ninth, took a two-run lead in extras, and then lost by giving up three runs in the bottom of the 10th. A couple of exiles from the Orioles bullpen, Paul Fry and Cesar Valdez, were each charged with a blown save, with the latter giving up the final three runs to take the loss. Another erstwhile Oriole, Pat Valaika, hit a two-run homer in the losing effort.

But you’re here to read about the prospects, not the vets. The Orioles’ and MLB’s top prospect, Adley Rutschman, reached base three times and scored twice, and Kyle Stowers (#11 O’s prospect) had his best game in his first week at Norfolk, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and homering for the second straight day. On the down side, Yusniel Diaz, Tyler Nevin, and Rylan Bannon combined to go 0-for-12, with Diaz striking out three times and Bannon twice. The starting pitcher for this game was lefty Ryan Hartman, who gave up two runs in 5.1 innings.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 4, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 1

Bowie’s mad dash for a playoff spot has been a thrilling story to watch down the stretch, and the Baysox just completed a seven-game sweep of the Senators — yet gained only half a game on the current #2 seed, Somerset, which swept its own six-game series against Hartford. That leaves Bowie one game out of a playoff spot with one week remaining. They’ll host seven games against Altoona to close out the regular season, while Somerset plays the current #1 seed, Akron.

The Baysox trailed this finale, 1-0, in the sixth inning before the bats came to life. Cadyn Grenier’s RBI single in the sixth tied it, and Zach Watson and Shayne Fontana blasted home runs in the eighth and ninth. Toby Welk contributed a pair of hits, including a double, and Johnny Rizer tripled.

The Bowie pitching staff came up big. Starter Kyle Brnovich worked five strong innings without allowing an earned run, as Harrisburg’s only run came on a strikeout/passed ball. Brnovich struck out five and walked two. After him, four Baysox relievers — Morgan McSweeney, Claudio Custodio, Tyler Burch, and Tim Naughton — each worked one scoreless inning, with Naughton stranding two in the ninth for his fourth save.

High-A: Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) 5, Aberdeen IronBirds 3

The IronBirds lost five of six games in their final road series of the year, falling under .500 for the season at 56-57. They couldn’t get the big hit in the series finale, going just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. All three runs came courtesy of #4 prospect Gunnar Henderson, who blasted an Earl Weaver Special in the third that temporarily gave Aberdeen the lead. But starter Griffin McLarty allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in five innings for the loss.

Henderson was the offensive star, drawing a pair of walks in addition to his homer. Second baseman AJ Graffanino, part of the Tommy Milone trade return, had a nice afternoon in the leadoff spot, going 3-for-5 with a double. Right-hander Ryan Watson pitched well in relief with two scoreless innings, while Easton Lucas (acquired in the Jonathan Villar trade) worked a perfect eighth.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Fredericksburg Nationals 3

What’s with almost every O’s affiliate playing against a Nationals affiliate this week? Weird. In any case, Delmarva salvaged a series split with a win in Sunday’s finale, concluding the home schedule for the 2021 season. The Shorebirds overcame a 2-1, seventh-inning deficit on a clutch, two-out, two-run double by #21 prospect Reed Trimble. That was Delmarva’s only extra-base hit of the afternoon, but it came at a good time. Connor Norby (#9 prospect) had a single and a run, while Coby Mayo (#17) was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. Colton Cowser (#5) had the day off.

The rehabbing Ty Blach basically starts every other game these days, and he got things rolling with a perfect inning before giving way to the intriguing Jean Pinto. Pinto unleashed another strong outing, giving up just two runs in six innings with a walk and six Ks. Reliever Daniel Lloyd allowed the tying run in the eighth but vultured the win when the Shorebirds went back ahead in the bottom half.

Complete box scores for Sunday’s games can be found here.

There are no games scheduled for Monday.