It was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel at Camden Yards tonight, with the Rangers blinking first in the bottom of the seventh. Before that, a cadre of Orioles pitchers traded zeros throughout most of the game with Texas starter Jordan Lyles.
For the O’s, starter Chris Ellis allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two batters over three innings. While none of those innings were clean, he was able to work around every baserunner. He threw a total of 46 pitches, including 28 strikes. It was his shortest start since August 25 against the Angels, when he tossed 38 pitches over three innings.
As tonight’s game went on, it became more clear that O’s manager Brandon Hyde was using the opportunity to evaluate several arms.
On his 10th batter of the game, Ellis induced a ground ball double-play to end the third. He was just starting his second time through the batting order — when he’s allowing a .118 BAA and a .544 opponent OPS this year — as Hyde turned to the bullpen.
Marcos Diplan replaced Ellis after the third, working around a double and a walk to complete the fourth. After a walk and an infield single in the fifth, Diplan escaped on a ground ball double-play.
After making his Orioles debut last night, Joey Krehbiel worked 1.2 frames this evening after Diplan. He showed off a changeup, cutter, and mid-90s fastball while walking one and striking out two.
As the O’s mixed and matched on the mound, Jordan Lyles stranded three Orioles on base over the course of the first six innings. Ryan McKenna started the home half of the first with a double and no. 2 hitter Ryan Mountcastle was hit by a pitch. But a double-play ground ball off the bat of Anthony Santander ended the threat. By the way, Santander is not running well these days in the field or on the base paths.
And still, the twin-killing would come back to bite the Orioles on multiple other occasions. Trey Mancini got an infield single in the second but was erased on a ground ball double-play off the bat of Pat Valaika.
There was an odd double-play in the third inning too. With runners on the corners and two outs, Mountcastle lined out to center field and Kelvin Gutierrez — who failed to slide on a very close play — was tagged out at home trying to tag up from third.
Flash forward a few innings and catcher Nick Ciuffo got his first hit as an Oriole in the bottom of the sixth. It was a soft line drive double past third base. Then McKenna grounded out to second, advancing Ciuffo to third in the process. Yet back-to-back strikeouts of Mountcastle and Austin Hays terminated the threat.
On the other side of the pitching duel, Jordan Lyles was having his way with the O’s lineup. At the start of play today, the big righty had allowed 37 home runs over 166.1 innings for an average of 2.0 HR/9. In spite of that, the Birds couldn’t get enough loft to leave the yard until after the seventh inning stretch.
In the bottom of the seventh, Trey Mancini worked a one out walk. He scored all the way from first on a double to left field by Valaika. As Mancini chugged around the bases and passed third, his head bobbing wildly with every stride, the Rangers didn’t even attempt a relay throw to home.
Then Kelvin Gutierrez took Lyles deep for a two-run home run. The opposite field line drive shot — which was Gutierrez’s second homer of the year — just made it over the groundskeepers’ dugout in right. 3-0, Baltimore.
On the mound for the O’s, Brooks Kriske replaced Krehbiel with two outs in the seventh. He struck out Leody Taveras on five pitches to end that frame. Then Kriske returned for the eighth and recorded the first two outs before giving up a solo home run to Jose Trevino. 3-1, Orioles.
Dillon Tate entered for the final out of the eighth and stayed on for the save opportunity in the ninth. Despite a leadoff home run by Nathaniel Lowe that shrunk the O’s lead to one, Tate was able to corral the final three outs of the game. It was the right-hander’s third save of the season.
The Orioles enter tomorrow’s series finale with a 2-1 advantage over the Rangers. It’ll be ace John Means on the mound as the O’s try to secure a series win.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for September 25, 2021?
This poll is closed
Kelvin Gutierrez (2-for-3, 2-R HR)
Pat Valaika (1-for-3, RBI double)
Chris Ellis (3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K)
Brooks Kriske (WP, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K)
Dillon Tate (SV, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 B, 1 K)