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Orioles minor league recap 5/14: First-place IronBirds roll again, Rutschman gets two hits

As has become a custom, Aberdeen was the only O’s affiliate to win tonight, but Bowie put up plenty of offensive fireworks.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
This is the face of a guy who knows he’ll be in the majors soon.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) 4, Norfolk Tides 2

All eyes remain on Adley Rutschman as he plays the (hopefully) final handful of games of his minor league career. And he continues to show he’s ready for the bigs, collecting a pair of hits, a walk, and an RBI in a losing effort. Brett Cumberland, perhaps jealous of a fellow catcher getting all the attention, brought in the only other Norfolk run with an RBI double. In less exciting news, Kyle Stowers went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts to dip his season average below the Mendoza line to .196. It’s been a harsh jump from Double-A to Triple-A for last year’s Orioles minor league home run leader.

Starter Kevin Smith gave up two runs and two hits in three innings, though he only issued one walk, which may be progress for the control-challenged lefty. Cody Sedlock worked in bulk relief with 5.1 innings, racking up eight strikeouts while giving up two runs and walking three. The Tides have now lost three in a row and five of their last six.

Box score

Double-A: Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies) 11, Bowie Baysox 10

What an absolutely ridiculous game this was. Bowie jumped out to a 6-2 lead, gave most of it away in the sixth, added insurance in the seventh, blew the entire lead in the bottom of that inning, went ahead again in the 10th, blew that lead, went ahead yet again in the 11th, and then — you guessed it — blew that lead and got walked off. Yeah, it was not a banner day for the Baysox bullpen.

As you can guess from that score, though, the Baysox offense put up a stupendous showing. Right in the middle of it all, of course, was Gunnar Henderson, who reached base three times — a single and two walks — scored three runs, and drove in one. He’s now batting .304 with a .958 OPS (including a ridiculous .469 OBP!) and remember, this is a 20-year-old in a league where the average player is nearly three years older. He’s ready for a new challenge. Call him up to Norfolk. No, call him up to Baltimore! I’m only half kidding.

All nine hitters in Bowie’s lineup had at least one hit, and all but leadoff man Hudson Haskin had at least one RBI. Shayne Fontana, J.D. Mundy, and Zach Watson collected three hits apiece. Among more heralded prospects, second baseman Jordan Westburg had two hits and two RBIs, including a (temporarily) go-ahead double in the 11th, and shortstop Joey Ortiz doubled and drove in a run.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 8, Hudson Valley Renegades (Yankees) 3

Another day, another dominant performance by the IronBirds, who improved to 22-7 and are already 7.5 games ahead in the South Atlantic League North division. Aberdeen didn’t waste any time putting this game out of reach, batting around in the first inning and scoring six runs on six hits. The rally included knocks by some familiar prospects — a Colton Cowser double, singles by Cesar Prieto and Coby Mayo — and was capped by back-to-back homers from John Rhodes and TT Bowens. The IronBirds got only two hits the rest of the game, but one was a Billy Cook two-run double in the third.

Starter Peter Van Loon had a very aesthetically pleasing, if not effective, pitching line: 3 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. (Also one home run, but that throws off the whole thing.) Connor Gillispie handled the rest of the game in relief and was absolutely sensational, coming within a hair’s breadth of six perfect innings. He retired the first 17 batters he faced before Eric Wagaman doubled with two outs in the ninth. Wagamaaaaaaan! (shakes fist angrily) Gillispie settled for six shutout innings with eight strikeouts.

Box score

Low-A: Salem Red Sox 9, Delmarva Shorebirds 2

The Shorebirds are kind of the anti-IronBirds right now, falling to 9-22 with their latest loss. It’s hard to win games when you manage only four hits. Right fielder Davis Tavarez had two of them. The first four hitters in the lineup were a combined 0-for-16 with seven strikeouts, with Darell Hernaiz taking an 0-for-4 and fanning three times. Catcher and 2021 draftee Creed Willems went 0-for-4 and has just two hits in 42 at-bats — along with 14 strikeouts and two walks — in his first taste of full-season ball.

Right-hander Shane Davis has had a pretty impressive season, entering the game with a 2.81 ERA, but tonight wasn’t his finest performance. He was tagged for five runs (four earned) and five hits in four innings. He wasn’t helped by a Delmarva defense that committed three errors, including one by the aforementioned Willems.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: vs. Memphis, 6:35 PM. Starter: Blaine Knight (0-1, 8.24)
  • Bowie: at Reading, 6:45 PM. Starter: Garrett Stallings (2-2, 2.63)
  • Aberdeen: at Hudson Valley, 6:05 PM. Starter: Carlos Tavera (1-0, 4.42)
  • Delmarva: vs. Salem, 7:05 PM. Starter: Daniel Federman (0-4, 8.41)