Baltimore’s numbers with runners in scoring position have been well documented this season. The club finished 0-2 in the category tonight. The first number is only slightly more concerning than the second.
The Orioles technically failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities against Minnesota but there were hardly any chances in the first place. The O’s wasted five strong innings from Tyler Wells and a mostly clean performance from their bullpen in a 2-1 loss to the Twins.
Bryan Baker replaced Wells in the sixth with the game even at one apiece. Baker allowed a leadoff single to Byron Buxton and a hard hit fielder’s choice to Luis Arraez. Arraez hit a rope down the first base line that Ryan Mountcastle managed to stop on one bounce. The speedy Buxton broke for second immediately and Mountcastles’ only play was at first.
Carlos Correa stepped in and delivered the game-winning knock with a single up the middle. We may never know if the Orioles truly considered making an offer to the once coveted free agent, but Correa made a difference in his first game in Baltimore this season. Buxton scored without a throw to the plate.
The Twins snapped four consecutive innings of scoreless baseball with a quick run in the fifth. Trevor Larnach snuck a one-out double inside the right field line and easily scored on a base hit by Ryan Jeffers.
Wells was not tested often but stepped up after a meeting on the mound with Orioles’ pitching coach Chris Holt. Wells generated an inning-ending double play on his first pitch to Nick Gordon.
Kevin Brown stated during the MASN broadcast that Brandon Hyde only expected Wells to pitch four innings tonight. However, Wells pitched in a tremendously efficient manner early in the contest.
The first-year starter worked three perfect innings to start the game. Wells needed just seven pitches to retire Buxton, Arraez and Correa in the first inning and only two more to gain two quick outs in the second. Wells struck out Buxton both times he faced him and the righty also punched out Correa.
The Orioles matched the Twins first run with a rare occurrence in the bottom of the fifth. Rougned Odor laced a ball to left field that bounced off the wall just left of the 376’ marker. The play marked one of the first occasions where an outfielder needed to navigate the new wall that juts out at an awkward angle. Buxton slid into the wall, and Odor ended up with his first triple since 2019.
Ramón Urías drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to deep right field. The Orioles nearly answered again after the Twins reclaimed the lead in the sixth, but Mountcastle bounced into an inning-ending double play with Austin Hays stranded 90-feet from home.
The Orioles finished the game with a season low four hits. Baker took the loss, and the Orioles moved to 4-5 in one-run games this year. Cionel Pérez navigated around a walk in a scoreless inning and Felix Bautista struck out two in 1.2 scoreless frames. Paul Fry turned in a rare scoreless performance in the top of the ninth.
Tyler Wells did not walk a batter and threw 46 of his 62 pitches for strikes. The Orioles hope to see Wells work deep into games at some point in his career, but it’s hard to imagine the club doing it this season. Brandon Hyde likely has his hands tied to a work limit that is out of his control. Five innings is considered a win for the converted starter right now.
Three of Baltimore’s first four outs came from hard-hit line drives by Cedric Mullins, Hays and Mountcastle. Baltimore hopes to have better luck against Joe Ryan (3-1, 1.17 ERA) tomorrow. Bruce Zimmermann (1-1, 0.93 ERA) gets the start for the Birds.