One day in the near future, Adley Rutschman is going to step to the plate in the bottom of the 10th, his team down by one and a runner on base. The crowd will be going wild for the star catcher, the opposing team wondering why it was their bad luck that it was his turn in the lineup. Rustschman will work the count to 3-1, then launch a walk-off home run onto the flag court.
Tonight, however, that didn’t happen. The rookie did come to the plate in that scenario. He did get to a 3-1 count, but he couldn’t close the deal. Instead, Rutschman lined out to seal a 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Seattle Mariners. It’s disappointing, but not particularly surprising. Playing major league baseball is really, really hard. He’ll get there.
The loss tonight was a back-and-forth affair. The Orioles took the lead, then lost it. They took it again, they lost it, then they tied the game to eventually send it to extra innings. Ultimately they came just one comeback short. Let’s jump into the details.
Starting pitcher Jordan Lyles didn’t give up any runs in the first inning, but it wasn’t a confidence inspiring three outs. Leadoff batter Jesse Winker launched a ball to left field. It was an easy double, but Winker tried to stretch it and Austin Hays broke out the cannon to throw him out at third base. The second batter, Ty France, hit a ball to deep right field that Anthony Santander made a great catch on in front of the scoreboard. The sun was full on in Santander’s face but he got it done.
The third batter Lyles faced was Julio Rodriguez, and he also hit a ball very hard. That one fell in for a double, but thankfully JP Crawford struck out to end the inning. No damage done, but it was something of a harbinger of rest of Lyles’s night.
In the bottom half of the first, the Orioles jumped out to an early lead thanks to some clutch two-out hitting. With Trey Mancini on second after hitting a double, Austin Hays slapped a ball the other way that got through the hole at second base. Trey came in to score, then Hays did the same on an RBI double from Ryan Mountcastle.
The Mariners tied up the game in the third inning and when the inning ended it felt fortunate that they had only scored two. Lyles gave up a double and a single to put runners on the corners with one out, then Winker got his revenge with an RBI single. Julio Rodriguez reached on a force out that wiped out Winker. With Luis Torrens at third, Rodriguez stole second base. Shortstop Chris Owings couldn’t handle the throw from Adley Rutschman and as it went into center field, Torrens went home with the tying run.
Rutschman was charged with an error on the throw but in my mind the shortstop should have made that catch. The ball did take a bounce but even still, it looked catchable to me. Do better, Chris Owings. Or just go away.
The tie game didn’t last long as the Orioles retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Once again, it was Hays who came up big. Cedric Mullins, who appears to be heating up at last, doubled to lead off, then after a Mancini pop up, Santander singled Mullins to third. Hays again went to the opposite field with a single, and the O’s were back up 3-2.
With two runners on and Mountcastle and Rutschman coming up, it felt like a bigger rally might be brewing. But neither could get on base and both Santander and Hays were stranded on the basepaths.
The fourth and fifth innings were quiet, but we did get to see Rutschman throw out his first major league runner. Taylor Trammell tried to steal second after a walk and the play wasn’t even close. Again Rutschman threw to Rougned Odor covering and easily got the sliding Trammell.
Most of the game action came in the sixth inning, first with the Mariners scoring four runs to take a three-run lead, then with the Orioles putting up three to tie the game once again.
Lyles started the inning but didn’t record an out. He gave up three straight singles that resulted in one run scored. Brandon Hyde had seen enough and called for the usually reliable Cionel Pérez. Unfortunately, he wasn’t reliable tonight. The first batter hit a sacrifice fly for the first out that tied the game, and that was the only out Pérez got. Back-to-back walks knocked him out of the game in favor of Joey Krehbiel.
Krehbiel immediately gave up an RBI single, and then he walked a guy! Unfortunately he then had to come out of the game with what was later announced as right shoulder discomfort. That doesn’t bode well for us seeing him pitch again any time soon. After he was pulled from the game, Bryan Baker came in and thankfully got the final out.
The Orioles had their turn to rally in the bottom of the inning, and it started with a one-out hit by pitch to Rutschman. Ramón Urías doubled and Rutschman scored from first! What a speed demon. Odor was then also hit. Stop hitting our guys! For reasons unknown, Hyde did not pinch hit for Chris Owings, who grounded out.
That left things up to Mullins, and Cedric came through. He smacked a double down the left field line, both runners scored, and the game was tied! Mancini popped out to end the inning and the tie game lasted until the 10th.
Dillon Tate and Jorge López got the Orioles through innings seven through nine with relative ease, but the 10th wasn’t so kind. López remained in the game and first got a groundout to the right side moved the Manfred Man to third base. The next batter, Abraham Toro, crushed a ball to straightaway center. The runner on third was going to score on that pitch no matter what, but it would have been preferable for Mullins to catch the ball.
He got on his horse and raced back to be close enough to make a play, but the ball bounced off of his glove. It was a tough play all the way, but it ended up hitting Mullins’s glove. As my dad used to say when I was a kid, “It hit your glove, no excuse!” The go ahead run came in and Toro landed on third base.
Things looked bad when López immediately hit the next batter, but he was able to calm down and get a strikeout and groundout to keep the damage to just one run. Unfortunately, one run was all the Mariners needed.
The Orioles got their own Manfred Man, in the form of Ryan McKenna, to start the bottom of the 10th. They also had their hottest hitter, Austin Hays, at the plate. It seemed like the perfect scenario. But it was not. Hays struck out. Mountcastle struck out. And it was all down to the rookie Rutschman. He worked the count to 3-1 and then lined a pitch that looked like it could be an RBI single. But alas, the defender position deep in the hole at second base was able to snag the line drive for the third and final out.
It was a disappointing end to what had been a fun back-and-forth game. The Orioles were not able to take the series from a team who came into Baltimore with a worse record, which is a shame.
They are back in action tomorrow night as the Cleveland Guardians come to town for a three-game set. Game time is 7:05.