As tonight’s game ended with the Orioles swarming Cedric Mullins in the infield, broadcaster Kevin Brown declared this the most ridiculous game of the season. He was not wrong. It was a back-and-forth affair that saw each of the first five Orioles pitchers give up runs. Every time the Orioles went ahead, the Rangers tied it. Then the Rangers went ahead. And the Orioles tied it. The Rangers tied again. The Orioles tied it again.
And finally, mercifully, Mullins got the RBI single in the 10th to seal an absolutely absurd 10-9 win.
By the time this game ended, it was easy to forget that Austin Voth had ever been in it. But for four innings, he was pretty fantastic. For three of the first four innings, he was perfect. He worked around a single and a walk in the second inning, but aside from that those four innings were pristine. In the third and fourth innings, Voth threw just six pitches in each!
The four innings worth of goose eggs gave the Orioles offense the chance the pounce, and they did just that in the second inning. Ramón Urías kicked things off with a single, then with one out Ryan McKenna singled to put runners on the corners.
After a Robinson Chirinos strikeout, number nine batter Jorge Mateo picked a great time for his only hit of the game, an RBI single slapped to right field. But you know a single to Mateo is like a double, as he immediately stole his 20th base of the season. To have 20 stolen bases with an OBP of about .250 is pretty nuts.
Anyway, back to the action. Cedric Mullins, who already reached once via walk, stepped to the plate. Cedric doubled to center field to knock in both runners. Not to be outdone, Trey Mancini immediately doubled down the left field line to score Mullins.
Just like that the Orioles had a 4-0 lead and with the way Voth had been pitching, it seemed like it could be enough. He hadn’t pitched more than three innings all year, but his pitch count was low so he went back out of the fifth. It made sense, it just didn’t work out.
After a Jonah Heim groundout, things went awry. Three straight line drive singles loaded the bases and Voth’s quest for five innings came to an end. He still hadn’t give up a run, but don’t worry, Keegan Akin would take care of that.
Akin replaced Voth and got the second out on a sacrifice fly. Not the best way to get an out, but perfectly acceptable as long as he stopped it there. He did not.
First there was a little bad luck as a ground ball looked like it was headed directly to Urías at third. Urías lined it up to make the play and the ball bounced directly off of third base and out of his reach. The second run scored and the inning continued for Corey Seager, who lined a single to center to knock in the third run of the inning.
Akin was still in the game in the seventh to give up the game-tying homer to Mitch Garver. And that was when the craziness really started.
After scoring those four runs way back in the second inning, the Orioles bats went quiet. Their only baserunner in innings three through six came from a McKenna walk. But in the seventh, the frenzy began (on both sides).
The first two Orioles in the seventh inning were retired, but then the next five reached to put the Orioles ahead 7-4. It started with a Mullins walk and continued with singles from Mancini and Anthony Santander, a walk by Adley Rutschman, and another single from Urías. A three-run lead in the seventh! What could go wrong?
Lots, it turns out. Dillon Tate, who had finished the top of the seventh inning, wasn’t able to complete the eighth. A single and a walk put two runners on, and manager Brandon Hyde turned to Nick Vespi to face fellow lefty Nathanial Lowe. Lowe went deep. Whoops. Once gain, the game was tied. Argh!
In another game, on another night, Ryan McKenna is the undisputed hero of this game. He stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning, the guy you don’t want to see when you need a run. Kevin Brown and Ben McDonald speculated if Hays or Mountcastle might be available to pinch hit. As they talked, McKenna hit a fly ball to left field. It carried, and carried, and carried right over the left field wall!
With that, I am going to re-name the wall, just for tonight, McKenna’s Miracle. Sure, it wasn’t the game winning home run in the end, but it was darn impressive.
It’s hard to say that a team with eight runs needed to score more, but with the way the Orioles’ bullpen was falling apart at the seams tonight, it would have helped if they added on a few more in the inning.
With one out, Mullins and Mancini, who were both on-base machines tonight, reached again. But Santander hit into a double play to end the inning. It felt ominous, not scoring any more. It turns out that was for a reason.
Brandon Hyde looked out to the bullpen, trying to determine which, if any, of his pitchers could get through an inning without sucking tonight. He decided on Félix Bautista. It did not go well, but he didn’t get a lot of help. He made Josh Smith look silly on a strikeout and then got a ground ball from Marcus Semien that should have been second out.
The ball was hit just to the shortstop side of second base, where second baseman Rougned Odor was stationed in the shift. Instead of charging the ball, Odor sat back and waited. He then leisurely threw the ball to first where the speedy Semien beat out the throw. That set the table for Seager, who immediately hit a home run to center field to give the Rangers the lead. Incredibly, it was their first lead of the game. Bautista continued the string of pitchers to allow a run.
Down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth, it looked like this game would be put out of its misery. But the goat (not to be confused with GOAT) in the top of the inning became the hero of the bottom of the inning. It took one pitch for Odor to re-tie the game, this time at 9-9.
On to the 10th! And now the Orioles looked to Joey Krehbiel to become the first pitcher of the night not to surrender a run. He didn’t make it easy, but he did it. With the Manfred Man on second base, Heim did us all a favor and popped out on the first pitch. Krehbiel then pitched around Lowe (not a terrible idea) but then gave up a single to Leody Taveres to load the bases. Not again, I thought. Make it stop, I pleaded.
Krehbiel struck out Steven Duggar, then battled with Josh Smith for six pitches. Finally, Smith flew out. Hooray! The tie was preserved and Krehbiel became the first pitcher of the night not to give up a run. It felt like an occasion for a confetti cannon.
It looked like the Orioles would waste the bottom of the 10th. With McKenna on as the Manfred Man, Chirinos failed to bunt him over and pinch hitter Ryan Mountcastle popped out. It was all up to Mullins, who had been on base four times already. Please, Cedric! Just end this, Orioles fans pleaded.
Mullins obliged, lining a pitch to the left-center gap. McKenna scored easily and finally, it was all over.
What a game. What a night. It was a thrilling night, but tomorrow can I request they just win 8-0? Thanks.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 5th?
This poll is closed
Joey Krehbiel (only pitcher to not give up any runs)
Cedric Mullins (game winning hit, 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 BB)
Ryan McKenna (conquered the wall, scored three runs including the winner, reached base three times)