All of the offense on display Friday was nowhere to be found on Saturday. The Orioles struggled to score early and ultimately could not mount a comeback late, falling 4-3 to the Red Sox at Camden Yards.
Orioles starter Kyle Bradish fought his way through 5.2 innings. His only 1-2-3 frame came in the first. After that, he was constantly working with runners on base and managed to get through the Red Sox order twice before allowing his first run.
Boston was first on the board in the top of the fifth inning when Kevin Plawecki, Christian Arroyo, and Alex Verdugo delivered three consecutive singles to take the 1-0 lead.
Folks, the Sox are on the board. pic.twitter.com/Op1ScijOiu— NESN (@NESN) August 20, 2022
Their advantage stretched to three runs in the top of sixth. J.D. Martinez led off with a single, and then Enrique Hernández stroked a two-run homer just inside of the left field foul pole. Bradish faced one more batter (struck out Jarren Duran), and then his day was done.
373 Feet for @kikehndez! pic.twitter.com/6lp4ViQ6Xj— NESN (@NESN) August 20, 2022
The final line is solid. Over 5.2 innings, Bradish allowed three runs on nine hits, no walks, and six strikeouts. He had good fastball velocity, and his breaking pitches were actually up a tick or two. And, importantly, he avoided a first inning disaster, something that has proven difficult for him much of his rookie season. His season ERA lowered for the fifth straight start. This was a good start! It’s just unfortunate that the Orioles offense seems to have wasted all of their bullets the previous night.
Like their opponents, the O’s had traffic on the bases through the game’s early going. But they just could not cash in. Through the first six innings, the Orioles did not have a runner advance beyond second base. It was brutal. But they aren’t the first victims of Michael Wacha. The 31-year-old has had a nice season, and he has yet to allow a run since returning from the IL earlier this month.
Finally, in the seventh inning, they broke through. Wacha had been replaced by John Schreiber in the previous inning, and the O’s went to work. Ramon Urías and Jorge Mateo opened with singles, which gave them runners on second and third following a bad throw from Duran in right. Up stepped Kyle Stowers, pinching hitting for Ryan McKenna. It seemed like the setting for a storybook scene. Instead, Stowers grounded out, but Urías did score. After a Rougned Odor pop out, the O’s scored their second on a wild pitch from Schreiber while Robinson Chirinos was at the plate. The bottom of the order had done well to score twice and get the game back within reach.
The two sides held serve through the eighth inning, and then the Red Sox scored a crucial insurance run in the top of the ninth. With Bryan Baker on the bump, the visitors scored once on a pair of singles from Duran and Plawecki followed by a Christian Arroyo double.
Christian Arroyo has 9 RBI in his last 11 games. pic.twitter.com/kbl64A9aI3— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 20, 2022
That would prove to be a huge run as the Orioles also scored once in the ninth. Mateo tripled with one out, and then came on home on another Stowers RBI groundout. Odor stepped to the plate as the last hope, a role he has often thrived in this year. But it wasn’t to be. He laced a ball into center field, but it couldn’t find the grass. The O’s lost 4-3, and the series was evened at a game apiece.
Mateo was the bright spot on offense. He was moved up in the lineup in light of a recent hot streak, and he rewarded that confidence with a pair of hits, including the late-game triple. Others with multiple hits were Urías and Adley Rutschman.
Brandon Hyde only needed two relievers today, Joey Krehbiel and Bryan Baker. Krehbiel was perfect in his 1.1 frames. Baker sailed through his first inning, but then got smacked around in his second. At the very least, it leaves the relievers set up well for tomorrow’s game.
Speaking of which, tomorrow should be pretty neat! The Orioles are on in primetime, taking part in the annual Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The O’s will act as the home team for the game, and a win feels like a must if they want to stay in the thick of the wild card race.
First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. from Muncy Bank Ballpark. Dean Kremer (5-4, 3.58 ERA) starts for the O’s opposite Nick Pivetta (9-9, 4.28 ERA). ESPN is the place to see the game.