That was fun!
The Orioles dominated the Athletics with the long ball tonight, making up for some shaky starting pitching to clinch the series and do what a good team should do to a bad team. The end result was a 8-1 win that put the Orioles 10 games over .500 and allowed them to keep pace with their wild card rivals.
It was not only great to see the Orioles put up such a good win, it was great to see it done with so many possible pieces of the Orioles future. The lineup featured the first three draft picks from 2019 in Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and Kyle Stowers. Fellow highly rated prospect D.L. Hall joined them in the eighth inning to make his Camden Yards (and relief pitching) debut.
For as great as the game was, the first inning wasn’t very reassuring. Starting pitcher Austin Voth had a rough go of things, needing 30 pitches to get out of the inning. Trouble started with back-to-back singles, then a sac fly gave the A’s a 1-0 lead. That lead would not last long.
Voth didn’t allow another baserunner in the first, but he threw a ton of pitches. He struck out the final two batters but needed 16 pitches to do so. That’s a lot of throwing for one inning!
Luckily the Orioles didn’t even have to wait a full inning to take a lead they would not relinquish. In the bottom of the first, Cedric Mullins walked and then jogged home ahead of Ryan Mountcastle’s 20th home run of the year. It was an absolute blast over Mt. Walltimore that traveled 415 feet.
We didn’t know it at the time, but those were the only runs the Orioles needed to win this game. But they did not stop there. Not even close.
Mountcastle, who has been heating up nicely over the past few weeks, wasn’t finished. In the third inning, this time with Anthony Santandar on base from a walk, Mountcastle went the other way, this time to the center field seats. His 21st home run went “just” 409 feet.
The homer parade continued in the fourth inning but not from Mountcastle. He flew out. But Cedric Mullins did not. His big fly landed on the flag court. Santander’s home run in the same inning went to right-center.
It should have been an easy night for even a starting pitcher without his best stuff to cruise to at least five innings, but that wasn’t the case for Voth. After his laborious first inning, he bounced back for the second and third innings, but fell apart in the top of the fourth when the score was still 4-1.
Three straight singles started off Voth’s fourth inning to load the bases, putting the Orioles into potentially big trouble. The go-ahead run was at the plate in the form of Nick Allen, who hit a laser to Stowers in right field. Stowers made the play and fired the ball back into the infield. In his exuberance he missed the cutoff man, the catcher, and the player backing up the catcher. Luckily the ball took a good bounce off of the wall behind home and the runner at third was not able to score.
After three singles and a loud out from Voth, it was time for him to go. It was the first time he hadn’t completed at least five innings since July 25th.
Manager Brandon Hyde turned to relief pitcher Keegan Akin, and I admit I was worried. Akin didn’t assuage my fears when he went to a 3-1 count on his first batter. I thought for sure he’d walk in a run. But he did not, happily. Instead he got the best play he could hope for: an inning-ending double play. It was a nifty one too, which is something we Orioles fans have been spoiled with this year.
If there was one letdown in this game, for me, it’s the number of pitchers who had to be used in what ended up being an 8-1 Orioles win. In addition to Akin, the Orioles used pitchers Joey Krehbiel, Cionel Perez, D.L. Hall, and Nick Vespi. I know that other than Perez they didn’t use the A team, but that’s still a lot of relievers.
That being said, they were outstanding. There was a bit of an issue when Krehbiel allowed two runners to reach base in the seventh inning, but Perez was called in to shut the door and he did just that. After a ground out that should have been a double play if not for a misplay from Rougned Odor (they only got one), Mullins made an outstanding catch to save the day.
Cedric Mullins has made a lot of tough catches look easy this season.— Zachary Silver (@zachsilver) September 4, 2022
This was not one, but he went out and got it anyway. pic.twitter.com/vK9TPXXxk0
Aside from that, the relief was incredible. Akin, Perez, and Hall didn’t allow a hit in their appearances. Hall, making his relief debut, had a 1-2-3 inning with two swinging strikeouts. He touched 98 on the radar gun several times. Welcome back and keep it up, D.L.
But back to the most exciting part of the day, the offense. The only non-homer run scored came in sixth inning, and it came thanks to speed. Jorge Mateo reached on an infield single that some of the armchair umpires on Twitter were adamant it should have been an error. Mateo stole second base and moved to third when the throw bounced into the outfield.
With a runner just 90 feet away, Rutschman had an extended at bat. It took him nine pitches, but he lined a ball right back up the middle to plate Mateo. The ball ricocheted off of the leg of A’s pitcher Zach Logue, but thankfully Logue seemed ok.
Not happy with just an RBI single, Rutschman joined the dinger club in the bottom of the eighth. His home run traveled to the center field seats as well, his ninth of the year. That gave pitcher Nick Vespi more run support than he needed to close out ninth inning and get the win. He did so easily, working around a one-out single to close things out.
Orioles win! Tomorrow they will go for the sweep and hopefully, finally make some headway in the wild card race.
Oh, one more thing. I barely mentioned Gunnar Henderson in this story! Gunnar wasn’t involved in any of the run scoring action, but he did reach base twice with a single and a walk. But his most impressive hit was ruled foul. Check this out:
This ball was ruled foul but...holy hell was this thing CLOBBERED by Gunnar Henderson pic.twitter.com/vLVaVyYYWG— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) September 4, 2022
That ball was hit 108 mph and projected to go about 409 feet. One person on Twitter who may or may not be trustworthy said that it one-hopped the warehouse. Just incredible. I look forward to his many Eutaw Street blasts.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Sept 3rd
This poll is closed
Ryan Mountcastle (2 2-run homers)
Adley Rutschman (RBI single, dinger)
Keegan Akin (snuffed the rally)