The Orioles have not given a single reason to think they would let a difficult loss keep them down for long. Baltimore let an opportunity slip away against Toronto earlier in the week, but the club brought the good vibes back with a come-from-behind win tonight.
Baltimore’s offense struggled for a majority of the night, but one crooked number was enough to sink the Red Sox. The Orioles got five scoreless innings out of their bullpen, and Dillon Tate slammed the door shut in a 3-2 win at Camden Yards.
Red Sox starter Brayan Bello entered the game with a 5.91 ERA and 1.813 in 32 innings this season. Bello must have figured something out, because he kept Baltimore off balance for the first five frames.
Orioles’ hitters routinely chased low pitches outside of the zone, and Boston’s early two-run lead began to feel insurmountable. Cedric Mullins provided the only early offense with a leadoff single in the first, but he was nabbed by a perfect throw when trying to steal second base.
Mullins picked up Baltimore’s second hit with another single in the fourth, but he was erased at second once again. Mullins attempted to stretch the single into a double and was thrown out by about 30 feet. Even when the O’s managed to record a hit they ran themselves out of it.
The Orioles finally broke through with a crooked number in the sixth. Mullins got things started with his third single of the game, but this time he stayed put at first. Adley Rutschman worked a walk to put two on, and Bello walked Anthony Santander to load the bases.
Boston turned to Kaleb Ort to face Ryan Mountcastle with one out. Ort missed his target with an off-speed pitch that snuck by the catcher and allowed Mullins to dash home for the Birds’ first run. Mountcastle took the third consecutive walk by an Orioles hitter to reload the bases and bring up Gunnar Henderson.
Henderson worked his way into a hitter’s count and finally delivered the big hit that Baltimore needed. The rookie slapped a ball to right field that easily scored two and gave the Orioles the lead for good.
The bullpen did the rest.
DL Hall entered after Austin Voth allowed a leadoff single in the fifth. Voth allowed five hits and struck out five, but Brandon Hyde was not going to let him face Alex Verdugo and Bogaerts for a third time. Hall gave up a single to Bogaerts, but retired Rafael Devers and Trevor Story to work out of the jam.
Hall picked up the first out in the sixth, but a walk chased him from the game. Jake Reed entered and quickly ended the inning with a double play. Reed picked up two quick outs in the seventh, and Cionel Pérez got the third out after allowing a pair of base runners.
Bryan Baker sandwiched a single between two outs in the eight, and Dillon Tate entered to face Enrique Hernandez. Tate misplayed a slow roller to extend the inning, but the Orioles’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente award struck out Reese McGuire to end the inning.
It certainly felt like Félix Bautista time with the O’s leading by one in the ninth, but Tate stayed on to finish the game. Tate generated a ground ball for the first out but allowed a single to Verdugo. Bogaerts stepped up representing the go-ahead run, but Tate forced him into a game-ending double play.
Hyde told reporters after the game that Bautista had reported some arm fatigue after his two-inning save on Tuesday. Hyde said he hopes Bautista will be available again as early as tomorrow.
The Red Sox struck first with a pair of runs in the third. Connor Wong banked a leadoff double off the center field wall, but Voth managed to retire Tommy Pham and Verdugo before Xander Bogaerts stepped into the box.
Voth elected to attack Bogaerts with first base open, and the All Star made him pay in a 3-1 count. Bogaerts ripped a two-run homer that sailed over a jumping Kyle Stowers in right field to give Boston the early two-run advantage.
The Orioles were outhit 9-to-5 with the only knocks coming from Mullins and Henderson. Six batters worked a walk, but the Orioles will need more than patience in the month of September. The offense did little to foreshadow future success, but the bullpen picked them up tonight.
The Blue Jays defeated Texas with a go-ahead single in the ninth to remain 4.5 games ahead of Baltimore. Seattle’s game with Atlanta had not concluded by the time of this writing.
The Orioles will face Michael Wacha tomorrow at 5:05 p.m. with Jordan Lyles finally returning from an illness.
Who was the most Birdland player for September 9?
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Cedric Mullins (3-for-4, scored on passed ball)
Gunnar Henderson (2-for-3, 2B, BB, Go-ahead, two-run single)
Dillon Tate (1.1 innings, 0 R, save in place of Bautista)