The Orioles scored seven runs in the first three innings, but Baltimore’s continued struggles on the mound required the offense to do even more. The bats went scoreless for five innings before Adley Rutschman stepped up to lead off the bottom of the ninth.
Rutschman launched a 1-0 fastball deep to right center that was gone the second it left the bat. The blast provided the Orioles an 8-7 victory and a series win against the A’s. Rutschman revealed in the MASN postgame interview that the knock was his first career walk-off home run at any level.
Rutschman had gone 0-4 prior to the at bat, but Baltimore’s offense did plenty of work against Oakland starter Adam Oller. The Orioles led 7-4 after three innings, but Irvin and Austin Voth combined for seven earned over 6 innings.
Bryan Baker, Danny Coulombe and Félix Bautista kept Oakland off the board down the stretch. Baker ended the seventh with a pickoff at first base, Coulombe notched his sixth consecutive scoreless outing, and Bautista struck out two of the three batters he faced to earn the win. The trio combined to provide Rutschman an opportunity to do something special.
Oakland scored a run in the first inning for the fourth consecutive game. Esteury Ruiz led off with a double and came around to score after a pair of fly balls. Baltimore spotted one of the worst teams in baseball an early advantage in every game this series but managed to dance around the mistake today.
OIler cruised through the first inning but ran into a brick wall in the second. He beaned Gunnar Henderson to start the Oriole rally, and both Austin Hays and Terrin Vavra singled to load the bases.
Ryan O’Hearn rose to the occasion in his first at bat with the club by lacing a ball right up the middle. The line drive deflected off Oller, but the triple-digit exit velocity powered the ball into center field. O’Hearn’s single provided Baltimore its first lead of the game, and Jorge Mateo quickly tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly.
Irvin failed to deliver shutdown innings in either of his opportunities. The Athletics tagged Irvin for three runs in the top of the third to quickly take back control. Irvin allowed a single to Nick Allen and plunked Ruiz before Brent Rooker took him 424-feet to dead center. Rooker drove in five of Oakland’s seven runs with a pair of homers but struck out swinging to end the ninth against Bautista.
Fortunately for the O’s, Ryan Mountcastle has consumed his fair share of Wheaties this season. Mountcastle knotted the game at four with a towering blast of his own to center field.
Gunnar Henderson followed with a quick double to right, and Austin Hays placed runners on the corners for Adam Frazier. Frazier initially pushed a safety squeeze foul, but the Orioles were happy to see him swing the bat. The free-agent acquisition eventually punched a grounder through the infield to plate Henderson and reclaim the lead.
O’Hearn picked up another RBI in his second at bat with a sacrifice fly, and the speedy Mateo drove in the seventh run of the game with a fielder’s choice.
Ruiz trimmed the lead to one with a two-run single in the fourth inning. Rooker evened the score with a leadoff homer against Voth in the fifth, but the long-reliever rebounded with a clean sixth inning.
The Orioles placed runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth, but Jorge Mateo popped out after initially showing bunt. Vavra attempted to score the go-ahead run on a fly ball to right by Cedric Mullins, but Ramón Laureano gunned him down on a play that was not particularly close.
Rutschman stole the show and steered the conversation away from Baltimore’s early struggles on the mound. Irvin has yet to complete five innings in three starts, and Dean Kremer has allowed four runs or more in his first three outings. Voth has allowed at least one run in all four appearances.
Alright, back to the good stuff. O’Hearn finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs in his first game with the club. Hays led Baltimore with three base hits, and Vavra finished 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored. Mateo stole his seventh bag of the season, and Henderson scored twice after what has mostly been a struggle to start the season.
The pitching needs cleaned up, but Baltimore will take the fireworks and a series victory today. Tyler Wells will take the ball for Baltimore tomorrow in Chicago for the first of three games against the White Sox.
Who was the most Birdland player for April 13?
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Adley Rutschman (First career walk-off homer. I had to do it)