Apparently one act of heroism this week wasn’t enough for Adley Rutschman. One day after hitting a walk-off home run at Camden Yards, Adley delivered a game-changing double in a 6-3 win over the White Sox.
Down three runs, the Orioles loaded the bases on two walks and a broken bat. Cedric Mullins then walked to bring in O’s’ first run of the evening—bringing Adley to the plate with two out. Down 0-2, the game’s best catcher did not flinch at a 100 mph fastball, lacing to the left-center gap and clearing the bases. When the Orioles needed him most, their young leader delivered yet again.
Get in, Adley’s driving everyone home. pic.twitter.com/ZmkM17MEoh— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 15, 2023
Adley’s heroics were just what the rest of the lineup needed to wake up, as the Orioles got a pair of insurance runs in the 8th. Austin Hays rocketed a one-out double to left field to start the scoring threat. Jorge Mateo and Ryan O’Hearn then followed suit with doubles of their own, each plating a run and giving the O’s some needed insurance.
Prior to Adley’s latest shining moment, the Orioles’ hitters seemed like someone who had overindulged on deep dish pizza—that is, sluggish. The O’s first hit didn’t come until the 4th inning when Ryan Mountcastle singled to left field. That single gave the Orioles two on with one out, but an Anthony Santander pop and Gunnar Henderson strikeout saw the O’s end the inning without truly threatening to score.
The O’s wasted another opportunity in the top of the 6th inning. With White Sox’s starter Mike Clevinger seemingly losing his control, Terin Vavra and Cedric Mullins drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. That brought Adley to the plate with his first opportunity for heroics. He came close to cashing in, but Andrew Benintendi rob him of a double with a diving catch near the left-field line. Mountcastle then popped out into foul territory and Santander flew out to right to once again leave two stranded.
Andrew Benintendi lays it out for the catch pic.twitter.com/4qRAucLtbV— Pack the Brew (@PacktheBrew) April 15, 2023
The early struggles of the Orioles’ offense meant that a good effort from starter Tyler Wells went somewhat wasted. To say Wells deserved more than the No Decision he got is an understatement. After he put up a lackluster effort in his home debut on Sunday, he was back to the type of sharpness we’ve seen so often from the righty. Wells cruised through the first inning and carried that sense of calm confidence throughout most of the first five innings.
Yes, he did give up a solo home run to Jake Burger in the 2nd inning—leaving a cutter spinning in the middle of the plate. That never seems to faze Wells, as he was sharp with all of his breaking balls and consistently located his fastball at the top of the zone. After giving up the HR to Burger, Wells didn’t allow another hit until a 5th-inning single by Yasmani Grandal.
However, for all the calm and confidence Wells showed throughout the first five innings, things fell apart in the 6th. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a double that split the left-center gap. Former Orioles nemesis Benintendi assumed that role once again, immediately dumping a single into center and scoring Andrus. Later in the inning, Wells issued his first walk of the season and then Eloy Jimenez singled in Benintendi—extending the White Sox’s lead to 3-0 and ending Wells’ night.
After struggling throughout the A’s series (and the beginning of the season in general), the bullpen had a much more successful showing on Friday. Mike Baumann relieved Wells and—after walking the bases loaded—struck out Grandal and Lenyn Sosa to keep the score at 3-0.
After the Orioles had taken the lead, Cionel Perez came in looking for a clean inning—something that’s been hard to come by for the lefty. Instead, we were “treated” to another bullpen adventure. After getting the leadoff hitter to groundout, Andrus doubled again on a hard-hit ball to left. Perez then walked Benintendi and, at that point, Brandon Hyde had seen enough.
With two on and one out, Hyde summoned the recently-called-up Yennier Cano to make his season debut. And what a debut it was. Cano immediately got Luis Robert Jr. to ground into a double play, ending the threat in the 7th. The righty from Cuba came out again in the 8th, and worked a perfect inning with two groundouts and his first strikeout of the year.
Felix Bautista then brought Mountain Time to the Central time zone as he worked yet another dominant 9th inning. After striking out the first two batters on six pitches, Bautista walked Andrus, before closing things out with another K. As Orioles’ broadcaster Kevin Brown proclaimed during the broadcast, when Bautista comes in throwing 102 with his devastating splitter “it’s hammer time because you can’t touch this.”
Félix Bautista's Stuff is Impossible. pic.twitter.com/fIx68HjhrL— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 15, 2023
And so, what at one point looked like a boring march toward a meek defeat, quickly turned into another night filled with Orioles magic. The pitching was better, the hitting was timely, and Felix Bautista did his thing. Most importantly though, the Orioles have Adley Rutschman. As he’s proved time and time again in this young season, sometimes a moment of Adley heroics is all this team needs.
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