These Orioles just keep winning! Despite going down four runs early, the O’s stormed back to score five unanswered runs to top the Red Sox 5-4 on Monday night at Camden Yards, their seventh win in a row.
O’s starter Dean Kremer entered the game looking to replicate what he had done last week in D.C, where he shut out the Nationals for 6.2 innings. That didn’t happen here, and ultimately his numbers in the box score don’t look great, but there were positives to take away. More on that in a moment.
Boston was first on the board. In the top of the second inning Triston Casas launched an elevated fastball deep into the right field bleaches for a 1-0 lead.
That advantage was added to in the third inning. Connor Wong walked and moved to second on a ground out before Alex Verdugo singled him home. A few pitches later, Rafael Devers left the ballpark, smacking a cutter in the middle of the plate onto Eutaw Street to make it 4-0.
A few years ago, if you handed Chris Sale a four-run lead you could pretty much call it a day. The perennial Cy Young candidate was as dependable as it got. But that simply isn’t the case in 2023.
It took until the third inning for the O’s to get a hit, when Cedric Mullins led off with a double. That set up Adam Frazier for a poke into left field to score Mullins and cut the visitors lead by one.
From there, this game was all about the Orioles. Kremer struck out the side in the fourth inning, a crucial shutdown frame. Then, the Baltimore bats went to work in the bottom half. Four straight hits from Ryan Mountcastle (single), Anthony Santander (double), Ramón Urías (double), and James McCann (single) suddenly had things tied up. Sale was fortunate to emerge from the inning still tied when Mullins grounded into a double play to kill the threat.
But the veteran southpaw ultimately could not escape the loss. He returned for the fifth inning, when he served up a double down the left field line to Jorge Mateo. The speedster moved to second on a ground out and then scored on a single through the infield from Austin Hays. And there we have our final score of 5-4.
Baserunners were hard to come by from there. Boston pitchers allowed four hits over the final three innings but no runs. While the Baltimore hurlers tossed 3.1 hitless frames and walked two to close out the win.
Brandon Hyde stayed away from closer Félix Bautista, who pitched in two of the last three games and seemed to be off limits. So instead he chose to deploy Bryan Baker in the seventh, Danny Coulombe in the eighth, and Yennier Cano in the ninth en route to the save. It worked, all of them bringing their best stuff to hold the one-run lead.
Cano’s meteoric rise in the Baltimore bullpen over the last 10 days is something to behold. This is a player that felt like a throw-in from the Jorgé López trade with Minnesota last season, and began this season in Triple-A. Now, it’s hard to imagine the bullpen without him and his changeup. It will be interesting to see where he fits once the likes of Dillon Tate and Mychel Givens return to give Hyde a full strength ‘pen to work with.
Kremer’s line is somewhat ugly (5.2 innings, seven hits, four runs, one walk, five strikeouts, two home runs), but once again he had good velocity on his fastball and showed some moxie to bounce back from a poor third inning to pitch into the sixth.
The Orioles lineup showed signs of life here. They racked up 13 hits (every starter had at least one hit), went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and did not strike out at all. Not a typo. They didn’t strikeout! However, they did ground into four double plays. Remove one or two of those, and this likely isn’t as close of a game.
It feels like a good sign that the Orioles are winning games without playing perfect baseball, and they are doing so with regularity. Just imagine how good they will be when everything clicks.
They will look to make it eight wins in a row on Tuesday night. These Red Sox are the foe once again, when Kyle Bradish (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Corey Kluber battle it out (0-4, 8.50 ERA). First pitch is 6.35.
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Dean Kremer (W, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 SO)
Yennier Cano (S, perfect ninth, 2 SO)
Ramón Urías (2 RBI, nice snag in the 9th)
Austin Hays (outfield assist, game-winning RBI)