The Orioles are series winners once again. They used timely offense and another solid start from Tyler Wells to beat the San Francisco Giants 8-3 on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park.
Sometimes it only takes one big inning to change a game, and that’s exactly what the Orioles offense got in this one. The somewhat depleted lineup took advantage of an uncharacteristically wild Anthony DeSclafani to send 10 batters to the plate and score six times in the third inning.
James McCann opened the frame with a walk, a harbinger of things to come. Jorge Mateo followed with a double, and Adam Frazier drove in the first run of the day with a sacrifice fly to center field. Adley Rutschman singled to get runners on the corners before Anthony Santander popped out to third base, making the second out of the inning and putting the rally to come at risk.
The suddenly slumping Austin Hays stepped in, one hit in his previous 14 at-bats, and put a quick end to that. He smacked the first pitch he saw into right field to score Mateo and move Rutschman around to third. Hays then swiped second and Aaron Hicks walked to load things up. Then, the unthinkable happened, Ryan Mountcastle took a walk as well (on four pitches!!) to score another run. DeSclafani had entered the day with nine walks over his first 67.1 innings of the the season had now issued three free passes in less than one inning.
There was still more damage to come. Josh Lester was making his first big league appearance with the Orioles, and although he had played two games for the Tigers in 2022 he had yet to secure his first MLB hit. That changed in this inning when he singled to the right-center field gap and cleared the bases. The hit scored two, and when the throw to the cut-off man was botched one more crossed the plate.
First Major League hit for Josh Lester!! pic.twitter.com/Hx4mncSF3e— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 4, 2023
That was all the scoring for the inning, but there was one more indication of how little control DeSclafani had over his pitches. He plunked McCann with a runaway sinker that got him on the wrist. McCann was shaken up, but he made his way down to first anyway and finished out the game.
That gave Tyler Wells plenty of cushion on the mound. The righty cruised through his first five innings with relative ease. He had allowed a base runner in three of the five innings, but none of them got beyond second base.
The only runs Wells allowed came in the sixth. He issued a one-out walk, and then served up a two-run homer. That was the end of the road for the Orioles’ starter. He had thrown 102 pitches, tying his season high.
Sabol destroyed this to the deepest part of the park pic.twitter.com/Fpep5riFLA— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 4, 2023
It was another strong outing for Wells. He struck out a career-high nine batters and got oodles of whiffs, particularly on his changeup. The offering was great on this day. Half of swings that came against it were missed, and those that did make contact were overwhelmingly soft.
Wells has suddenly transformed himself into a strikeout pitching. He has set down 39 batters on strikes over his last five starts (28.1 innings). That is quite a turnaround from the guy that average 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings a season ago. If he can continue to miss bats like this and keep his walk rates low, the Orioles might just have the ace they have been looking for.
The O’s scored twice more in the this game. McCann showed that his wrist was just fine with a solo homer in the sixth. And it was Hicks that added another insurance run in the ninth inning with a triple to score pinch runner Ryan McKenna and give us our 8-3 final score.
That other Giants’ run had come in the eighth. Yennier Cano came in to relieve Mike Baumann. He allowed a double and then induced a Wilmer Flores fielder’s choice. That scored LaMonte Wade Jr., who had walked against Baumann to open the frame.
Rutschman, Hicks, and Mateo had two hits apiece. Hicks also walked. The center fielder has a 1.207 OPS in four games as an Oriole. Who knows how long it lasts, but it sure is nice to get some production from that spot while Cedric Mullins is out.
It’s nice to get back into the habit of winning serieses, particularly on the road. And that’s where the Orioles will stay. After an off day, they begin a three-game set against Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. Kyle Gibson (7-3, 3.89 ERA) is on the bump against Freddy Peralta (5-5, 4.62 ERA). First pitch is 7:40.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for June 4, 2023?
This poll is closed
Tyler Wells (W, 5.1 innings, 9 K’s, nice changeup, dude)
Josh Lester (first MLB hit, two RBI)
Aaron Hicks (2-for-4, triple, walk, RBI)
James McCann (home run, tough guy!)