The streak lives! The Orioles have still not been swept in the Adley Rutschman era plus one series before that. Despite a couple of losses to the Dodgers on Monday and Tuesday that really inspired glum feelings in Birdland, despite an outing by Dean Kremer that did the O’s no favors and put them in an early hole, the Orioles came back and soundly beat the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon, averting a third straight loss and a sweep with an 8-5 victory.
After the top of the inning, it seemed that the day was on the way to uninterrupted disaster for the Orioles, their chances of continuing the not-been-swept streak almost nonexistent. The starting pitcher Kremer had the sort of inning that’s plagued Orioles pitchers all series, with an inability to put away batters with two strikes leading to an elevated pitch count, runners on base, and runs on the board.
It took ten pitches for Freddie Freeman to be walked, and another ten for Max Muncy to end up grounding out. If that was as bad as it was, it would have been annoying but fine. Kremer went on to give up a run-scoring double and then was on the wrong end of a bloop run-scoring single as well. When the dust settled on his first inning, he’d thrown 37 pitches while allowing those two runs.
With long reliever Cole Irvin having been used for four innings to get through Tuesday’s loss to the Dodgers, it could have gotten really ugly on from there. It did still end up getting pretty ugly for Kremer, but he at least dodged the absolute worst case by pitching into the fifth inning.
The Orioles did not waste any time countering the bad top of the first inning. After a quick leadoff out made by Austin Hays, the next four Orioles safely reached base, with three consecutive base hits that included RBI singles from Aaron Hicks and Jordan Westburg. In close to the blink of an eye, the O’s had tied the game up and put two more men on base. Ramón Urías drove in the two runs in a triumph over Dodgers starter Julio Urías.
These Uríases are not related to my knowledge. What is certain is that as much as the top half of the inning sucked, the Orioles completed the first inning with a 4-2 lead. A quickly-passing shower arrived in the midst of this O’s rally to annoy everyone who was annoyed about the 40 minute delay when it wasn’t raining at that time. The game was not delayed for this rain.
For a little while, it looked like Kremer might be able to salvage something decent from the outing. He kept the Dodgers off the board in the second and third innings. In the fourth, lefty batter James Outman struck Kremer for a solo home run. This turned out to be a notable homer as Outman hit it to the opposite field, which is to say, over Walltimore. Since that wall’s arrival last year, no prior left-handed batter had hit a home run that cleared it. Into the record books he goes. The ball went out, man.
Things fell apart again in the fifth and Kremer was ultimately not able to finish that inning, though he was, briefly, teased with the idea that he’d escaped the inning with a one-out double play ball. Replays clearly showed the runner, Freeman, was safe at first, though, and the New York collective justifiably overturned it in short order.
Kremer only needed to retire the .187 hitter Muncy to get through it. He started Muncy with an 0-2 count that ended up running full before Muncy hit a homer into the center field bleachers. Kremer’s day was done. It’s hard to say he deserved any better than what he got: Five runs on four hits and four walks in a 4.2 inning outing, with only one strikeout. He could not put guys away and enough of them made him pay in big ways.
Helpfully for the Orioles and anyone emotionally invested in their success, the offense did not fold up the tents for the day after scoring the four first inning runs. They kept adding to their margin with runs that proved to be crucial. Instead of Muncy’s homer putting the Dodgers up 5-4, it instead cut an Orioles lead to 7-5.
The Orioles plated two more in the third inning with a two-out rally that was started by a Jordan Westburg double. Ramón triumphed in the next Urías-Urías battle with another double that scored a fifth O’s run. A sixth crossed when a wild pitch escaped to the backstop, scoring Gunnar Henderson from third base. This was the first wild pitch that Julio Urías had thrown all season.
Jorge Mateo almost single-handedly created a run for the Orioles in the fourth inning, using his speed to turn a single into a double, then using his speed to steal third base. He scored as Hays hit a sacrifice fly. Good things can happen when Mateo gets on base. It’s just that his on-base percentage is .268.
Henderson got a “first” out of his way too, blasting a solo home run in the fifth inning to give the O’s an 8-5 lead. This homer that went far into the center field bleachers came against the lefty, Urías, which made it the first homer against a lefty pitcher in Gunnar’s career to date. The league has let him get hot. Hopefully Henderson can keep battling Texas’s Josh Jung for the Rookie of the Year honors all the way through to the end of the season.
LA’s Urías ended up taking eight earned runs in his five inning start. The Orioles touched him up for eight hits and two walks.
Not to be forgotten as a contributor is Danny Coulombe, who entered in relief for Kremer in the fifth inning and then went on to pitch the sixth and seventh too. There’s not even much to detail about his outing because it was so smooth. In 2.1 innings, Coulombe allowed one hit. That was it. He bridged the gap to the Orioles All-Star back-end bullpen duo. You could not have asked for anything more.
Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth, helped by a slick double play behind him, and Félix Bautista closed the door with a scoreless ninth for his 26th save of the season. The excitement of the game was long past by the time these guys pitched. It was exciting when they were done, though, because the Orioles won.
The most significant series that the Orioles have played in seven years is coming up next. The team, having wrapped up this homestand, is off to play the division-leading Rays for four games starting on Thursday. Kyle Gibson and Tyler Glasnow for the 6:40 series opener.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 19, 2023?
This poll is closed
Ramón Urías (undisputed supremacy in Urías vs. Urías matchup)
Danny Coulombe (2.1 scoreless relief innings helped save the day)