The Orioles only scored 17 runs in the first six games of their west coast road trip. Fortunately, the bats picked up the pace tonight. Baltimore scored early and often, and the bullpen prevented any late drama. The O’s topped Oakland 9-4 in the first of three games at the Coliseum.
Baltimore’s offense did its best to provide a cushion early in the game. Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Santander put runners on the corners with a pair of one-out singles. Ryan Mountcastle drove in the first run of the game with a single up the middle, but Ryan O’Hearn struck out for the second out.
Cedric Mullins stepped in and delivered a clutch two-out hit. Mullins jumped a first pitch fastball and sent it off the wall in right field. The knock plated both runners and provided Baltimore a three-run lead.
The bats picked up where they left off in the second. Adley Rutschman sent a two-out single up the middle, and Gunnar Henderson followed with an absolute no-doubter. The rookie launched the pitch 438 feet from home plate. The ball travel 111 MPH and provided the O’s a 5-1 advantage.
Both teams went scoreless in the third, but Baltimore tacked on in the fifth. Jordan Westburg drove in Austin Hays with a sacrifice fly, and Henderson extended the lead to five with a single to score Adam Frazier.
Baltimore jumped even further ahead with an RBI-double by Frazier in the fifth, and Westburg drove in the ninth run with a base hit up the middle. The single ensured each Baltimore position player had recorded a hit by the end of the fifth inning. Ramón Urías entered later and became the tenth Oriole to tally a base hit.
The surplus of production should have made things easy for Kyle Gibson. Unfortunately, Gibson struggled to put away Oakland hitters throughout the night. Gibson allowed a run in each of the first two innings, and the A’s hit several balls hard throughout the night.
Brent Rooker drove in Oakland’s third run with a double in the fifth, and Seth Brown drove in Rooker to trim the lead back to five. Brandon Hyde likely would have loved to get six frames out of the “inning-eater,” but the skipper had to pull Gibson after only five.
Gibson turned in another lackluster start after allowing nine runs last week in Seattle. The veteran likely still holds a place in the postseason rotation, but the Orioles would love to see the 35-year-old take a step in the right direction sometime soon.
Mike Baumann replaced Gibson and provided a touch of drama. The A’s loaded the bases in the sixth, but Baumann generated a pop up behind home plate to end the inning. Rutschman managed to track down the ball and make the catch up against the net for the third out.
Cionel Pérez struck out two during a clean seventh, and Jacob Webb retired the side in order during the eighth. Hyde elected to give Yennier Cano some work in the ninth, and Cano completed the fourth scoreless frame for the bullpen.
The A’s utilized an opener in Francisco Pérez, but Baltimore jumped him right away. Baltimore kept Luis Medina and Kyle Muller off balance while keeping the pressure on all night long.
The victory extended the no-sweep streak and helped Baltimore maintain pace in the AL East. Rutschman finished 3-for-4 with a walk, and Henderson ended the night 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Hays and O’Hearn joined the two youngsters in the multi-hit club. Ryan Mountcastle extended his on-base streak to 24 games.
The Orioles are now 75-47. Cole Irvin will take the ball tomorrow night against his former team as the O’s look to clinch the series.
Who was the most Birdland player on August 19, 2023?
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Adley Rutschman (3-for-4, BB, nice catch to end the sixth)
Gunnar Henderson (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)