The Orioles allowed Colorado to score first in all three games this weekend. Baltimore battled back to take the first two, but the O’s finally paid the price on Sunday. Pinch hitter Ryan O’Hearn hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth, but a throwing error and a Baltimore chop sunk the Birds 4-3.
The Orioles surrendered a run in the ninth, but they couldn’t pin this one on the loss of All-Star closer Félix Bautista. Yennier Cano entered and generated a hard-hit grounder up the middle. Gunnar Henderson gathered the ball, spun, and threw wide of first base. The throw bounced into the dugout, and Hunter Goodman advanced to second.
Goodman had already collected his first Major-League hit with an RBI-single in the sixth. He received credit for an infield hit in the ninth, and advanced to third on a ground out to second base. Colorado turned to the bench and sent out All Star Elías Díaz to bring the run home.
Díaz chopped a ball that hit inches from home plate. Unfortunately, the ball skied high enough that Ramón Urías could only make the play at first. The Rockies took a 4-3 lead, and the advantage held after Baltimore went three-up, three-down in the ninth.
The late inning antics added to the plot, but the story of the game was Ty Blach. The former Oriole kept Baltimore hitters off balance for seven strong innings. He conceded a solo home run to Cedric Mullins in the sixth but allowed only two other hits over the seven frames. Blach struck out seven, walked one, and benefited a few times from an inaccurate strike zone by home plate umpire Dan Bellino.
The Orioles wasted their best opportunity to get to Blach in the fourth. Baltimore loaded the bases with a walk and a pair of singles, but Austin Hays grounded a ball to third base. Ryan McMahon stepped on third, fired home, and watched Austin Wynns apply the tag before Adley Rutschman could touch the plate. The double play killed the rally, and Gunnar Henderson lined out to end the inning.
The Rockies dinged Baltimore starter Jack Flaherty for a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Ezequiel Tovar punched a one-out single in the fourth, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Brendan Rodgers. Jordan Westburg appeared to have an opportunity to keep the ball in the infield, but Tovar scored when the rookie failed to make the play.
Michael Toglia doubled Colorado’s lead in the fifth with a solo homer over the scoreboard. Flaherty nearly notched a quality start, but Goodman chased him from the game after a double by McMahon.
Flaherty looked fine after some general arm soreness bumped him back a few days. He may not be a true difference maker, but the Orioles need the 27-year-old to keep the team in games down the stretch. He did that today.
Blach looked nearly unhittable as the game went on, but Baltimore perked up when the Rockies went to the bullpen. Mullins worked a one out walk from reliever Jake Bird to bring the tying run to the plate. Brandon Hyde originally had Adam Frazier on deck, but the skipper turned to O’Hearn instead. O’Hearn blitzed a first pitch cutter to even the score at three.
Austin Voth made his first appearance since June 13 and tossed two scoreless innings. He stranded two inherited runners in the sixth, and passed his first audition for additional innings.
Baltimore and Tampa Bay benefited from a brutal Colorado bullpen over the last week. Unfortunately, the Rockies finally managed to close one out after regaining the lead in the ninth. Frazier entered and ripped a ball to first, but Goodman made a diving catch to cap an impressive game by the rookie.
The loss prevented a sweep and cost Baltimore a game in the AL East. Tampa Bay defeated the last-placed Yankees 7-4 to trim the lead to two.
The Orioles will look to rebuild tomorrow evening when Grayson Rodriguez takes on the White Sox.