Needing to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Rockies on Sunday, the Orioles put together a complete performance Monday against the White Sox. Between a superb pitching performance and timely hitting up and down the lineup, Chicago never had a chance in a 9-0 Baltimore win.
To say that Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez was dominant Monday night would be a massive understatement. To say the rookie right-hander was the best he’s ever been in an Orioles jersey would be right on the money. It was clear from the get go that Rodriguez was locked in against this White Sox lineup. He started off the game getting ground out on a 100mph fastball and then struck out the next two batters on two more triple-digit heaters. He then came back and worked a perfect 2nd inning, getting a ground out to second and flyball to center field before closing out the inning by getting Gavin Sheets to pop up to left field on 101mph four-seamer.
Rodriguez completed his perfect first trip through the order in the 3rd. He started the inning by forcing a fly out to left before forcing a sharp ground out to second. The 23-year-old flamethrower then capped off the inning by blowing a 99mph heater by nine-hitting Korey Lee for his third K of the game. The 4th inning was when Rodriguez suffered his first and only scare of the night. After getting two quick outs, White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. doubled off the Great Wall of Baltimore for the only hit Rodriguez allowed all night. After another hard ground out to second, G-Rod walked off the mound four complete scoreless innings.
The Orioles’ rookie starter went back to dominating the Chicago lineup in the 5th. Yoan Moncada put a charge into a 3-2 fastball to lead off the inning, but Cedric Mullins tracked it down right in front of Elrod’s Corner for the first out. After Sheets grounded out unassisted to first, Rodriguez punctuated another inning with a K—once again rearing back for a triple-digit fastball to strike out Lenyn Sosa.
The 6th inning was the only one where the White Sox really worked the count against Rodriguez. Right fielder Óscar Colás worked a 3-2 count as the lead off hitter, but Rodriguez threw him a perfect change up on the inside corner for his 5th K of the night. Lee then worked a 6-pitch walk for the only free pass the O’s starter issued all night.
He rebounded from the walk by K’ing former All-Star Tim Anderson on a fastball high and tight, and then closed the inning by getting former All-Star Andrew Benintendi to ground out to short. There were times throughout his first stint in the majors when Birdland questioned when future-ace Grayson Rodriguez would show up. On Monday, he showed up in full force.
The offense was not quite as dominant as their starting pitcher, but you couldn’t tell by the score board. The O’s first got on the board in the 3rd inning thanks to a parade of singles. Adley Rutschman led off the inning with a sharp single through the right side. Then, after a loud fly out to CF by Gunnar Henderson, Anthony Santander rolled a single in RF and Ryan Mountcastle walked to load the bases. Ryan O’Hearn wasted no time bringing home his teammates, lacing a line drive single into CF to score Adley and RMC—and giving the O’s a 2-0 lead.
Joan Jett in the booth is everything. pic.twitter.com/zeC2GHMIxx— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 29, 2023
Baltimore then doubled that lead in the 4th inning with the help of a little small ball. Ryan McKenna worked a one-out walk and then stole second to give the O’s a runner in scoring position. Adley then launched a ball to the warning track in left-center, allowing McKenna to tag up and move to third. White Sox’ starter Michael Kopech then uncorked a wild pitch, and McKenna scampered home for the third run of the game. Henderson then followed in McKenna’s footsteps, singling to RF, stealing second and then coming home on a Mountcastle single up the middle.
After Kopech left the game in the 5th, the O’s bats went dormant for the next three innings. However, they awoke with an explosive inning in the 8th to close out the win. Ramón Urías led off the inning by getting hit with a fastball high and inside. That seemed to fire up the Orioles’ offense, as Adam Frazier responded with a single to deep right-center and advanced to second on the throw. McKenna then immediately brought Urías and Frazier home, as he splashed a bloop single into LF on the first pitch he saw—giving the O’s a 6-0 lead.
Adley almost drove home McKenna in the next AB, launching another deep fly to left-center that looked like a sure double off the bat. However, Robert Jr. once again proved to be Adley’s nemesis, diving to rob the All-Star catcher of extra bases. The rest of the Orioles lineup seemed to take that robbery personally, as Henderson single up the middle to set up Anthony Santander for some fireworks. In what has been a regular occurrence lately, Tony Taters launched another HR onto the flag court to blow the game wide open.
They may be a footnote in what will be remembered as Grayson Rodriguez’ shutout performance, but the bullpen more than held up their end of the deal in closing out the shutout. DL Hall looked particularly sharp in 1.1 innings, picking up his first strikeout since returning to the majors. The often volatile Shintaro Fujinami worked a perfect ninth inning to complete their ninth shut out of the year—their second in the last six games. Three Orioles ended the game with two hits—while the White Sox only had two hits as a team—and the O’s delivered perhaps their most complete performance of the season.
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