A late offensive surge lifted the Orioles to a 9-3 win over the White Sox on Tuesday night at Camden Yards. This marks their 83rd win of the year, the same number of victories they had in all of 2022. There is still more than a month of regular season baseball left this year.
The first half of this game was an unlikely pitching duel between Dean Kremer and Jesse Scholtens, two hurlers that entered the day with ERAs above four.
Scholtens was particularly effective early on. It took the Orioles until their second trip through the order to even record a hit. That came when Adley Rutschman singled to open up the fourth inning. But their first run would have to wait even longer.
Chicago was first on the board. With one out in the third inning Lenyn Sosa took Dean Kremer deep to center field for his fifth home run of the season.
Lenyn Sosa is back at it again! pic.twitter.com/Ipv9WrhuEl— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 29, 2023
Home runs have been an issue for Kremer this season as he began the day tied for ninth in all of baseball with 26 allowed. Keeping it to a solo shot is easy enough to swallow, though, even if it did come off the bat of someone slugging. 317 on the season.
After failing to cash in on runners on the corners in the fourth, the Orioles were able to tie things up in the fifth. Austin Hays singled and scooted around to third on a Ramón Urías base knock. That put Hays in position to score off of an Adam Frazier grounder into right field for the home team’s first run of the day.
That’s all that either team could do against the opposing starter. Scholtens pitched into the sixth before a Ryan Mountcastle single got him the hook, although the Chicago bullpen bailed him out there. Kremer made it into the seventh inning, but was unable to record an out, and left two runners on base for reliever Danny Coulombe to sort out.
Fortunately, the southpaw did just that. The White Sox helped him out with two consecutive bunt attempts. First, Oscar Colás popped out in foul territory while trying to move the runners over. Then Sosa returned to the plate and was able to successfully bunt both runners into scoring position, but now with two outs for the ninth hitter in the order, Korey Lee. It took six pitches, but Coulombe managed to get Lee to ground out and end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, the Orioles bats got to work, all on a rally that was started by pinch hitter Ryan McKenna. With two outs, and after he looked absolutely foolish on a sweeper, McKenna lined a single into left field. A few pitches later, he stole second base. After consecutive walks to Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, it was Anthony Santander that cashed in. The DH poked a ball just past the first base bag, a bases-clearing double that put the Orioles up 4-1, a lead they would never relinquish.
It's Anthony Santander's world and we're just living in it. pic.twitter.com/71Fn09OtKh— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 30, 2023
Coulombe got two more outs in the eighth, before he was replaced by Yennier Cano. The only out Cano recorded required a huge effort from Hays in left field to track down a long fly ball to the warning track. Hays came away from the play with what seemed to be a limp, but he stayed in the game.
The game was blown wide open in the Orioles’ half of the eighth. They scored five runs and all but locked the game away. Jordan Westburg opened with a walk, moseyed over to third on a Hays single, and then scored on a fielder’s choice from Cedric Mullins. Runners were back in scoring position following a Urías single, but they didn’t stay long as McKenna drove in both Mullins and Urías on a double to the right-center gap. McKenna swiped another bag and then crossed the plate on a Rutschman single up the middle. Rutschman advanced to second on a Henderson hit, and then scored on another knock from Santander. When it was all said and done the O’s had a 9-1 advantage.
That output seemed to change how the Orioles managed their bullpen. Cano’s services were no longer necessary for a four-out save, so instead they turned to Shintaro Fujinami. It wasn’t the righty’s best night. His fastball seemed to be down a tick, and he wasn’t missing any bats. The White Sox scored twice within the first four batters: single, single, single (run), ground out (run).
Fujinami actually needed some TOOTBLAN help from the visitors. Sosa reached on a single, but then inexplicable took off for second base when Lee, the batter right after him, hit a weak fly ball into shallow center field. Mullins made the grab and then easily doubled off Sosa at first base to end the game with a final score of 9-3.
This was a well-rounded team win. Kremer was good once again, Coulombe did a nice fireman job, and the entire lineup contributed to a huge night at the plate.
Unfortunately, the Rays did beat the Marlins 11-2, so the AL East lead remains at 2.5, but the magic number to win the division does shrink by a game.
This series wraps up on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a 1:05 first pitch as Kyle Gibson (13-7, 4.89 ERA) and Dylan Cease (5-7, 4.81 ERA) meet up on the mound.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 29?
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Dean Kremer (ND, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K)
Danny Coulombe (W, 1.2 scoreless innings, go out of Kremer’s mess)
Anthony Santander (2-for-4, four RBI, go-ahead double with bases loaded)
Ryan McKenna (2-for-2, two runs, two RBI, two stolen bases)