Ryan Flaherty doesn’t face left-handed pitchers too often. He had just 23 of his 131 at-bats against southpaws before tonight.
But with the Orioles playing without Manny Machado, he went up there against Rangers lefty Neal Cotts in the last of the seventh tonight. He then hit a go-ahead solo homer to break a 4-4 tie and the Orioles beat the Rangers 6-4.
Cotts had allowed just two homers over 35 2/3 innings until Flaherty’s drive to right field.
“Lefty comes in the game. Just trying to stay closed on him. Fight him the other way. He left a pitch 3-1 over the plate,” Flaherty said simply.
This was the fourth go-ahead homer of Flaherty’s career and his second this year. He also hit one to put the O’s in the lead on May 2 against Cleveland.
“Yeah, in the situation with the roster the way it is, I have to take that at-bat. Just trying to contribute,” Flaherty said.
The Orioles improved to 3-0 with their 24-man roster.
“It’s the sum of the parts for sure,” Flaherty said. “It can’t be the same guys every night. And it’s an opportunity for other guys to get in there and help the team win.
“Fall down 4-0. We just kept grinding. Slowly crawled back into it and put ourselves in a position to win.”
Flaherty also made several nice plays at third base and he’s started there the last two nights.
“Pretty comfortable. Bobby Dickerson makes sure you will be comfortable by doing your early work,” he said.
It was not quite a comfortable night for right-hander Chris Tillman. After pitching to an ERA of 1.61 in his previous four starts and a 2.47 ERA at home this year, he was not as sharp tonight.
Tillman went 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (three earned), throwing 111 pitches.
“It was a grind. It wasn’t good,” he said. “Consistently behind in the count. Like to get ahead a little more. Sometimes when I did make some pitches they were able to put some swings on them because they were ahead in the count.
“Changeup came on strong towards the end. Fastball was hit and miss. Curveball was pretty much non-existent. Threw a few for strikes, but not where it needs to be.”
Tillman allowed a season-high four runs at home in this game. A reporter mentioned to him that several hits he gave up were not struck that well.
“Makes it frustrating,” he said. “You make some good pitches and they hit some ground balls where we’re not. But there were other times where I was behind in the count, made a bad pitch and got an out. Kind of evens itself out.”
But the Orioles did get the comeback win and they are now 12-6 when Tillman starts this year. Tonight, they rallied from down 4-0 for the victory.
“It’s big. It really is,” Tillman said. “We all knew they would scored some runs tonight. It was just a matter of getting these guys back in the dugout quick. Give them a few chances. (Brad) Brach came in and got them back in the dugout right away.”
Adam Jones extended his hitting streak to six games and he’s batting .524 (11-for-21) during that stretch with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs. With three RBIs tonight, he’s tied Brian Roberts for 13th on the O’s all-time list with 521.
The Orioles have six straight multi-homer games to tie a season-high and have hit 15 in that stretch. The Orioles have homered in 12 straight games, hitting 27 total.