A look at the stunning pitching run at the end of the Cincy series

So the Orioles’ series in Cincinnati did not start well. They trailed the Reds 9-1 at the end of the third inning on Tuesday night. We didn’t know then what would happen next.

The Reds would score just one run in the last 24 innings of the series.

Yep, Orioles pitchers did some stunning work. The Reds scored no more runs in their last five at-bats Tuesday, got shutout Wednesday and scored one run in 10 innings in Thursday’s 2-1 loss. The Orioles scored two runs Wedensday and two more Thursday. They won both games.

wade-miley-gray-throwing-sidebar.jpgUbaldo Jiménez and Wade Miley combined to pitch 15 2/3 the last two nights, allowing four hits and one run. Over the last two games, O’s pitchers allowed just four hits and one run and the Reds as a team hit .067 (4-for-60). The Orioles pitched back-to-back two-hitters.

Miley has made three starts this year and he’s simply rolling, commanding all his pitches and his fastball is showing some nice late life. Over 19 innings he has allowed eight hits and four runs with eight walks and 24 strikeouts. His ERA is 1.89 for the season and is 1.91 over his last six starts, dating to last September.

Miley has allowed a batting average against of just .127 on the year and just .132 when facing a right-handed batter. He is getting more efficient each outing, throwing 100 pitches in five innings his first start, 101 in six innings his next time and 101 in eight innings Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

The Orioles improved to 5-1 in one-run games, and they are 3-0 in two-run games.

Best AL records in one- and two-run games:
.889 - Orioles (8-1)
.833 - Houston (5-1)
.778 - Boston (7-2)
.714 - Detroit (5-2)

The Orioles have scored two runs in a game three times this year (including the last two nights) and are 3-0.

According to a graphic on MASN’s “O’s Xtra” postgame show last night, the Orioles completed a nine-game road trip at 6-3 for the fourth time since the 2000 season. Those are their best win-percentage nine-game trips since that season.

The other such stretches came July 15-22, 2004, Sept. 14-23, 2012, and Sept. 5-14, 2016. This recent successful road trip went through Boston (1-1), Toronto (3-1) and Cincinnati (2-1).

In another oddity of sorts, the Orioles had just one official at-bat last night with a runner in scoring position. It was when J.J. Hardy hit with Mark Trumbo at second in the 10th. Hardy singled to left center on a 1-2 pitch to score Trumbo, and that was the game-winning hit, as it turned out. The O’s had few RISP chances in the series but went 4-for-11 (.364) and got some clutch hits. Not many, but their pitching made it be enough the last two nights.

At 10-4 the Orioles have the best record in the majors. They have done this without Chris Tillman, with Zach Britton not at his best and now on the disabled list, and with Manny Machado batting .176.

Despite their very strong start and posting a record better than any major league club, the Orioles have two teams right on their heels in the American League East. No shock there, I guess, but the New York Yankees (10-5) are just ½ game behind the Orioles, and Boston (10-6) is one game back. Tampa Bay has a winning record at 9-8 and is 2 ½ back.

Four teams are playing .500 or better in the AL East, and there are just three total in the rest of the league. No one said it would be easy, and it won’t be.

Now with this interleague series complete, the Orioles host Boston tonight to begin a three-game series. This also begins a stretch in which the Birds will play their next 13 games within the division, versus the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees and Red Sox.

Not a bad time to be playing so well. We’ll see if it continues on the homestand.

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