O's use big inning to pound Kevin Gausman, split Toronto series (updated)

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TORONTO – In their first matchup against former Oriole right-hander Kevin Gausman today, the O's scored a third-round knockout. Well, a third-inning departure anyway. They treated their 2012 top draft pick (No. 4 overall) rudely today as they beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-2 to split the four-game series.

The Orioles went 4-4 on this road trip and return home at 28-37 to host the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. This was the first series of three or more games where the O’s won or split versus Toronto since Aug. 1-4, 2019.

The Orioles will head home with some momentum, having won four of the last six games and they are 6-5 over the last 11. They are 14-13 the past 27 games and 9-7 in their past 16 AL East games. They are 7-7 this month.  

Gausman began the outing at 5-5 and his 2.67 ERA ranked ninth-best in the American League. Signed by the Blue Jays in December to a five-year deal worth $110 million, he allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his 12 starts this season. Gausman also recorded seven quality starts.

But it was quality at-bats that did him in during the top of the third inning. They scored six runs on seven hits to open a 7-0 lead at Rogers Centre. The O’s scored six runs in an inning three times at Camden Yards in early May. But they had never done it on the road until today.

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O's game blog: The series and road trip finale

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TORONTO – The Orioles and Blue Jays have played 22 innings since the seventh inning on Monday night at Rogers Centre and the cumulative score is Orioles 13, Blue Jays 13.

After splitting consecutive one-run decisions, these teams play the fourth and final game of the series this afternoon. On Monday, before the seventh inning, Toronto built a big lead on its way to an 11-1 win. Tuesday night saw Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays homer in Baltimore’s 6-5 win. Last night, that same duo combined to drive in three runs in the eighth to forge a 6-6 tie before Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s walk-off hit in the tenth provided Toronto the 7-6 win.

The Orioles (27-37) have now played 64 games with 98 still to play. With a .422 win percentage they are on a pace for a final record of 68-94.

Even with Wednesday’s loss, the Orioles have won three of their past five games and are 5-5 over the last 10 and 13-13 in the past 26 games. They are 12-22 in road games, but 3-4 on this trip.

The O’s continue to mash home runs. Adley Rutschman’s first major league homer was a two-run shot in the fourth last night that went 411 feet to right-center off Toronto starter José Berríos. Ryan Mountcastle homered twice – a solo shot in the seventh that cut the O’s deficit to 6-3 and a game-tying, two-run homer to center in the eighth. Mountcastle’s 11th and 12th homers of the year traveled 424 and 413 feet, respectively, and gave him the team lead by one over Anthony Santander, who is on the restricted list for this series.

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Hyde on Zimmermann's option, Rutschman on first homer

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TORONTO – Bruce Zimmermann was one of the Orioles best rotation pitchers through mid-May with a 2.72 ERA. But when his ERA when up to 9.79 over his last six starts, the Orioles felt they need to make a change.

And today the local Baltimore pitcher was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk and right-hander Mike Baumann was added to the Orioles roster for the series finale with Toronto.

Zimmermann allowed three long homers and six runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 in last night’s loss in 10 innings at Rogers Centre. His changeup looked solid early in the outing but that didn’t hold up and he has now allowed 33 earned runs over 30 2/3 innings and 15 homers in his last six games since May 19. Opponents have an OPS against him of 1.176 in that span.

“Zimm’s had a handful of tough starts and we just feel like he needs to go down, kind of do a reset a little bit,” manager Brandon Hyde said today about the move. “Work on some things mechanically, work on some things from a command standpoint with some of his pitches. He got off to a really good start this year. It just hasn’t translated to some of these last starts. The best thing for him is to go down and kind of pitch in some lower pressure situations facing Triple-A lineups and hopefully we see him back here soon.

“He’s getting hurt on a lot of offspeed pitches that are catching too much plate in the thigh area where he is giving up homers. For me he’s got to be able to command his fastball a little bit better, especially with these right-handed dominanted lineups. … Be able to pitch both sides of the plate with his fastball and get the depth back with his changeup. That is something he is going to be working on.”

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Note and quotes after a walk-off loss at Toronto

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TORONTO – It was the night when Adley Rutschman hit his first career homer and Ryan Mountcastle hit two longballs. The Orioles rallied from five runs down to tie the game. It was set up to be a huge comeback win. But the Orioles instead absorbed a 7-6 walk-off loss at Toronto.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continued to torment O’s pitching with a 116 mph single into left field in the 10th inning to end the game. It was his fourth hit of the night, his first career walk-off RBI and third career four-hit game.

Some notes and quotes on the third game of this series, which Toronto now leads 2-1.

He got to wear the chain: Starting to swing the bat better and with a 5-for-18 mark over his last five games with three doubles coming into the night, Rutschman went deep for the first time in the majors.

Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos gave up just one hit over the first six innings, and it was Rutschman’s drive to right-center in the fourth that went the distance. It was a two-run shot that cut the O’s deficit to 5-2. Rutschman would later double for his fourth multi-hit game of the year and his second game with two extra-base hits.

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Home run ball gets Zimmermann again and O's lose a walk-off in the 10th

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TORONTO – There were potentially some positive signs early on tonight for O's struggling lefty Bruce Zimmermann, who had an ERA of 9.47 his last five starts when he took the mound tonight at Rogers Centre.

Through the first two innings, while he was behind 1-0, Blue Jays batters had swung and whiffed on four of seven changeups – a bread and butter pitch for Zimmermann. A slider strikeout of George Springer ended the second. Maybe his secondary pitches would be there for him tonight.

It turned out they were not.

While Zimmermann struggled again, the Orioles offense came to life late as they rallied to tie the Blue Jays. But Toronto produced a walk-off win 7-6 in the last of the 10th on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s RBI single to left. It scored placed runner Bo Bichette as Toronto won on Guerrero's fourth hit of the night. He hit a 100 mph fastball from Felix Bautista and sent it into left field at 116 mph and the game was over.

The O's stranded the potential go-ahead run on third with one out in their half of the tenth. And on a night they came from 5-0 down after three innings and 6-2 behind after six and rallied to tie it, they still came up short. By one run as they suffered their second walkoff loss of the season.

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O's game blog: Bruce Zimmermann faces the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre

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TORONTO – As a team trying to build some momentum, the Orioles have won three of four after taking last night’s game 6-5 at Rogers Centre. Right-hander Jorge López recorded a five-out save as the Orioles improved to 27-36 for the year, 3-3 on this road trip and 8-10 in one-run games.

The Orioles are now 12-17 versus AL East teams, but are 8-6 in their last 14 division games. For the year they are 4-9 against the Yankees, 5-3 versus the Red Sox, 1-1 against the Blue Jays and 2-4 versus the Rays.

The Orioles are improving within the division after playing .263 ball (20-56) in 76 AL East games a year ago. This season the Orioles would finish 31-45 in division games at their current win percentage.

The Orioles hit two homers in Tuesday’s win with Ryan Mountcastle’s 396-foot shot to right field providing a 2-0 lead in the third on his 10th of the year. Later, Austin Hays led off the fifth inning hitting his eighth of the season to give the O's a 4-3 lead.

For his career, Mountcastle is batting .340/.397/.660 for a 1.057 OPS with 10 homers and 18 RBIs in 27 games against Toronto. Mountcastle’s 10 home runs versus the Jays are his most against any MLB club.

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Props for Hays and Mountcastle during Brandon Hyde's pregame update

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TORONTO – The Orioles are pretty excited about both the present and future for some of their young hitters like Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays. But now, in addition to giving the team quality production, they are coming up with big hits at big times.

Last night's 6-5 win at Toronto was the latest example. Mountcastle got them started with a two-run shot to right field in the third inning for a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, after the Orioles had been tied 3-3 and saw a two-run lead disappear, Hays hit a leadoff homer for the 4-3 edge.

“They are just starting to pile up major league at-bats,” manager Brandon Hyde said today discussing the pair after they combined for four hits, three runs and three RBIs on Tuesday night. “Kind of like these guys over here (with Toronto). They’ve got some special, special young players that are now in their third, fourth, fifth years and the improvement that they’ve shown is remarkable. They have some superstar-type players.

“Our guys over here, like Hays, (Cedric) Mullins, Mountcastle, now that they are in their third, fourth, fifth years you are seeing improvement every year with the at-bats that they take that are really good. Mountcastle hit that ball to right-center, that ball is down and he hits it 400 plus feet. Haysie takes a sinker and hits it out to center field. Both of them have elite bat speed and power to all fields. That doesn’t come around all the time.”

Hyde said Mountcastle is rounding into form with his bat after a three extra-base hit night. Over his past 14 games he’s batting .296 with an OPS of 1.054 and 12 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases with seven doubles and five homers.

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Lot of heroes in that win and the Rutschman-Stowers connection

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TORONTO – After the Orioles had secured a 6-5 win over Toronto last night, manager Brandon Hyde had several players and their contributions he could cite.

There was Jorge López and a five-out save against that lineup. There was Jordan Lyles providing some zeroes and making progress after a tough stretch. There were big homers by Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays. There was an entire team that played without Trey Mancini and had lost by 10 a night earlier, but still beat a good Toronto team that has been playing very well.

And there was shortstop Jorge Mateo making an outstanding, charging barehanded defensive gem of a play to get a key out to start the last of the ninth.

“The play that Mateo made, which potentially was game-changing, was just an unbelievable barehand play with a fast runner," Hyde said. "We played really good defense tonight.

“Just shows you his athleticism. I mean the closing speed to get to the ball and then to be able to bare hand that and get rid of it the way he did with something on it from that angle and get (Bo) Bichette there is really tough. That was an enormous play in the game.”

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Lyles gets victory, Mountcastle and Hays homer in win (updated)

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TORONTO – He may not have put up stats as he did earlier in the year, but right-hander Jordan Lyles got his team off to a good pitching start tonight. And then his offense scored in four straight at-bats to back him. Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays homered as the Orioles beat Toronto 6-5 to even this four-game series at a victory for each club.

The Orioles (27-36) improved to 3-3 on this road trip and to 6-5 in their last 11 road games. They are 12-17 on the year versus American League East clubs, but are 8-6 in their past 14 division games.

Lyles allowed four runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings to improve to 4-5 with a 5.10 ERA. He has an ERA of 5.08 in eight starts within the division this season.

Jorge López got the last five outs and did some big-time heavy lifting again. It was his fourth save of the year of more than one inning. He got Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernández in order in the last of the ninth. 

The Orioles broke the early scoreless tie when Mountcastle went opposite field with his 10th homer of the year in the Baltimore third. That provided a 2-0 lead, scoring Richie Martin, who had walked. Mountcastle hit a 1-0 fastball 396 feet with an exit velocity of 106. And Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who had given up seven runs over 5 1/3 his past two starts, was behind in the third tonight.

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O's game blog: Orioles look to even series in Toronto

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TORONTO – After a blowout loss on Monday night, the Orioles look to even their series against the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Rogers Centre. It’s the second of a four-game series.

Toronto (36-24) outhit the Orioles 19-5 in the series opener and bashed six extra-base hits in the win. The Blue Jays went 14-5 against Baltimore in 2021, including an 8-2 mark at home, and last night was the first meeting this season between the clubs. Toronto has beaten the Orioles seven straight games dating to last year.

The Orioles' up-and-down nature shows an 8-1 loss on Friday at Kansas City and an 11-1 loss last night. But they won back-to-back games versus the Royals in between those defeats, scoring 16 runs.

Toronto right-hander Alek Manoah, the American League ERA leader, shut out Baltimore on one hit through six innings. But in the seventh, against reliever Julian Merryweather, Adley Rutschman produced an infield hit with one out and then scored on Kyle Stowers’ double to left-center, which was his first major league hit and RBI. Stowers went 1-for-3 and was hit by a pitch in the last inning.

The Orioles (26-36) are 4-4 over the last eight games and 12-12 over their past 24. They are 11-21 on the road, but 5-6 over the last 11 and 2-3 on this eight-game trip. The Orioles went 7-14 in April and 14-16 in May, and are 5-6 this month.

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Brandon Hyde pregame on Mancini, team's recent play and more

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TORONTO - The Orioles lineup tonight is missing Trey Mancini. He was hit in the right hand by a pitch last night and had his hand wrapped today in the clubhouse earlier. X-rays showed there is no fracture and Mancini is hopeful that he may only have to miss a day or two, or a few at most.

“Trey’s hand is pretty swollen today,” manager Brandon Hyde said during his pregame media briefing. “It’s going to be a few days. We don’t think it’s going to be an IL stint. We got lucky with no fractures last night. But hopefully it’s going to (only) be a few days.”

Any time without Mancini will be challenging for an Orioles team trying to match up on offense with this Toronto club. Mancini is 0-for-5 the last two games but his .797 OPS for the year is 30 percent above league average. And since May 1, he is batting .326/.424/.482/.907 in 38 games.

Kyle Stowers will join Mancini on the bench as tonight’s game starts. With lefty Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 4.44 ERA) starting for Toronto, Ryan McKenna is in left field tonight, with Cedric Mullins in center and Austin Hays in right. Ryan Mountcastle starts at first base and Adley Rutschman is the DH.

Stowers, the Orioles' No. 8 ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, made his major league debut last night, going 1-for-3 with a seventh-inning RBI double.

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Stowers powers a double, but O's lose Toronto series opener

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TORONTO – During the long grind of a 162-game season where even after they feel they're making some progress and starting to play overall better baseball, building day-to-day momentum has been a real challenge for these 2022 Orioles.

They have one three-game win streak this year, and given a chance for a second one last night, they got hammered 11-1 by Toronto. It matches their biggest losing margin all year – 10 runs for the third time.

The up-and-down Orioles were held to 10 runs in three games versus Cleveland and then scored nine against the Cubs. They produced just six runs in two losses at Kansas City before scoring 16 and winning twice. Then the Toronto series started with a dud. 

And rookie right-hander Kyle Bradish, a young pitcher trying to find his way and make improvements in the rugged American League East, had another subpar night, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings – his third straight outing where he failed to pitch five innings. He threw 90 pitches but his ERA increased from 6.45 to 6.86.

Bradish felt he was making some progress the second time through the Toronto lineup. Maybe it’s something to build on, but he was still missing a key pitch again.

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Manoah too much for O's, who get routed in series opener (updated)

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TORONTO – In winning the last two games of their series in Kansas City, the Orioles scored 16 runs on 25 hits and hit four homers. The sledding was much tougher tonight in their first meeting of the year with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto sent right-hander Alek Manoah to the mound, a pitcher who had allowed just 14 earned runs in 69 2/3 innings this year and had thrown 10 quality starts in his first 11 outings of the season.

He would not need a lot of runs tonight, but the Blue Jays got him a lot anyway.

They scored seven times in the last of the fifth to knock O’s starter Kyle Bradish from the game, and they routed the Orioles 11-1 at Rogers Centre.

The Orioles had been 7-5 in their last 12 games against American League East opponents, but now they have lost seven in a row versus Toronto dating to last season as they fall to 26-36 for the year and to 2-3 on this road trip.

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O's game blog: The Toronto series begins at Rogers Centre

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TORONTO – After building some momentum with back-to-back wins at Kansas City in a four-game series split, the Orioles' road trip has now arrived in Toronto. The Blue Jays host the Orioles tonight to start a four-game series in the first meeting this year between the clubs.

The Orioles (26-35) lost the first two games in Kansas City before posting 6-4 and 10-7 wins on Saturday and Sunday. They scored 16 runs on 25 hits in those games with four doubles, two triples and four homers. They went 8-for-25 with runners in scoring position in those games.

The Orioles are 11-20 on the road for the season and 2-2 on this trip. But they are 5-4 in the last nine road games.

Their offense has now scored 31 runs the last five games, 124 in the past 23 and 222 runs in their last 49 games. They have hit 14 homers the last seven games and 21 in their past 12 games.

Toronto (35-24) beat Detroit 6-0 Sunday to take two of three in that series as right-hander Ross Stripling pitched six scoreless innings and three relievers completed the two-hit shutout. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a two-run homer, his 14th. The Blue Jays have won four of six and 13 of their past 17 games. They are 17-7 since May 15.

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Making good use of between starts prep, Carlos Tavera having big year for Aberdeen

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ABERDEEN, Md. - High Single-A Aberdeen pitcher Carlos Tavera was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month for May, a period where he allowed just one run over four starts. But when I interviewed him recently, it was the outing after that month was over that was gnawing at him and bothering him big time. He was a ticked off pitcher and one that was not dealing well with giving up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings on June 1 versus Hudson Valley.

And when he was back on the mound last Wednesday at Brooklyn, he took it out on that night’s opponent. Tavera got back on the horse in a big way, throwing six scoreless on one hit with two walks and eight strikeouts.

That lingering bad taste was washed away in his latest night of strong pitching.

During our interview I asked Tavera why he was so dominant in May, allowing the one run on just six hits over 18 1/3 innings? He fanned 26 and walked just five with an 0.60 WHIP. But his thoughts then were more on that start that would follow those others.

“It was good, unfortunately that roll ended my last outing,” he said at Ripken Stadium. “I felt like I was in a good spot and how my pitches were. Had everything working and was really getting ahead and going after guys. It was a nice month. But I had a bad taste after this last outing and plan on getting rolling again here. When something like that happens, I’m not happy for quite a few days.”

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O's game blog: The series finale at Kansas City

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The Orioles have a chance to split their four-game series at Kansas City with a win today at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won the first two games of the series before the O’s picked up the 6-4 victory Saturday as Adley Rutschman produced his first career three-hit game and Tyler Nevin hit a go-ahead, three-run homer.

Rutschman hit three balls at 100 mph or more in going 3-for-4 with two doubles. And he is 4-for-7 with three doubles the past two games. Rutschman had a pair of two-hit games, but none of three hits until Saturday. He had gone 2-for-24 his previous seven games.

Right-hander Tyler Wells produced a quality start for the Orioles, allowing five hits and three runs over six innings. He is now 3-4 with a 3.86 ERA after his 84-pitch outing. The O’s bullpen allowed one run over the final three innings, and Jorge López closed it out to record his eighth save.

The Baltimore bullpen has allowed just two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings this series. On the year, the Baltimore bullpen ERA of 3.07 ranks sixth in the majors, behind only Houston (2.65), Detroit (2.80), the New York Yankees (2.89), Cleveland (2.93) and Atlanta (3.06).

Wells produced his third career quality start and the Orioles' 12th of this year. They are 8-4 when getting one in 2022.

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Rutschman's big day, Nevin's big swing lead O's to win in Kansas City

nevin chained @KC orange

He is still looking for his first big league homer and RBI. But Adley Rutschman now has his first three-hit game, and it came during Saturday’s 6-4 win over Kansas City. It helped to give the Orioles a much-needed victory and a chance to split the four-game series with a win this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

Rutschman began the game batting .153/.231/.220/.451. Despite that, the Orioles were simply not worried yet about baseball’s top-rated prospect. They knew how common it has always been for big-name prospects to struggle at the outset of their big league careers. Some O’s fans can remember how Earl Weaver once stuck with Cal Ripken Jr. when he was batting .117 in early May of 1982. Ripken ended that year as the American League Rookie of the Year and ended the next catching the final out of a World Series win.

But more than that, the Orioles knew the player and his makeup. It is off-the-charts good, always has been, and they simply knew Rutschman could handle some struggles. It would not beat him or overwhelm him. When Rutschman smoked a double at 100 mph in the eighth inning on Friday night, maybe that well-struck ball would be a turning point for him, some in the clubhouse and dugout might have thought.

That could prove to be exactly right.

On Saturday, Rutschman lined out in the second inning, and that ball was struck at 106.2 mph. His double in the fourth was hit at 95.3 mph, a sixth-inning single at 110.0 and a double in the eighth at 108.0. Not a bloop or flare among them.

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O's game blog: Tyler Wells faces Kansas City as series continues

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The Orioles have lost the first two games of this road trip and now will need to win the next two just to split this series with the Royals before they head to Toronto.

The Orioles (24-35) have fallen a season-high 11 games under the .500 mark with 7-5 and 8-1 losses at Kauffman Stadium. Their starting pitchers gave up 13 runs and 18 hits in 9 2/3 combined innings the past two nights. O’s starting pitchers have gone nine straight games without a quality start with an ERA of 7.78 in that span. And Baltimore starters have just four quality starts in the past 29 games.

For the year, the O’s team ERA is now up to 4.20 to rank 13th in the American League and their rotation ERA is up to 5.27 to rank 14th. But the bullpen continues to thrive, posting an ERA of 3.07 for the year which is fifth-best in the league. In this series, the O’s bullpen has allowed just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings. And the Baltimore bullpen has an ERA of 1.64 over the last eight games.

The Orioles have lost three of their last four and five of their last seven games. The O’s current .407 win percentage projects to a final record of 66-96. The Orioles are 15-15 at home but just 9-20 in road games.

Kansas City (20-37) has won three straight for just the second time this season and the first time since April 16-20, going 12-32 in 44 games in-between. The Royals recorded eight extra-base hits Friday, which is their most in a single game since collecting eight on April 3, 2021 versus the Rangers. They have recorded 19 extra-base hits in their last three games (11 doubles, three triples and five home runs) after recording none in their previous two games.

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A fast start for the dynamic duo with Norfolk

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On the second pitch he saw at the Triple-A level on Wednesday night, Orioles top 100 infield prospect Gunnar Henderson smoked a homer to right field. It came off left-hander Ethan Small, the Brewers' No. 7 prospect who has pitched in the big leagues this year and has a 2.41 ERA at Triple-A. So yeah, nice debut.

The same night the player that moved to Triple-A with him, Jordan Westburg, had two hits, two RBIs and a double. While Henderson’s first Triple-A homer came on his second pitch at that level, Westburg waited for his second game to hit one for Norfolk. So, also nice debut.

The Orioles have to be delighted to see those highly ranked players moving up and hitting right away. No slumps at the moment for Henderson, who has an OPS of 1.035 this year heading into last night, or Westburg, who is at .856.

What made this week the right time for the Orioles to move up the dynamic duo?

“They both had played very well in Bowie and had amassed enough plate appearances for us to feel it was enough of a signal that they needed a greater challenge," Orioles director of players development Matt Blood told me this week. "It’s nice that they were able to move together, but that was more happenstance that they were playing that well. And all indicators were pointing to it’s time for a promotion."

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O's game blog: Looking for a win in Kansas City

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In the opener of an eight-game road trip on Thursday night at Kansas City, the Orioles made up a three-run deficit, but when they fell behind a second time, they could not catch up. They lost 7-5 at Kansas City. The Royals host the second of a four-game set tonight at Kauffman Stadium.

The Orioles (24-34) are now 9-19 in road games. Their offense has now scored 107 runs the last 20 games and 205 over the past 46 games. This is all since the Baltimore offense scored just 24 runs in the season’s first 12 games.

Ryan Mountcastle’s two-run double to center in the O’s fifth tied the game at 4-4. He bashed the ball 107 mph off the bat off K.C. starter, lefty Kris Bubic. This marked Mountcastle’s third consecutive game with an extra-base hit and an RBI, and each of his last five hits have gone for extra bases. This after just 10 of his first 41 hits went for extra bases (24.4 percent) to begin the season.

O’s center fielder Cedric Mullins went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. That included an RBI two-bagger in the eighth inning. Six of Mullins' last seven hits have gone for extra bases over his last nine games.

The Orioles are now 5-9 (.357) versus the American League Central - including 2-2 against Kansas City - but are 19-25 (.432) versus all other divisions. They did not homer Thursday after hitting nine longballs in their previous three games, falling to 9-19 when they don’t homer. They’re 15-15 when they do. They fell to 11-3 when recording at least 10 hits this season, and two of those three losses have come versus the Royals. 

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