What a crazy way to win a crazy game.
A walk-off hit by pitch in the last of the 10th. That is how the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 7-6 today to start a series and week-long homestand. This after they fell behind in the top of the ninth and had to score in the home half to tie it up.
Lefty Matt Moore came on for Texas in the 10th with placed runner Austin Hays on second base. He then muffed a bunt attempt by Rougned Odor that was scored a hit to put runners on the corners, and then walked Ramón Urías intentionally to load the bases with no outs. Moore’s next pitch hit shortstop Jorge Mateo near the left knee and he limped toward first base as the game ended in bizarre fashion.
A walk-off hit by pitch giving the Orioles a record of 37-44 at the midpoint of their year with their sixth walk-off win of 2022. They were 27-54 at this point in the 2021 season.
An inning earlier we saw what was likely Adley Rutschman's biggest hit as an Oriole and it forced extra innings. Down to their last out in the ninth down by one, Rutschman lined a double off the right field wall to tie Texas 6-6 and force a 10th inning. Rutschman lined a 96 mph fastball from closer Joe Barlow for the tie. He began today 0-for-15 his previous four games.
But the ninth inning has suddenly become a treacherous place for Orioles pitchers to go, specifically closer Jorge López.
After battling from three runs down today to tie Texas 5-5, the suddenly struggling reliever took the mound looking to hold the tie. But he gave up another ninth-inning homer as Texas took the lead 6-5.
López, who suffered two blown saves and losses on Friday and Saturday in the ninth at Minnesota, took the mound today to face Texas' No. 2-3-4 hitters in the ninth. But second baseman Marcus Semien drove a two-seamer down the left field line for the go-ahead homer. Semien hit No. 10 on a 3-1 fastball at 96 mph to break the 5-5 tie with a 419-foot blast.
López allowed four runs and two homers over the weekend, getting just one out over the two games. So he has now allowed seven hits and five runs on three homers over his past three games and 1 1/3 innings. His ERA has jumped from 0.73 to 1.88.
Before the Minnesota series, López had not allowed a homer all year and the Orioles were 29-0 when leading after eight innings. But Rutschman's clutch double set the stage for the crazy 10th where they won it.
The Orioles produced an early lead today that didn’t get away in the late innings, but rather over the middle innings despite having a pitcher that has been close to perfect in recent starts.
Right-hander Dean Kremer took the mound today at Camden Yards with a 2-1 record and 1.27 ERA in five starts. He had not allowed a run over his past three games, covering 18 2/3 innings. So he began the day with a career-high 18 2/3 scoreless run that was the fifth-longest in the majors.
He had given up four earned runs all year and three of those came in his first big league inning this season on June 5 versus Cleveland. From the second inning on that day coming into this outing he had allowed one earned run over his past 27 innings.
So that was a special run of pitching, and today he didn’t allow a run through four. But it unraveled on him and the Orioles when Texas broke through for five in the fifth on a beautiful Fourth of July Baltimore afternoon.
Today, Kremer was not dominating early on but he was putting up zeroes. He had at least one runner every inning and needed to throw 71 pitches to get through four, at which point the O's led 2-0.
And the Texas fifth began harmlessly enough with a strikeout. But the top of the order was up for a third look at the right-hander, and Josh H. Smith, Semien and Corey Seager all singled to lead them off. A sac fly by Adolis García ended his scoreless run at 22 2/3 innings. Nathaniel Lowe followed with an RBI single at 105 mph and it was a 2-2 game.
Then Mitch Garver put the hammer down on this inning with a three-run blast to left, hit 413 feet and 105 mph off the bat, and gave the Rangers a 5-2 lead. It was No. 9 on a 1-0 fastball.
Kremer allowed eight hits and five runs over 4 2/3 innings on 92 pitches with two walks and four strikeouts. In allowing five runs today, it equalled his total runs allowed in five starts this year over 28 innings coming into this game.
Down 5-2, the Orioles got a Cedric Mullins solo homer in the fifth to trail 5-3 on No. 7 for Mullins. Two runs would score on a very costly Texas error an inning later to tie the game 5-5. Odor doubled, sending Rutschman, who walked, to third. They both scored when first baseman Lowe had a grounder scoot under his glove and it was a new game at 5-5.
The Orioles, who had scored just 11 runs on 27 hits in the last five games, scored early today in the last of the second on a Jonathan Araúz RBI single. Rutschman reached on a leadoff single with one out. Rutschman moved to second when Hays was hit by a pitch. Araúz poked a single to right to score him, and then Araúz was cut down between first and second to end that inning.
The Orioles doubled their lead to 2-0 in the home third. Mateo reached on a catcher’s interference call that was confirmed after the O’s bench asked for a video replay. When Mullins doubled into the right-field corner, Mateo slowed rounding third but then barreled home with the second run and RBI No. 31 for Mullins.
So the Orioles had the early lead again today as they had each game at Minnesota, and they have been 24-9 this season when they score first.
Today, they also scored last and it was crazy, and a great way to start a Camden Yards homestand.