O's game blog: Birds are 4-3 in rubber match games in 2023

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The Orioles and New York Yankees have split two games in this series and play the third and rubber match game tonight in the Bronx. For the Orioles, it’s the end of a six-game AL East road trip where they have gone 3-0 at Toronto and 1-1 in New York.

The Orioles lost two of their first three series this year but they have gone 10-1-1 in series play since, losing only to Atlanta and splitting four with the Los Angeles Angels. They are 3-0-1 in their past four series and 3-2 in AL East series, winning their last three.

The Birds are 10-7 on the year in AL East games and are 8-3 in their past 11 division games.

They are 4-3 this season in rubber match games, which breaks down this way:

* Lost 9-5 at Boston

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A few notes on one stunning inning and the O's 19th comeback win of 2023


Start spreading the news – the Orioles scored eight runs in the seventh inning to stun the Yankees in the Bronx. The night before they had a 4-0 lead and lost. On this night they trailed by four in the seventh and won.

The eight-run inning was their most in any inning this year, topping the seven in the seventh on May 5 at Atlanta. It is their most in an inning since scoring nine in the eighth inning on Sept, 8, 2021 versus Kansas City. And this was their most runs in any inning in a road game since scoring nine in the seventh inning on April 4, 2016, at Texas.

According to Elias, the Sports Bureau, not the executive vice president, this was tied for the most runs scored in a single inning at the current or original Yankee Stadium in Baltimore team history. They also got eight in the third inning on June 5, 1989.

At 32-17, the Orioles remain three games behind Tampa Bay for the AL East lead, but they also moved back to three games ahead of the Yankees for second in the division.

The Orioles are now 4-12 when trailing after six innings.

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O's game blog: Looking to bounce back in New York

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A New York Yankees team that is playing good baseball right now produced a come-from-behind win last night, beating the Orioles 6-5 in 10 innings in the series opener at Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles are now 13-3 in series-opening games. They actually did not lose either of the first two series where they lost the first game. Tampa Bay beat the Orioles 3-0 May 8 in Baltimore in the series opener, but the Orioles took the series, winning the next two games. They also lost the opener 9-5 on May 15 to the Los Angeles Angeles, but won the next two games of that set and split a four-game series.

The Yankees (30-20) have won seven of their last eight games, nine of their last 11 games and 12 of the last 15 games. Tuesday’s victory marked their fourth walk-off win this season (also 4/19 vs. Los Angeles-AL, 4/22 vs. Toronto and 5/3 vs. Cleveland). They improved to 4-2 in extra-inning games, and each of their last three wins have been come-from-behind wins.

They have won a season-high five straight games to mark their longest winning streak since a seven-game run from Sept. 18-25, 2022. New York is a season-high 10 games over .500. And, at 15-5 (.750) over their last 20 games (since 5/2), the Yankees hold the best record in the majors in that span.

The Orioles (31-17) remain three games behind Tampa Bay for first-place in the American League East. Overall, they have won three of their past four, five of seven, nine of 13, 14 of 22 and 22 of the last 32 games. They are 16-9 on the road and 9-7 in games within the AL East.

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This time O's could not pull it out in extra innings


The third straight extra-innings game was not the charm for the Orioles. And on a night when they pitched Aaron Judge well and he was 0-for-3, right-handed closer Félix Bautista made one poor pitch in the last of the ninth.

Two outs from another impressive win, the Orioles did not get them, losing 6-5 in 10 innings to the Yankees. This time there was no extra innings magic.

This created some frustration around Birdland no doubt as O's fans like to beat the Yankees just about as much as any club and nothing is more frustrating than seeing Judge homer against Baltimore.

The homer in the ninth was his 14th of this season and his eighth in the past nine games. It was his 38th in 91 career games versus O's pitching.

They could have just walked him, right?

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O's game blog: O's are 7-2 in last nine AL East games as Yankees series begins

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The Orioles have won three straight American League East series, going 7-2 against Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto. That mark will get challenged tonight as they open a three-game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees. New York has been playing well lately, and has the best record in the majors since May 2.

The Yankees start right-hander Gerrit Cole (5-0, 2.01 ERA) tonight with lefty Nestor Cortes (4-2, 5.21) on tap tomorrow, so a real challenge is at hand for the surging Orioles.

But the Birds (31-16), who are three games behind Tampa Bay for both the best record in the majors and for first in the AL East, are coming off their impressive three-game sweep of Toronto. Playing in a ballpark where they went 0-10 in 2018, they swept that three-game series, outscoring the Blue Jays 20-10 over 30 innings of baseball in downtown Toronto.

On the year, the Orioles have the second-best record when AL East teams play each other:

.611 – Tampa Bay (11-7)

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There may not be a logical reason for it, but O's have been great in series openers

mountcastle homers in texas

It is a question that is hard to answer: What makes the 2023 Orioles so good in series-opening games?

As they get ready for their latest series-opener tonight – against the New York Yankees in the Bronx – the O’s are 13-2 in series opening games this season, tied for the best mark in the majors and they are 8-0 in such games on the road. The latest win was by 6-2 Friday at Toronto, and you can’t sweep a series without getting the first one and they did. Yet again.

According to Stats Perform, the team tied with the Orioles for best series-opening record won't shock you - the Rays. (Through Sunday's games)

Orioles, 13-2 (.867)
Tampa Bay, 13-2 (.867)
Atlanta, 12-3 (.800)
Chicago Cubs, 10-5 (.667)
Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-5 (.667)

O’s manager Brandon Hyde provided this answer over the weekend about the club’s success in series openers.

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O's entire roster, including reserves, came up big in Toronto weekend sweep


TORONTO – It was not that long ago, during the 2018 season, that the Orioles went 0-10 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Things have changed in Birdland and this trip in produced a three-game sweep over 30 innings of baseball by a 20-10 score.

The Blue Jays (25-22) are now six games behind the Orioles in the standings, look very beatable and are suddenly a last-place team. But the Orioles did some things to make them look that way and Toronto is now 1-10 in its last 11 AL East games.

The Orioles are heading in a different direction. Since they lost two of three at Atlanta, the Birds are 9-4 with four straight series wins. Counting the Atlanta series they are 10-6 (.625) in this stretch against winning clubs that continues tomorrow in the Bronx. A team playing .625 ball over the full year would win 101 games.

No longer can anyone say the O’s have built their record against a weak schedule. The questions about “are the Orioles for real” are beginning to be replaced by “how good can these guys be?”

To build a roster that can win like this the Orioles have plenty of strengths and this weekend their bench looked like it qualifies as one. Ryan O’Hearn produced the massive three-run homer Saturday and Terrin Vavra’s pinch-hit two-run single helped key their five-run 11th inning on Sunday.

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A sweep at Rogers Centre: O's stun Jays with five in the 11th, sweep series (updated)

A sweep at Rogers Centre: O's stun Jays with five in the 11th, sweep series (updated)

TORONTO – The Orioles got a weekend’s worth of solid outings from their starting rotation and right-hander Dean Kremer joined the party today at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. But with a couple of key relievers not expected to pitch today, could the O’s bullpen hold a late lead without Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista?

They took a 2-1 lead to the last of the seventh, and after many missed chances earlier, Toronto did tie it up as reliever Mychal Givens made his season debut. He issued a leadoff walk and a bloop single followed. He would minimize the damage, but with one down, Matt Chapman's sac fly tied the game 2-2.

This game would go extra innings for the second day in a row in this series and the 2023 Orioles pulled out another one. With one amazing half inning. 

Each team scored in the tenth and then the Orioles plated five runs in the top of the 11th to record an impressive 8-3 win and a series sweep. They won on a day they could not use their entire bullpen and on a day they could not hold two one-run leads. 

The Orioles (31-16) recorded their first three-game sweep at Toronto since doing that April 22-24, 2005.

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O's game blog: Looking for a sweep at Rogers Centre

o'hearn @ TOR

TORONTO – The Orioles six-game AL East road trip is off to a great start. They have posted 6-2 and 6-5 wins in 10 innings at Toronto and they can sweep this series this afternoon at Rogers Centre.

In the 2018 season, the Orioles went 0-10 at Rogers Centre and that was not even against a winning Toronto team. While the Orioles went 47-115 that year, Toronto was 73-89.

This has just been a tough place for the Orioles to win over the years and today Baltimore (30-16) begins to play five games ahead of Toronto (25-21) in the standings.

The O’s win Saturday was another comeback win as Ryan O’Hearn’s three-run homer in the eighth tied the game at 5-5 and Félix Bautista fanned five over the last two innings to get the win. Baltimore starter Grayson Rodriguez allowed two runs and four hits over five innings. And O’s starters have allowed nine hits and three runs in 12 innings this series. The O’s offense has scored 12 runs, hitting five homers this weekend.

The Orioles did not pick up their 30th win until Game 68 last year on June 19 when the club was 30-38.

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Mychal Givens on rejoining O's roster and Hyde on Givens

Mychal Givens on rejoining O's roster and Hyde on Givens

TORONTO – Reliever Mychal Givens rejoined the O’s roster today, activated off the 15-day injured list. He pitched recently in the minors on a rehab assignment. Before that, his last outing was March 16 in spring training.

On March 30 he was placed on the IL with left knee inflammation.

Givens said his knee responded fine during his six rehab games with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

“It was an adjustment, but each time going out there it was getting better and that was the progress with help of the training staff. It is good now,” he said.

He pitched in five Bowie games and one for Norfolk, going 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA. In 5 2/3 he allowed two hits and four runs (three earned) with three walks and five strikeouts. He recorded a 0.88 WHIP and .105 batting average against.

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O's activate Mychal Givens for series finale, plus today's lineup

Mychal Givens smile white

TORONTO - The Orioles are getting a reinforcement today for their heavily-used bullpen as right-hander Mychal Givens has been activated as the Orioles try to sweep Toronto today at Rogers Centre. Givens has not pitched in an O's game since March 16 in spring training.

But today he comes off the 15-day injured list - he's been out with left knee inflammation. To make roster room lefty Cole Irvin was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk. Recalled Tuesday from the Tides, Irvin pitched just once since his return to the club and that was in yesterday's 6-5 Orioles win in 10 innings. 

He faced two batters in the seventh inning, allowing an inherited run on an RBI single to Alejandro Kirk and he got a popout to the infield from Matt Chapman. He threw just seven pitches.

With Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista having pitched in both games of this series and very likely not available today, the O's are short in the bullpen today and enter Givens to provide a lift.

Orginailly drafted by the Orioles as a high school shortstop out of Tampa, Fla. in the second round in 2009, he was later converted to pitcher. The O's traded him on Aug. 30, 2020 to Colorado in a deal that brought the club Terrin Vavra, Tyler Nevin and a player to be named later that became minor league outfielder Mishael Deson.

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Adley Rutschman arrived in the majors a year ago today, plus more notes on Saturday win

Rutschman rounding bases whites

TORONTO – Perhaps it is fitting that on the one-year anniversary of catcher Adley Rutschman's arrival in the majors, the Orioles have a chance to sweep the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The day they selected him No. 1 overall in the 2019 MLB Draft - Mike Elias' first O's draft pick - greatness was predicted. Pretty much expected. 

Rutschman has delivered a lot to this team and its fanbase and is one of many big reasons teams like Toronto now realize this is not close to those 115-loss Orioles anymore. 

On May 21, 2022 he was called up by the Orioles and played in his first major league game. Since that day, the O's, already trending up as a team when he got there, have trended up even more.

They are a winning team, a contending team and a team that has the second-best record in all of MLB. Not bad for a club which did in fact lose 115 in 2018 and 110 in 2021.

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What a win: Orioles come back to beat Toronto, 6-5 in 10 innings (updated)


TORONTO – In a game between two struggling right-handed starting pitchers – one coming off a tremendous 2022 season – of course runs were hard to come by for much of today at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

But a few swings proved big, and Toronto catcher Danny Jansen had one. His line drive solo homer to left in the last of the sixth broke a 2-2 tie and provided Toronto a 3-2 lead that would grow to 5-2.

But the Orioles would get a massive home run of their own. Ryan O'Hearn's three-run blast to right-center in the eighth off closer Jordan Romano tied this game 5-5 on one swing. The Orioles were 1-for-8 in the game with runners in scoring position until O'Hearn connected.

Romano had allowed just one homer in 18 innings this season, and four over 64 innings in 2022.

O'Hearn, who singled in a run in the second, hit a low-middle 2-2 slider 406 feet to tie the game with his second O's homer.  

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O's game blog: Grayson Rodriguez faces Toronto

rodriguez debut in texas

TORONTO – When the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the New York Yankees 4-2 on Thursday, they had dropped three of four games in that series and it was their first home series loss of the year. They were 5-0 in home series until playing New York. After Friday’s loss to the Orioles, should Baltimore win one of the next two this weekend, the Blue Jays will have another home series loss.

In addition to that, Toronto swept the Atlanta Braves last weekend and Pittsburgh the weekend before that. Toronto has won each of its last 10 series that began on a Friday, dating to last September. That is the longest such streak in team history, surpassing nine straight weekend series wins from August 2021 to May 2022.

But behind Kyle Gibson’s strong seven-inning outing and homers from Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Adam Frazier, the Orioles beat Toronto 6-2 last night to win another series-opening game.

The Birds are now 13-2 in series openers, including an 8-0 mark in road openers.

The Orioles went 9-10 against Toronto last year and 5-5 at Rogers Centre. They have lost the season series every year since 2018 to Toronto, going 30-57 in that span.

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Pregame notes from Toronto on Rodriguez's start, Givens, Frazier and more

Ramon Urias disappointed orange home

TORONTO – Saying he got to see a “master class” at work last night, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hopes right-hander Grayson Rodriguez can pick up today where Kyle Gibson left off Friday. Gibson held Toronto to one run and five hits over seven innings as the Orioles beat the Blue Jays 6-2 to take the series opener.

Now they can win this series today or tomorrow and take another series from an American League East opponent. The Birds are 7-6 in division games this season and 5-2 in their past seven division games, winning series against Boston and Tampa Bay.

Rodriguez is next up to face a strong Toronto lineup, but in two of his last three starts he has allowed six and eight runs. In between those two was his only career start against an AL East team, and he held Tampa Bay to two runs over 5 2/3 innings. So the Orioles know the talent is in there for the rookie, who, despite a 6.57 ERA for the year, has four starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer.

“Well, he got a master class last night,” Hyde said today when asked about Rodriguez pitching today. “Sure he was paying attention to that. A really tough lineup to pitch to, and Grayson is going to go through this. All the lineups he is facing for the first time. He’s getting to know the league and he’s doing a good job preparing. Seen him prepare a lot these last few days for this start today, and he got a great example last night of a really competitive outing.

“Hoping Grayson works ahead in the count and tries to match what Kyle did yesterday.”

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Lineups for Game 2 against Toronto

frazier hr @WAS

TORONTO - After yet another series-opening victory the Orioles today have a chance to win yet another series if they can beat the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of the weekend set.

The Orioles have been hitting more homers lately, and added three more in Friday's 6-2 win as Ryan Mountcastle hit a three-run shot, Anthony Santander a solo and Adam Frazier a two-run home run. The Birds have hit 11 homers in the last five games. With 56 on the year as a team, they rank seventh in the American League in home runs.

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (2-1, 6.57 ERA) will make his ninth start today, coming off an outing Monday when he allowed nine hits and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings versus the Los Angeles Angels. Over his past three starts, he has an ERA of 11.37, allowing six, two and eight runs. But on a positive note, the Orioles are 6-2 in his starts this year, a better winning percentage than the team's overall win percentage of .644, which is second-best in the major leagues.

The Orioles would be in first place today in five of the six divisions in Major League Baseball.

Right-hander Alek Manoah (1-4, 5.40 ERA) pitches for Toronto. Last season he finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting, going 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA. But this year he has an ERA of 6.59 his past three starts and has allowed 1.800 WHIP with a 1.6 homer rate.

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Kyle Gibson was indeed a tone setter in Toronto series opener (plus other O's notes)

gibson stares black

TORONTO – They recently took two of three at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. And Friday as the Orioles started their first stretch of the year playing AL East opponents in back-to-back series, they got off to a winning start thanks to a pitcher that enjoys being a tone setter.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson, at 35 the oldest player on the club, has said he enjoys the challenge of pitching series-opening games. He has now done this five times this season and the Orioles are 4-1 in those games and they were shut out the only time they didn’t win.

But what a tone that was set last night. Gibson went seven innings at Rogers Centre allowing one run as the Orioles won 6-2 to improve to 13-2 in series openers and 8-0 in such games on the road.

Said manager Brandon Hyde: “Gibson definitely pitched like an ace tonight, there’s no doubt. This is such a tough environment to pitch in. A really good hitter’s ballpark against a powerhouse offensive team. For Kyle to go seven innings against them in their home ballpark, that is next level.”

The Orioles pitching has been stepping up the last few weeks against some good teams with a staff ERA of 3.04 the past 14 games and a rotation ERA of 3.29 in that span, allowing three runs or less nine times. The Orioles now have 13 quality starts and have gone 12-1 in those games.

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Ryan Mountcastle and Kyle Gibson co-star as O's take Toronto series opener (updated)


TORONTO – Ryan Mountcastle likes to hit against Toronto Blue Jays pitching, he likes to hit at Rogers Centre and he likes to hit against Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi.

The Orioles turned that trifecta and a huge outing from right-hander Kyle Gibson into another series-opening win tonight as Mountcastle hit a three-run homer to trigger a 6-2 win over Toronto. It was a big victory for the Orioles (29-16) who began a six-game American League East road trip to Toronto and New York.

The Orioles won for the seventh time in 10 games. Over longer stretches, they have won 20 of 29 and 25 of 36 games. They are now 7-6 in AL East games and 13-2 in series-opening games. They are 8-0 when they open a series on the road.

Mountcastle again tormented Kikuchi. He mashed his three-run homer to center in the third inning, scoring Joey Ortiz, who singled, and Adley Rutschman, who walked. Mountcastle drilled a low and in 1-1 fastball that was thrown 96 mph and hit out at 106, and it went 419 feet for his 10th homer. It was a huge swing early in this game for Mountcastle, who now has 15 homers and 36 RBIs in 43 career games versus Toronto.

Last season, Mountcastle went 4-for-6 against Kikuchi with a double and three homers. That blast tonight made him 5-for-10 in his career against the Toronto lefty. It was Mountcastle’s 70th career big league homer and his sixth in 16 career games at Rogers Centre.

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O's game blog: The road trip begins with Toronto series opener

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TORONTO – The Orioles have played just one of their past six series against an American League East team, but starting tonight, for the first time this year they will play back-to-back series against division opponents. Tonight they play the first of a weekend series in Toronto at Rogers Centre. They'll then head to New York for a series next week at Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles (28-16) are 3 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay for first in the AL East. They just completed a 6-4 homestand with Thursday’s 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. The Orioles went 2-1 versus Tampa Bay, 2-1 against Pittsburgh and 2-2 versus the Angels during the homestand. They are now 9-7 in May and 10-3-1 in 14 series for the year.

The Orioles went 6-4 on their last road trip, which took them to Detroit, Kansas City and Atlanta. They are 13-8 on the road for the season and are 5-2 in road series. The Orioles are 12-2 in 2023 in series-opening games, going 7-0 in road series openers.

Serving as the designated hitter on Thursday, Adley Rutschman launched his seventh homer of the season with a 424-foot blast in the seventh inning to give the O’s a 5-4 lead. It marked his second career go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later, joining a solo walk-off homer on April 13 vs. Oakland. Rutschman has hit safely in eight straight starts since May 9, slashing .357/.471/.750 (10-for-28) in those games.

O’s right fielder Anthony Santander tied the game at three with a two-run blast in the fifth inning, his seventh longball of the year. He has homered six times in his last 19 games after homering just once in his first 22. Santander is batting .339/.406/.645 (21-for-62) in May and has hit safely in 13 of 16 games, compared to .213/.280/.362 (20-for-94) in March/April.

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Hyde on the lineup, Mullins on AL East games as Toronto series begins

mullins sprints grey

TORONTO – No doubt tonight’s Orioles lineup is matchup-based as the club tonight faces Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi (5-0, 3.89 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series at Toronto. It starts an important six-game road trip for the Orioles against the Blue Jays and Yankees.

In facing Kikuchi, manager Brandon Hyde had definite reasons for putting Cedric Mullins back atop the order, even with a left-on-left matchup, and for inserting Joey Ortiz at third base.

Ortiz has played 30 big league innings at second base and 18 at shortstop, but none at third, where he will play tonight. He has made eight minor league starts at the hot corner: four in 2021, two in 2022 and two this year with Triple-A Norfolk.

“Well, he got a little bit of time there at Norfolk, played there in college, which is way different then playing there (now)," Hyde said. "I love his defense. I think he can play anywhere on the field, honestly, and he feels comfortable over there. Adding a right-handed bat against Kikuchi. And want (Adam) Frazier in there, and it’s kind of where it fit.”

The Orioles hit Kikuchi well last year, when he went 2-3 with an 8.10 ERA against them and allowed seven homers in 16 2/3 innings with an OPS against of 1.078. Cedric Mullins went 2-for-7 with a triple against Kikuchi in 2022, and has a batting average of .298 and a .953 OPS versus southpaws this year.

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