In an effort to get their sixth series sweep and fifth three-game sweep of the year, the O’s sent right-hander Kyle Bradish to the mound today to face the Miami Marlins.
They had to like their chances with Bradish, a pitcher on a roll, who started this day at 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA. Had he enough innings to qualify for league leaders, he would be 10th in the American League in ERA.
And over his past 11 starts since May 12, he was 4-3 with a 2.52 ERA and .589 opponent OPS. Bradish had not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last five starts.
And his strong pitching continued today as the Orioles got him a quick three-run lead on their way to a 5-4 win and a series sweep of the Marlins (53-42), the team with third-best record in the National League.
Trailing 5-0 to the ninth inning, the Marlins scored four runs off Eduard Bazardo and Danny Coulombe. Coulombe did get Luis Arraez to fly to left for the final out and strand the tying run at second to record his first career big league save.
The Marlins rallied for four runs on five hits in the ninth but came up a run short.
The Orioles have now won eight games in a row, a season high and their longest win streak since taking 10 straight last year from July 3-13. The Orioles have outscored their opponents 60-20 during this run. During an earlier seven-game win streak in April, their run differential was a plus-16. It is plus-40 during this eight-game run.
The Orioles also have swept back-to-back series for the first time since the 10-game streak last July, when they took three from Texas and four from the Los Angeles Angels.
Bradish today became the first O's starter to get an out in the eighth inning, throwing an O's season-high 7 1/3 scoreless, allowing just three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Bradish, now 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA, threw exactly 100 pitches, 71 for strikes.
O's starting pitchers are rolling:
* They have seven quality starts the last eight games with a 2.12 ERA
* They have nine quality starts in 12 games with a 2.43 ERA.
* They have 18 quality starts in 30 games with a 3.59 ERA.
Bradish stranded two runners in the third and pitched around a leadoff double in the fourth. He was in control the whole day and threw a gem.
The Orioles jumped out quickly today to lead 3-0 after the first inning. While Bradish rolled through the first on 17 pitches, Miami’s opener, lefty Steven Okert, got just one out today.
Last night Okert pitched a hitless and scoreless 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. Today was very different.
Gunnar Henderson led off with a 107 mph double to center and scored on Adley Rutschman’s double to center for a 1-0 lead. It was Henderson's first extra-base hit off a lefty this season, in his 72nd plate appearance. Rutschman’s 40th RBI came off a ball he hit 103. Just two pitches later, Anthony Santander’s homer to center was a two-run shot for a very fast 3-0 lead.
Santander hit an 0-1 slider that found the middle of the plate for his 17th homer. He had just two homers over his previous 15 games. But he blasted this ball 428 feet for his 100th career home run.
Okert then gave up a single and got a popout, and Marlins manager Skip Schumaker removed him after 18 pitches. Okert's ERA jumped from 2.43 to 3.21.
The Orioles scored twice in the fourth without getting a hit. George Soriano, who had replaced Okert and retired nine in a row, loaded the bases, surrendering a walk and hitting both Colton Cowser and Adam Frazier with pitches. James McCann bounced a ball to short that Joey Wendle misplayed, giving the Orioles a 4-0 lead. Henderson's sac fly made it a 5-0 game.
The Orioles didn't have a hit today between the first and seventh innings, but they did enough to win. They will host the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night with Grayson Rodriguez getting the start.
This was Baltimore’s fifth three-game sweep, following sweeps of Detroit in April, at Toronto in May, versus Kansas City in June and at Minnesota last weekend.
At 57-35, they are a season-best 22 games over the .500 mark.