Looking at playing three games in about a 24-hour span as Sunday’s doubleheader began at Camden Yards, O’s manager Brandon Hyde was hopeful his starting pitchers could get deep in both games. They did that and more as the O’s split a doubleheader with Kansas City.
Had the defense not let down in Game 1, the Orioles may have swept the Royals. But they settled for a split, winning the second game behind lefty Bruce Zimmermann.
After right-hander Jordan Lyles gave up two earned runs in 7 1/3 in Game 1 in the longest outing by a Baltimore starter on the season, Zimmermann had another strong outing in the second game.
Zimmermann allowed five hits and two runs over six innings, tossing 85 pitches in the 4-2 victory. He is now 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA for the year and the Orioles are 4-2 in his 2022 starts. In four home starts, Zimmermann is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He allowed two earned runs or less for the fifth time and delivered his second quality start.
The two starters ate innings, gave their team big outings and preserved the bullpen for the upcoming road trip.
"That's the No. 1 goal for all of us starters is to have a quality start, go six innings, try to take pressure off the bullpen every single night," Zimmermann said. "Feeling really good about being able to go six innings today, after watching Lyles go (deep). It helps when a team is aggressive, but feeling really good about the length I'm able to provide right now.
"Coming into this second full year, starting to feel really confident with a lot of the things we've been working on and seeing a lot of things come together. At this point it's about staying consistent," Zimmermann said. "The one thing that I really want to do is be able to finish out games a little stronger right now. That's kind of the next step, I feel like."
The Orioles (11-17) had three quality starts this season in the first 26 games, before getting two in one day Sunday at chilly Camden Yards. The rotation’s home ERA dropped to a nifty 2.68. The O’s rotation has produced five quality starts in the last 15 games.
More notes on the Orioles:
* Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle each had four hits in the opener and added another hit in the second game. Combined in the doubleheader they went 10-for-16 with a double, four runs and two RBIs. The duo combined to go 8-for-9 in Game 1 when Hays produced his second career four-hit game and Mountcastle recorded his fourth. Hays is 10-for-18 over his past five games.
* The Orioles improved to 8-7 at home for the season and to 5-4 on this homestand that ends today.
* The Birds are 15-6 at home versus Kansas City since the 2015 season.
* Cedric Mullins had three hits Sunday, extending his hitting streak to eight games, batting .361 (13-for-36) with five doubles, two homers and four RBIs.
No-No in Bowie: Sunday’s minor league action on the Baltimore farm was highlighted by the 11th no-hitter in Double-A Bowie Baysox history, in a seven-inning contest in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
Right-hander Garrett Stallings went the first six innings, allowed two walks and struck out five on 75 pitches. Morgan McSweeney pitched the final inning of Bowie’s 4-0 win over Harrisburg. Stallings improved to 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA. It was the first Baysox no-hitter since Mike Baumann threw a nine-inning no-no, also against Harrisburg, in July of 2019.
Bowie swept the twin bill, winning the nightcap 2-1 on a Joey Ortiz go-ahead solo homer in the sixth. The Baysox are 12-13.
Triple-A Norfolk was shutout, for the second straight day, in losing 4-0 at Nashville. The Tides are 14-16 and have been blanked in four of their past nine games.
Infielder Richie Martin went 3-for-4 for his second three-hit game. In four games in that series, Martin was 7-for-14 with a double and triple. Adley Rutschman went 1-for-3 and in three games with the Tides is 3-for-10 with two walks.
High Single-A Aberdeen swept a doubleheader from Brooklyn to improve to 19-6 for the season. The IronBirds have the best record in the South Atlantic League and the best record in all of High-A ball.
Low Single-A Delmarva lost 7-3 to Columbia to fall to 9-18.