The Orioles didn’t need to change back into their regular uniforms. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer didn’t need to order a pancake for breakfast this morning in the press dining room before joining the MASN broadcast.
One was scheduled, the other spontaneous.
Purely coincidence that Kyle Bradish struck out the side in the top of the first inning and the Orioles scored twice in the bottom half, taking a lead they would protect throughout the game. And how Bradish escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the second, retired 11 batters in a row and held the Rangers to one run in 6 2/3.
Yennier Cano surrendered a two-out, game-tying double to Corey Seager in the eighth, but the Orioles offered an immediate response with the first two batters reaching against Cole Ragans and Austin Hays delivering an RBI single in a 3-2 victory over the Rangers before an announced crowd of 25,124 at Camden Yards.
Félix Bautista struck out the side and recorded his 13th save, and the Orioles improved to 34-19, recapturing the second-best record in baseball. They still haven't been swept.
The Rays defeated the Dodgers 11-10, keeping the Orioles four games behind them in the division.
"I love the fact that we don't feel like we're ever out of a game when we're down, and you can't really tell if we won or lost in our clubhouse, and I think that's a great attribute," said manager Brandon Hyde. "For the guys who have been here through some tough years, I think they're really excited to play, and they come back from losses before and they've just got a great way about them.
"I just like the makeup of our club."
The black City Connect uniforms are hung in lockers until June 9, following a road trip to San Francisco and Milwaukee. They weren’t responsible for the back-to-back losses. No need to retire the attire.
Palmer earned the nickname “Cakes” for eating a stack with butter and syrup before his starts, a ritual that didn’t carry over to his broadcasting career but made an appearance earlier today. Mostly in a joking manner, but also, what’s the harm besides the carbs?
Bradish tied his season high at 6 2/3 innings and registered his third quality start in the last four outings. Hyde lifted him at 85 pitches with two outs in the seventh after Josh Jung’s single. Jonah Heim doubled off Cano to put two runners in scoring position, but Travis Jankowski struck out on the fourth consecutive changeup.
"Gave my team a chance to win and it was a good bounce back from the last outing," said Bradish, the first Orioles pitcher to strike out the first three batters in a game since Tommy Milone on Aug. 19, 2020 against Toronto.
"Fortunately for me today, they hit some balls at guys and we made some good plays out there."
Robbie Grossman led off the eighth with a single, Cano retired the next two batters and Corey Seager pulled a sinker into left-center field for a 2-2 tie. The third time in five appearances that the Baltimore Straddler has allowed a run.
Cedric Mullins drew a seven-pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the eighth and raced to third base on Adley Rutschman’s single. Joe Barlow replaced Ragans, and Hays lined a single into center field to break the tie.
Hays went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs and is batting .322 with an .887 OPS.
"He is playing some great baseball right now, really good at-bats," Hyde said. "Hit one off the wall early in the game and like the way he's using the whole field right now. The way he plays defense is special. And he's taking great at-bats for us."
"I just really like my approach at the plate right now," Hays said. "I like the plans that I'm building before the game with our hitting coaches. Just being really consistent and sticking to what we're planning before the game and carrying it out throughout the game. I'm staying solid with that right now day to day."
Because it’s never easy, the Orioles didn’t break open the game. The next three batters were retired to strand two runners.
A typical nail-biter in Baltimore, and when they go on the road. They improved to 10-6 in one-run games.
"I think it just shows how tough our bullpen is," Hays said. "We haven't been blowing teams out, we're having to use our guys in the 'pen, so I think it just shows how mentally and physically strong they are to be able to come in night in and night out and keep picking us up until we can get things going and have some bigger games and give some guys a rest."
The swift response to adversity spoke volumes about their character.
"We feel like we have a chance to win every game, we're never out of it," Hays said. "We know at any point we can chip away and really get a rally going. It was no different today. We knew we had a shot the whole game."
Danny Coulombe faced one batter after replacing Cano and earned the win. Given a do-over, Hyde would have summoned Coulombe to face Seager.
"I had a lot of options there, and it didn't work out, and that's why I'm kicking myself," Hyde said. "I was trusting a guy who has hardly given up a run. I was hoping a bunch of changeups down and get a rollover or a walk, and then make a decision with Coulombe, but when things don't work out, I beat myself up."
The Orioles’ luck was rotten yesterday, with numerous line drives resulting in outs. It spun the other way in the first, when Seager lost Mullins’ popup in the sun for a gift hit.
Rutschman and Hays singled for a 1-0 lead. Anthony Santander walked, and Ryan Mountcastle flied to deep right field to score Rutschman.
Ramón Urías grounded into a double play to prevent further damage against emergency starter Cody Bradford, pressed into service with Dane Dunning on the paternity list.
Baseball America ranks Bradford as the No. 22 prospect in the Rangers’ system and MLB Pipeline has him 26th. His major league debut was a dud, with six runs allowed against the Braves in five innings. The second chance was less arduous.
Bradford completed five innings, with the only scoring against him in the first. Hays tripled with two outs in the third on a ball that hit the top of the left field wall, 391 feet a little too short for a home run, but Santander struck out. Jorge Mateo singled with one out in the fifth, didn’t attempt a steal, and was stranded at first base.
"I thought our offensive approach in that first inning was outstanding, unbelievable, the way we hit the ball the other way and took really good at-bats, and then we just went silent," Hyde said. "When you do that against teams like that, it's really, really hard to do. They're eventually going to score and get back in the game, more than likely."
Bradish used 14 pitches to get three strikeouts in the first inning, twice with his slider and once with his curveball, but threw 23 in the second. Adolis García led off with a single and Jung walked, but Heim grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and Jankowski struck out on a curveball.
The streak of retired batters began with Heim’s double play. Bradish threw nine pitches in the third, only five in the fourth and nine in the fifth to leave him at 60 for the game.
"I would love to have that 0-2 breaking ball back to (Marcus) Semien," Hyde said, "but besides that, great life to his fastball, good curveball today. That is an extremely tough lineup to pitch against, a lot of really good left-handed hitters in a park which is made for left-handed hitters, and I thought he did a great job of staying off the barrel and keeping guys off balance."
Grossman led off the sixth with a single and scored with one out on Semien’s double to left-center, the ball striking the wall at the 90-degree angle beside the bullpen. Seager lined to Mateo with Semien breaking for third base, and the Orioles were on the right side of an easy double play.
They finished on the right side of the score.
A 15-10 record in May guarantees a winning month.
"We played really well against tough competition," Hays said. "It proves to ourselves, if we didn't already know it, that we can play with anybody in this league and we have a chance to win when we show up to the ballpark, night in and night out. And I think it only builds more confidence going through that part of the schedule and playing well."