MILWAUKEE – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde wanted better at-bats from his club today. Get in more favorable counts. Improve the pitch selection and decision making. Stop pressing.
Start scoring again.
Kyle Bradish settled down after an unusually rough first inning, and an offense that was dormant for most of the series bolted upright against the Brewers’ bullpen, with Gunnar Henderson’s two-run shot in the eighth keying a 6-3 victory before an announced crowd of 27,318 at American Family Field.
Anthony Santander doubled off Peter Strzelecki with one out in the eighth to score Adley Rutschman. Austin Hays took a disputed third strike, but Henderson carried a first-pitch fastball over the left field fence.
Henderson raised his arm as he approached second base. An entire team was lifted.
"That's what you dream of as a kid is being in those situations and coming through," Henderson said after the Orioles' first win in Milwaukee since 2014. "Just learning how to go through it and how, I guess, go to work against the pitcher in that situation."
Adam Frazier extended the lead in the ninth with a two-run double off Bryse Wilson after Aaron Hicks walked and James McCann laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Félix Bautista recorded his 16th save to top last year’s total.
"We knew it was only a matter of time," Henderson said.
A loss would have sealed the first sweep against the Orioles in a series of two or more games since May 13-15, 2022 in Detroit. The rally improved their record to 38-24 as they boarded a flight home.
Club officials are checking with Major League Baseball and hopeful that the air quality improves and prevents a postponement against the Royals.
"These wins matter," Bradish said. "I know we lost the series, but every win matters now."
Ramón Urías broke out of a slump with a double, home run and single, twice going to the opposite field. The homer off Joel Payamps with two outs in the seventh, on a 96.5 mph fastball, accounted for the Orioles’ third run in their last 19 innings.
They had more in the tank. Enough for a 21st comeback win.
"It just shows that we don't give away any games," Henderson said. "We're going to fight no matter what the score is."
Santander halted an 0-for-25 skid with his double in the eighth, his first hit since homering off the Guardians’ Shane Bieber on May 31. There were signs of a breakthrough, with two line drive outs that had expected batting averages of .640 and .560.
Rutschman had reached on an infield hit, and he raced to second base on Luis Urías’ throwing error. Santander was hitless in 23 at-bats on the trip before pulling a slider to right.
Henderson was next, and the Brewers were doomed.
"Just shows you the power he has," Hyde said. "Doesn't need to try to pull the ball, doesn't need to try to do too much. He's so strong and has got so much leverage that he can take a ball out over the plate and drive it the other way. Another guy that's working his tail off, and frustrated at times. Wants to have success so bad, and a young player, and to see him to that, that was special."
"Just try not to do too much in some situations," said Henderson, who hit a tie-breaking home run in the seventh inning Friday night in San Francisco. "When you try to do too much, especially in the high-leverage situations, it usually doesn't go your way. So, just try to take a deep breath and be in the moment and try not to do too much and just try to get the job done."
Keegan Akin tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. Yennier Cano retired both of his batters to pass a lead to Bautista.
"Going 3-3 on the road feels a lot better than going 2-4," Hyde said. "Especially the way we came back today. There wasn't a whole lot going right there in the first inning for us defensively. Made some mistakes. Then, I thought Bradish settled in and did a great job after that. And our bullpen was absolutely fantastic.
"Got some big hits last third of the game, and the pitching kept it there."
Bradish hadn’t allowed a run in the first this season. Opponents were 2-for-30 with 15 strikeouts against him. But the Brewers sent eight batters to the plate, catching a few breaks along the way.
Willy Adames followed Christian Yelich’s leadoff walk with a grounder past the mound that had a .110 expected batting average. Henderson pulled up, thinking Frazier was making the play, and the ball scooted into center field.
Yelich scored on Rowdy Tellez’s grounder to first, and consecutive singles by William Contreras, Owen Miller and Jon Singleton put two more runs on the board.
Singleton slapped a changeup through the hole between shortstop and third base for a 3-0 lead.
The Brewers led in the first inning in all three games. They were 16-6 when scoring in the opening frame and 28-6 when scoring first until today’s late collapse.
Henderson atoned for the lapse with a tremendous diving stop up the middle and throw to rob Urías in the fourth and keep Bradish rolling along.
Hyde removed Bradish after Contreras’ leadoff double in the sixth. Bradish was charged with three runs and six hits, walking one batter and striking out 10. It was the third 10-plus strikeout game of his career.
Bradish threw 32 pitches in the first inning, but he struck out the side on 15 in the second. Joey Wiemer, who homered twice and had five RBIs last night, swung through a 95.8 mph fastball and the next two batters whiffed on sinkers.
Twelve consecutive batters were retired, with a season-high seventh strikeout closing out the fourth inning. Yelich doubled with one out in the fifth, but Bradish fanned three more batters.
Bryan Baker entered the game after Contreras’ double in the sixth that finished an eight-pitch at-bat and left Bradish at a season-high 98.
"We never talk about stuff as an issue, it's all about being able to command it and not walking guys, not leadoff walks, not two-out walks," Hyde said. "Being able to pitch knees and below and to be able to punch guys out, not have 3-2 counts every hitter. Did a much better job after that first inning."
Half of Bradish’s strikeouts came on his slider, with the sinker accounting for three and the fastball two. His line was complete after Baker stranded Contreras.
"The first inning, I executed pitches well," Bradish said. "There was a few unlucky hits that squeaked through. My mindset was just to go out there and keep it there, similar to what Gibby (Kyle Gibson) did in his outing, two in the first and went scoreless. I was happy to be able to get into the sixth and then let the bullpen handle it.
"I’ve felt like I’ve thrown the ball well for the past month, but just, call it a bounce back, was able to strike out some more guys. Still got to work on putting guys away in four pitches, but yeah, big confidence boost right there."
Colin Rea tossed five shutout innings with three hits and eight strikeouts. He struck out three batters after Hays’ leadoff single in the second, and Rutschman struck out in the third to strand Urías at third base.
Urías was 2-for-25 before his ninth-inning single Wednesday night. In between today’s double and home run was a ground ball to brother Luis.
"I love the way Ramón swung the bat today. That was great to see, a guy that's really been grinding hard to put some at-bats together and has been frustrated," Hyde said.
"A couple adjustments mechanically helped me today," Ramón said. "Seeing the ball much better. Just small adjustments."
Luis grounded to Ramón leading off the seventh. They both started at third base and batted eighth.
Only one was in a good mood afterward.
"We had a couple of tough games, the first two here, Ramón said, "and losing the entire game and bounce back and win the game is good for us and gives us the confidence back to go home and have a good series."
Urías stole third base in the third inning, beating his brothers' tag. Typical of a day when the Orioles got the best of the Brewers.
"I didn't say much," he said, "but for sure I'm going to talk some trash about it."
Note: Former Orioles pitcher Dennis Martinez is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday afternoon’s game against the Royals.