Hyde and Bautista on the huddle and mound meeting in the ninth

It was quite the huddle on an NFL Sunday.

But it was Orioles manager Brandon Hyde leading the huddle this time, with input from pitcher Félix Bautista and catcher Adley Rutschman and some interpreting help from Ramón Urías and Jesús Aguilar.

This was some meeting of the minds. Bautista, trying to protect a 5-3 lead in the last of the ninth Sunday at Rogers Centre, had just given up a booming RBI double to George Springer that almost went out. That made it 5-4.

Now Springer was on second and there was one big out to get. And the Blue Jays had Vlad Guerrero Jr. coming up and Bo Bichette on deck.

Gulp.

“I just wanted to slow the game down a little bit, honestly,” Hyde said today, talking about yesterday's mound meeting and why he decided to do this one himself and not send out pitching coach Chris Holt. “Kind of reading Félix out there. His face, the disappointment with a two-out walk to (Cavan) Biggio, the near-homer by Springer, the almost-catch by (Cedric) Mullins on top of that. And once again we fall into Guerrero with an open-base situation. Seems like it happens every series against the Blue Jays late in the game.

“I just wanted to slow the game down a little bit for him. The reason we were huddled like that, it was so loud. That stadium gets loud. And two, he had to lean down, so it was natural once he leans down to get everyone together. Just kind of looked the way it did because we were kind of putting our heads together and talking about the situation. I wanted to get Félix’s input, tell him how I felt, and come to an agreement so we don’t have any miscommunication.”

Bautista, who would go on to lock down his 14th save, got Bichette to ground out after he walked Guerrero on a 3-2 pitch.

“It was a bit surprising to see him come out,” Bautista, speaking through interpreter Brandon Quinones, said of the meeting with Hyde. “He just came out and gave me his support and that confidence to keep going and get through that inning. He basically told me he didn’t want Vladdy to beat us in that moment, and he asked me what I wanted to do in that situation. I said I wanted to go after him, I wanted to face him, but let’s try to make him uncomfortable up there at the plate. Let’s see what we do, if we lose him, we lose him and we’ll get the next guy.”

So yep, Bautista wanted to go after Guerrero, keeping in mind Hyde’s instructions to pitch him carefully. What made Bautista want to battle Vladdy?

“Just confidence in myself, knowing that I could get through that situation," he said. "I had confidence that I could get him out. But that’s why I wanted to make sure to pitch him the right way. Tried to make it a difficult at-bat for him.”

After that walk, with the winning run now at first, Bautista made quick work of Bichette, who had gone 10-for-19 in the recent series in Baltimore.

“My plan for Bichette was to attack him from the get with my fastball," Bautista said. "Tried to do what I can to get to a two-strike count so I could finish him with a splitter or slider in that situation.”

Bautista has now converted 12 straight save chances. He threw one pitch to Guerrero at 102.6 mph. He has thrown 187 pitches of 100 mph or faster this season, the sixth-most in the major leagues this year.

Bautista recently went a week between appearances, dealing with a tired arm. But he’s doing fine, he said, since his return.

“I feel really good," he said. "It’s just getting better, little by little, each and every day. That week of rest, where I didn’t pitch too much, it really helped out, since it is such a long season. But I am continuing to get better and feel better, and thankfully, my velocity hasn’t dipped. I feel really good about where I’m at."

It was a good ending for the Orioles, leading to the latest two thumps between Bautista and Rutschman.

“It’s really cool. It’s great, a nice thing we put together, and a lot of fun when we get to do that out there," said Bautista. 

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