Jordan Westburg walk-off single gives Orioles 5-4 win in 11 innings (updated)

The late-inning bullpen decisions today by the Orioles were lacking in intrigue and excitement. Nothing about the closer. Nothing about protecting a lead. The top story angle also was being reset.

And then, the threat arrived when Anthony Santander hit a home run with two outs in the eighth inning to tie the game. Perhaps there was hope for hysteria after all.  

The movements and usages of the relievers were back to being Baltimore obsessions, but the Orioles didn’t let the game carry to a save situation. Better to just walk it off and win the series.

The Orioles fell behind in the fifth inning before Santander’s 410-foot shot to center off Diamondbacks reliever Kevin Ginkel, and Jordan Westburg poked a single down the right field line on Bryce Jarvis' first pitch of the 11th to score Colton Cowser in a 5-4 victory before an announced crowd of 27,882 at Camden Yards.

Danny Coulombe retired the three batters he faced without the automatic runner budging from second base, Craig Kimbrel hit Christian Walker but stranded runners on the corners in the 11th with a strikeout and force play, and the Orioles improved to 26-12.

Westburg had his first career four-hit game and his second walk-off.

"He's just getting better and better," said manager Brandon Hyde. "He's a special player. This guy's going to be really good, and it's his first full season in the big leagues. He's just doing a little bit of everything. How much better he's gotten defensively at third base, second base, the at-bats he takes. He never takes a pitch off. He just battles every single pitch at the plate and he can cover and hit the ball to all fields hard. Really impressed with him so far."

Westburg put enough bat on a slider to get it inside first base and bring teammates out of the dugout for another celebration.

Asked what he was trying to do, Westburg replied, "Not too much, certainly."

"Really trying to stay to the right side of the field there," he said. "If anything, if I'm going to make an out I want to get that guy over to third, so I'm trying to push or see something deep and shoot the ball that way. ... Thank goodness it stayed fair."

Westburg's first walk-off was a two-run homer on April 1 against the Royals.

"They're all fun," he said. "Especially in a game like (today), it's kind of back and forth. We wanted to win that for our bullpen. Our bullpen came in and threw some big-time innings and got out of some jams there. I just figured the more opportunities we had to score runs, we were going to push one across as long as that bullpen kept it where they did."

Kimbrel warmed twice before appearing and earning the win. Hyde didn’t need to explain non-existent timetables. But there’s always Sunday.

Once again, Hyde didn't set out to use Kimbrel in a specific situation. The game dictated it.

"It wasn't how I drew it up, to be honest with you," Hyde said. "I'm not exactly easing him in. But I didn't have another right-hander down there. I called down to him before Danny's inning and said, 'Danny's going to have these first three guys. You good with me putting you in with somebody on base in a big spot to keep the score where it is?' And the answer I got on the phone was total pro, just fantastic. And he went out and pitched awesome.

"It's not easy to struggle and it's not easy to struggle in the big leagues and it's not easy to have everybody talk about it, either. So, how he's going about his business, how he's a team-first guy, how he wants the ball, how he wants to contribute, how he wants to be a big part of this team, which we need him to be, he's been phenomenal."

"He's the same guy," Westburg said. "Nothing's changed from what I've seen, and certainly our confidence hasn't wavered in him. There's a reason why he's done what he's done his whole career. And there's a reason why we brought him this year. He's going to be an important piece for us. He just needs to get back on the bump and keep throwing, keep having outings like today. Hopefully, this builds his confidence back and he can get back in that role that he's been so good in for so long."

Kimbrel retired the side in order Friday night and offered up another scoreless outing today.

"Last two felt good," he said, trying to catch his breath after a workout. "It's easy to say that when you're able to throw scoreless innings and keep a guy out there.

"It's kind of like thinking of it like bowling. I've been having good spins, throwing it down the wrong lane. The last two have been good. I'm getting down the right lane and making some good pitches."

Yennier Cano stranded a runner at second base in the top of the ninth, and Westburg’s third of four hits set up the possibility of a dramatic finish in the bottom half after Cedric Mullins failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt and struck out, and after Gunnar Henderson received an intentional walk. But Adley Rutschman lined to right field.

The Diamondbacks walked Ryan O'Hearn in the 10th to set up the double play, and it worked. Ryan Mountcastle struck out, Santander walked and Cowser bounced into a 4-6-3 double play against a drawn-in infield.

The Orioles' bullpen wouldn't let Arizona capitalize. The unit produced 6 1/3 scoreless innings with one hit.

"Everybody threw the ball so well, really both teams," Hyde said. "It was two really good bullpens going at it there at the end, pitching in tight spots with runners on base. "

Henderson led off the fifth inning with his 12th home run and Mountcastle finished with two doubles and a triple. Santander’s homer increased the Orioles’ total to 59, most in the majors.

"I can't say enough about Gunnar," Hyde said. "He's 22 years old and he's going to be really good. He's already really good and he's just going to get better and better. ... His clock on defense is so much improved, his confidence defensively. He feels like he should never make an out offensively. He's got huge power and he can fly. It's a nice little combo."

Henderson moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 411-footer to right-center field. Ryne Nelson retired the next two batters and Mountcastle lined a slider into the 90-degree angle in left-center.

Mountcastle doubled in the second and third. He never broke stride in the fifth and had his annual triple, going with the ones in 2021, 2022 and 2023. But he was stranded.

Mike Baumann replaced John Means and tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings with one hit allowed. Kimbrel warmed in the bottom of the seventh in case the Orioles rallied, but Keegan Akin got the call and retired the side in order in the eighth, with Henderson ranging far to his right to make a backhand stop and throw to nab Walker.

Kimbrel was up again in the 10th. The game never got to the 12th.

"Mike Baumann hasn't pitched very much and he gave us the biggest two-plus innings out of the 'pen to keep the score right where it was and give us a chance," Hyde said. "Akin with a great inning after him. And that's what you need out of your bullpen. That's what we were so good at the last two years, was keeping the score where it was and giving us a chance late. Which we had so many come-from-behind wins the last couple years because of that. And Mike Baumann gave us a chance today."

Means made his second start since his reinstatement from the injured list and allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He threw 89 pitches, the last resulting in Lourdes Gurriel’s RBI single and a 4-2 Diamondbacks lead.

"A little bit like your second start back, I think his stuff probably wasn't quite as good as the first time out," Hyde said. "I'd expect it to be better next time, his command a little bit better. It's not easy that second time. I think the adrenaline kind of fuels you that first time out."

Means retired the first eight batters before Kevin Newman tripled to left field and Ketel Marte homered on the next pitch, launching a changeup into the left field seats.

Blaze Alexander had struck out to complete an 11-pitch at-bat, after the Diamondbacks challenged a foul ball to left, but Heston Kjerstad couldn’t run down Newman’s fly ball to left and Marte homered for the second time in the series.

The game was tied in the fifth when Alexander singled with one out and Newman doubled into left-center, with Cowser fielding the ball and looking at third base before making a late throw to second. Means hit Marte to load the bases and Corbin Carroll lined to Kjerstad in left field for a 3-2 lead.

Kjerstad made a nice sliding catch near the line to rob Gabriel Moreno lading off the fifth, before Arizona scored twice and Hyde summoned Baumann.

The streak ended today of starters allowing three runs or fewer in the last 10 games.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, Westburg lined a run-scoring double into left-center field in the second inning to give the Orioles an early lead. Westburg didn’t need owner David Rubenstein to be in charge of the splash zone.

Westburg had 25 RBIs to move into second place for the team lead behind Henderson’s 26. Henderson produced No. 27 with the home run, and Westburg came back with his 26th to send everyone home.

The second inning began with Mountcastle’s leadoff double. Nelson retired the next two batters and Westburg redirected a fastball at 108.8 mph.

Mountcastle doubled again in the third after O’Hearn’s opposite-field single scored Jorge Mateo with the tying run. Mateo and Henderson singled and Adley Rutschman grounded into a double play to bring O’Hearn to the plate.

O’Hearn had bumped his average at .301 with a .931 OPS.

Santander grounded out to strand two runners in the second 11-pitch at-bat of the day.

An opportunity to break the tie in the fourth disintegrated after Cowser reached on an infield single and advanced to third base on Westburg’s hit-and-run single. Kjerstad grounded to Walker, who threw home to get Cowser in a rundown, and Mateo grounded into a double play.

The last lead would come much later, and it moved the Orioles 1 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Yankees.

"I think this offense can do a lot of things, and one through nine plus the four guys on the bench, whoever they are, anybody on our team at the end of the day can impact the game," Westburg said. "There's just a confidence in all of our abilities. We all have confidence in each other. Everybody's working. Nobody's going to get in that spot and be unprepared."

"We battle," Kimbrel said. "This team never gives up. We've talked about it a couple weeks ago down in the bullpen. Our job is keeping the game close because in the blink of an eye these guys can score four runs. If we're keeping the games close and keeping our offense in it, we're going to have a chance to win a lot of games."

* Bruce Zimmermann started today for Triple-A Norfolk, allowed one run and eight hits in four innings, and left after 59 pitches due to right hamstring discomfort. Left fielder Hudson Haskin also was removed as a precaution after being hit by a pitch.

Quick Q&A with Dylan Bundy
O's game blog: Looking for two in a row over Arizo...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to