Nice start to trip: Pitching, defense, Rutschman's offense shine in win

This might have been one of the best feel-good nights of the year around Birdland. O’s fans could watch and see a lot to like about the Orioles' latest win.

The Birds blanked the Chicago White Sox 4-0 last night, pitching a second straight shutout and recording their third shutout in the last six games. The O’s picked up an impressive win against the defending American League Central champions and beat a club that went 7-0 versus them last year.

In beating the White Sox, Orioles pitchers slowed what has recently been a hot-hitting Chicago team. Here are a few excerpts from the White Sox media notes last night showing how well Chicago's offense had been humming recently.

* The Sox are hitting .318/.379/.459 (160-for-503) with 92 runs scored (7.1 R/G) over the last 13 games, scoring seven-plus runs eight times and collecting 12-plus hits eight times.

* The White Sox are batting .310/.377/.442 (85-for-274) with 52 runs scored (7.4 R/G) over their last seven home games.

* The Sox are hitting .287/.344/.419 (318-for-1,108) over the last 30 games, raising their season batting average from .226 to .255, second-best in the AL.

* The White Sox are batting .297/.353/.430 (221-for-744) and averaging 5.75 runs per game in June, third-best in the AL.

The O’s put up a nine-inning zero against that team, bringing their total to 15 straight scoreless innings over the past two nights. When Chicago won all seven games against the Orioles last year, they outscored Baltimore 45-16 and White Sox batters hit .299/.394/.532. The O’s had lost eight in a row overall versus Chicago.

Baltimore pitching has not only thrown two straight shutouts and produced three in the last six games, but, in the Orioles last four wins, they have three shutouts and another game with just one run allowed. The Birds have allowed three runs or less in six of the past seven games. And, in those seven games, the rotation ERA is 2.25.

Right-hander Dean Kremer had another stellar outing Thursday night, throwing 5 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits as he improved to 2-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.71. Kremer gave up a three-run homer in the first inning of his first big league start this year, but since then he has allowed only one earned run over his last 20 innings. He has thrown 11 2/3 scoreless his past two games versus two 2021 playoff teams in Tampa Bay and Chicago. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Orioles went 4-13 in Kremer’s starts and this year they are 3-1.

The bullpen had another strong night and Jorge López picked up his 12th save, striking out the last two batters with two on base.

And the Baltimore outfield had an exceptional night defensively. This included right fielder Austin Hays throwing out a runner at the plate in the fourth. His throw to home was 96.4 mph, the second-fastest outfield assist by an Oriole since 2016, topped only by Hays' throw of 97.6 mph on May 20 against Tampa Bay. Since 2016, Hays has the five fastest outfield assists by the Orioles and 10 of the fastest 11. He ranks second in the AL and is tied for third in MLB with six outfield assists.

Hays, center fielder Cedric Mullins and left fielder Anthony Santander all made strong plays. Santander's catch on a deep liner to end the Chicago seventh had an expecting batting average of .530. And when Mullins ran down a ball in the gap in the eighth, that ball had a .450 expected average. 

The game also featured Adley Rutschman’s second career homer and first career three-RBI game. Rutschman, who now has 10 extra-base hits in his past 12 games, hit a two-run homer in the fourth at 107 mph and added an RBI double two innings later at 100 mph off the bat. Rutschman is batting .326 (14-for-43) over the 12 games. 

It was a great start to a three-city, 10-game road trip for the Orioles, and while Baltimore is just 14-22 in road games for the year, it's 8-6 in the last 14 away from Camden Yards.

The Orioles improved to 32-39 overall and have won three of four, five of seven and eight of their last 12 games. The O’s are 10-7 in the last 17 games and are 18-15 in 33 games since May 19. They are now 11-9 in June. 

 

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