PHILADELPHIA – Christmas carols played between innings tonight at Citizens Bank Park. A man dressed as Santa Claus danced on the field. The dining room served traditional holiday favorites like carved turkey and ham, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
The Orioles weren’t in a giving mood until they got to the ninth inning.
Bryson Stott doubled off Yennier Cano with two outs to score Bryce Harper and tie the game, J.T. Realmuto reached on an infield hit, with Jorge Mateo slow to get the ball out of his glove, and Alec Bohm singled into left field in the Phillies' 4-3 walk-off win over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 37,200.
Ryan O’Hearn homered off Phillies left-hander Matt Strahm leading off the eighth inning, his third tie-breaking hit in the last four games, but the Orioles fell to 62-39 overall and 4-2 on the trip. The Phillies won for only the second time in seven games.
The Orioles are 19-10 in one-run games. They had won six straight.
"If we continue to play one-run games, we're going to lose," said manager Brandon Hyde. "You just can't be perfect every night out of the bullpen."
Shintaro Fujinami did a nice impression.
Making his third appearance with the Orioles, Fujinami retired all six batters he faced with three strikeouts on 21 pitches. Fifteen were strikes.
"Fujinami was fantastic," Hyde said. "On a night when we were really short in the 'pen, he gave us two unbelievable innings. Great fastball, great split. He was pounding the strike zone. Two huge innings for us. Really happy for him."
Cano was handed closing duties, trying for his fifth save, and allowed a one-out single to Harper. Nick Castellanos struck out, but a double into the right field corner, bouncer and ground ball through the left side saddled Cano with the loss.
"It was difficult because I couldn't get the three outs," Cano said through interpreter Brandon Quinones. "I can't blame it on those two hits that snuck through. I allowed a couple hits before that, so it was just a bad outing overall on my end. No one else to put the blame on but myself. Unfortunately, things didn't go my way tonight."
Hyde chose to give Félix Bautista another rest day.
"Before the game we decided that Bautista was going to be down tonight," Hyde said.
Bautista has recorded 28 saves, able to tame an inning that's a different animal from the eighth.
"I think it's no secret it's a difficult inning to pitch in," Cano said. "There's a bit of a different feeling when you go out there, but at the end of the day you have to go out there and get the job done, and unfortunately I didn't do that tonight. I'm also human, I make mistakes, and unfortunately I didn't get the job done."
Mateo double-clutched before throwing late on Realmuto’s ball. Gunnar Henderson started at short but left the game in the bottom of the eighth with discomfort in his lower back.
"Expect him to be fine," Hyde said, "but might be a couple days. We'll see."
O’Hearn fell behind 0-2 to Strahm and pulled a slider into the right field seats to break a 2-2 tie. He had a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth inning Saturday at Tropicana Field to give the Orioles a 6-5 win, and he provided a 4-3 lead the following day with a line drive off the left field foul pole against Colin Poche in the sixth inning.
Only five of O’Hearn’s 47 career homers have come against left-handers, including the last two.
Kyle Gibson held his former team to one run through 5 2/3 innings, hung a changeup to Harper and watched it sail into the right field seats to tie the game 2-2. He retired Castellanos and notched the Orioles' 40th quality start. Eleven belong to him.
"Gibby was really, really good. Just that one bad pitch to Harper," Hyde said.
"Just totally pitched. Kept them completely off balance. Really good sinker tonight, good changeup and slider. Both sides of the plate. Great job of pitching ahead. Six really good innings for us."
The Orioles led 1-0 in the second inning, loaded the bases with no outs and settled for one run. It could come back to bite them much later.
"We had chances to add on, didn't do it," Hyde said.
Ryan Mountcastle and Adam Frazier singled off Phillies starter Taijuan Walker, and Austin Hays doubled to left field. Hays was 4-for-32 in his last nine games.
Colton Cowser walked, but the next three batters were retired.
"You let a team off the hook like that, it's not the recipe for success," Hyde said. "It's tough to win the games we've been winning lately."
Mountcastle singled again with two outs in the third and scored on Frazier’s double for a 2-0 lead. Frazier was thrown out at third base.
The two hits gave Mountcastle 10 in his first 27 at-bats since his reinstatement from the injured list. He also walked twice, reaching base four times for the third time in his career and first since June 19, 2021 against Toronto.
Walker was 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in four starts against the Orioles since the beginning of 2020. He went 5 2/3 innings tonight and allowed two runs and six hits.
Bohm led off the third inning with a double, Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas singled, and the Phillies also settled for one run.
Gibson retired the first six batters and 11 in a row after Rojas’ hit.
"Overall, pitch execution, I felt really good about it," Gibson said. "We had a plan. It's always different facing a lot of guys when they know you really well and you know them really well. But I felt like Adley (Rutschman) and I were on the same page and got into a little bit of a groove and had a little bit of fun."
The good times were halted in the ninth.
"They don't give up," Gibson said, "just like us."
* Anthony Santander's double in the first inning was his 500th career hit.
* Coby Mayo hit his second home run with Triple-A Norfolk and also had an RBI double. Joey Ortiz had four hits and two RBIs.
Ryan Watson tossed three scoreless innings.
Stiven Acevedo hit his sixth home run for Single-A Delmarva, and catcher Samuel Basallo had a double and triple.
Moisés Chace held Kannapolis to an unearned run in four innings.