O'Hearn, Santander and Westburg homer in eighth in Orioles' 5-3 victory (updated)

CHICAGO – With two relief appearances in the past four days, Albert Suárez was put on a starter’s leash this afternoon that didn’t measure an exact length. Manager Brandon Hyde planned on checking with him after each inning. Maybe he’d go three, maybe four.

Suárez fielded a grounder and started a double play to end the third and leave him at 60 pitches. And he wasn’t done. Hyde sent him back out for the fourth and was rewarded with another scoreless inning.

Hyde wasn’t pushing Suárez beyond the 80 pitches thrown, and a scoreless game was passed to reliever Keegan Akin, who surrendered a two-out, bases-loaded triple to Gavin Sheets in the fifth. A death blow for some teams. A wake-up call for the Orioles, who hit three homers in the eighth in a 5-3 victory over the White Sox before an announced crowd of 22,283 at sunny Guaranteed Rate Field.

They can strike quickly, and less-than-ideal circumstances heading into a game don't faze them. An emergency starter, a sputtering offense, a short bullpen, whatever.

"That was a fun inning," Hyde said. "That game offensively for us sucked for seven. We didn't do anything offensively."

Dillon Tate made his first appearance with the Orioles since April 28 and retired all seven batters, striking out four of them. Cionel Pérez recorded his fifth career save and first this season with Craig Kimbrel unavailable.

Tate hadn't gone more than two innings since logging 2 2/3 on June 29, 2021, in Houston.

"Won us the game on the mound," Hyde said.

"D-Tate, that's 2 1/3 of really efficient pitching and really good stuff. Getting guys to swing early and let his stuff work on the plate. Gave us a chance."

Erick Fedde maintained his dominance over the Orioles, who would improve to 32-18 and move within 2 ½ games of the first-place Yankees. Fedde blanked them on three hits over 6 1/3 innings and has permitted only one run against them in 23 2/3 career innings.

And then, the White Sox put their trust in the bullpen, really having no choice with Fedde at 103 pitches.

Adley Rutschman walked with one out against Jordan Leasure and Ryan O’Hearn fouled off five straight pitches before hitting a two-run homer to right-center field. The top six batters in the order were a combined 0-for-16 before O’Hearn delivered his seventh home run.

Michael Kopech entered and allowed a single to Ryan Mountcastle and a go-ahead, two-run shot from Anthony Santander. Colton Cowser struck out and Jordan Westburg homered for his third hit of the day and a 5-3 lead.

"Westburg, that's not normal, either, to hit a line drive homer to the opposite field," Hyde said. "We had to wait around a little bit but it was great to see us swing the bat that inning."

The Orioles hadn’t belted three homers in the same inning since June 1, 2022 against the Mariners in Baltimore, doing it in the sixth. Today was a bit more dramatic.

"There were some pitches I wish I hadn't fouled off," O'Hearn said. "They were at my head. But to be able to finish an at-bat like that with a homer, we hadn't had much going on all day. To be able to get some runs on the board, kind of get the ball rolling there is awesome.

"I tell myself not to be in swing mode. I know I'm swinging at balls, but I'm also just up there competing, trying to put a ball in play with two strikes. When you swing at a ball at your head and catch up to it, it also gives you a little bit of, 'OK, I've got more time than I think.' And you get a medium-speed pitch in the middle, puts you in a good position to do damage."

Santander drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and Westburg singled with one out. Leasure came into the game and struck out Kyle Stowers, who singled in the fifth, and pinch-hitter Cedric Mullins.

The next inning didn’t play out nearly as well for the ‘pen.

"O'Hearn for me set the tone," Hyde said. "That might be the at-bat of the year. The amount of foul balls and hanging in there, and hitting a two-run homer to really give us a spark because we had nothing going."

The end of the regular season sweepless streak in St. Louis didn't break the Orioles. Didn't offer some sort of hint to what would be happening down the road.

"It's a resilient group," O'Hearn said. "It's a group that shows up every day and is not worried about what happened yesterday. ... Every time we get a chance to play a baseball game, we think we're gonna win. When we don't, we're going to show up the next day and try again."

Sheets, a Baltimore native, made Akin pay for two walks by launching a fastball over Cowser at 104.1 mph off the bat. Akin got ahead two strikes before making the fatal pitch.

Suárez allowed two hits, walked two and struck out three, and he lowered his ERA to 1.53. A solid substitute for Dean Kremer, who’s on the 15-day injured list with a right triceps strain.

"Minimal rest and he goes 80 pitches, he's throwing 95 (mph), just a total pro on the mound. Incredible outing by him," Hyde said.

"It didn't look like he was losing anything. Staying strong. We're so fortunate to have him."

Hyde said this morning that he wasn’t going to use Suárez last night, already knowing that the right-hander would be making his fourth start and the first since April 28. Suárez sat in the dugout.

What if the game had gone 15 or 16 innings?

“Then we’re changing some things,” Hyde said. “Stevie Wilkerson was not available, so Albert would have been available last night.”

The bullpen was down Kimbrel, setup man Yennier Cano and left-hander Danny Coulombe, who all pitched on back-to-back nights in the series. Otherwise, Hyde felt pretty good about coverage behind Suárez, who was stretched to three innings on May 12 against the Diamondbacks before going two-thirds, one and two-thirds.

“He’s done this before, he’s pitched in a lot of different places and was awesome for us when he was in the rotation not that long ago,” Hyde said.

"I felt good today," Suárez said. "I was just going until they told me not to, so feel good.

"It's good to be able to help the team in any way. If I'm in the bullpen, I'm going to get ready to come in any time. If I'm a starter, I'm just going to do my best to help the team. That's what I think all the time. Just mentally for me, every day I come here and do like a routine to be ready to pitch. When they told me I'm going to start, my mentality changes but the routine doesn't."

Andrew Benintendi led off the fifth with a walk, Nicky Lopez singled and the runners moved up on Martín Maldonado’s sacrifice. Tommy Pham walked on four pitches, Andrew Vaughn popped up the first one he saw, and Sheets swung the game in Chicago’s favor.

It didn’t stay there. The White Sox are 15-38 and on the verge of being swept in a four-game series.

The feeling when the Orioles breakthrough?

"Finally," O'Hearn said.

"We know we have a good offense and what we're capable of. We also know we can put up runs fast. Get a couple guys on base, a couple homers, like how it happened today."

"The game doesn't finish until it's finished," Suárez said. "For us it's like, we trust that someone's going to get the job done. When you watch us play, that's what usually happens. It might not happen in the beginning of the game but I'm sure it's going to happen at the end."

Akin retired the first two batters in the sixth and was removed after walking Benintendi and allowing an infield single to Lopez. Tate needed one pitch to retire Maldonado on a popup.

Left-handed hitters were batting .167 with a .508 OPS against Akin before today, but he was burned by Sheets, Lopez and Benintendi.

"That was a struggle, for sure," Hyde said. "That's unfortunate. That's twice now he's missed middle-middle with lefties in big spots and that can't happen at the major league level."


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