O's allow three homers as Cincinnati wins big to even series (updated)

CINCINNATI – After getting his 2022 big league season off to a great start, O’s right-hander Dean Kremer has hit a bump in the road. And tonight, his road got really rocky in the last of the fourth.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan India smoked a two-run homer just over the left field wall to highlight a three-run Reds fourth and they went on to beat the Orioles 8-2 at Great American Ball Park. That evens this series at a win each heading into Sunday’s rubber match game.

The Orioles led 2-0 in the first and 2-1 when the Reds came up in the fourth. Then Cincinnati batters started to produce some loud contact off Kremer, who had allowed four hits through three. With one out, Nick Senzel doubled to left, a two-bagger that was 101 mph off the bat. Then right fielder Jake Fraley dumped a single into left for a 2-2 tie. One out later, India’s seventh homer made it a 4-2 lead. He hit a 1-2 pitch, a 93 mph four-seamer, 366 feet and it just got out. Brandon Drury’s 108 mph double followed, but he was stranded when Tommy Pham grounded out.

The loud contact continued in the Reds fifth when Joey Votto led off with his 10th homer (exit velocity of 108 mph) and it became a 5-2 game. After a one-out single, Kremer was lifted.

Then it got weird.

Facing O's righty Beau Sulser, Nick Senzel lifted a fly ball deep to left. Austin Hays leaped and trapped the ball off the wall, making it a ball in play. On the bases Kyle Farmer ran back toward first, thinking the ball had been caught in left, and passed Senzel. The ruling was eventually that Senzel was out for passing the runner, but actually the runner passed him. To make it worse for the Orioles, Farmer was then still on base when Fraley homered to left to make it a 7-2 game.

Kremer’s final line showed a season-high six runs allowed over 4 1/3 innings on a career-high tying 10 hits. He falls to 3-3 with an ERA of 3.86.

Kremer’s first five starts his ERA was 1.29. Kremer’s last five starts his ERA is 6.94.

Coming into tonight the Orioles had been outscored this year 57-24 in the first inning, easily their worst inning on the stat sheet. But tonight they led 2-0 after one. The rest of the game was another matter.

In that inning, three straight singles by Adley Rutschman, Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander produced a 1-0 lead. Santander stayed hot, driving in his 55th run and extending his hitting streak to 10 games. When Rutschman scored on a balk by the Reds' starter, right-hander Tyler Mahle, the O’s led 2-0.

The Reds cut into that on an RBI single by their No. 9 hitter, catcher Michael Papierski, in the second. Then they had big innings in the fourth and fifth, and an RBI bloop single by Drury in the sixth completed their scoring for the night.

Mahle allowed two runs over six innings to improve to 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA. The Reds (39-61) are 5-4 in the second half and are 11-7 their past 18 games. 

In his first major league start, Baltimore's Terrin Vavra went 0-for-3, batting eighth as the designated hitter. He hit a first-pitch cutter in the O’s second, grounding into a double play. And he grounded out in the fifth and flied out in the eighth. He had made his big league debut in the ninth last night as a pinch-runner.

The Orioles had five hits in the first two innings tonight, but just one from the third inning on. All six hits were singles.

The Orioles (51-50) fall back to three games out of the last American League playoff spot after Tampa Bay’s win this afternoon. The Birds are 1-1 on this road trip but have won four of six, 16 of 22 and 21 of 32 games. They are 7-7 in rubber match games, and their latest such contest arrives here on Sunday afternoon.

Draft pick signs: The Orioles tonight announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Zack Showalter, their 11th round selection from the 2022 MLB Draft. Showalter is no relation to the former Orioles manager. MLBPipeline.com reported he agreed to a $440,000 bonus, with $315,000 counting against the team’s draft pool.

The Orioles have now signed 17 of 22 selections from the draft.

A few post-game quotes.

Hyde on Kremer: “I just thought he was a little bit off from the start. I just thought the tempo, didn’t feel real comfortable. Then he started to get a little bit better. Then he just left a bad pitch to India that went for the homer. But it was kind of a struggle for him tonight.”

Hyde on crazy play in the Reds fifth and umps' explanation: “Well, the batter went past the runner. And so, when Mancini tagged the runner that was on first (Kyle Farmer) he was on the base, so we were just making sure he was on the base. Just kind of explaining the whole, he passed second base, retouched, back to first base. We were just kind of going through the rule on all that. But the batter passed the runner, obviously, so he’s automatically out. And unfortunately for us, the runner was back to first base when we tagged him.”

Hyde said Sulser did a nice job in relief: “The MVP for us tonight was Beau Sulser. That was huge for us. Stretched way longer than we wanted to. However, he gave a bunch of guys a much-needed night off, which hopefully is good for us down the road, good for us tomorrow.”

Hyde said before the game Mountcastle might not be available tonight. Will he be tomorrow?: “I am hoping he will be, yeah.”

Kremer, on recent starts being tougher than his earlier ones. Is anything different?: “Not that I can think of. It could be the league adjusting. But, some unlucky stuff. I gave up seven bloopers today. I don’t know, could be a number of things.”

Kremer, how was your stuff today?: “Analytically speaking or metrically speaking, shapes were good. Threw balls to good locations. Gave up some bad contact. And then gave up a homer here or there to kind of make the difference.”

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