The Orioles won another series opener and the Royals lost another one. And, because of that the Orioles need one win over the next two days to record yet another series win.
Austin Hays homered and doubled and the O’s got RBIs also from Jorge Mateo and Anthony Santander in Friday’s 3-2 win over Kansas City. The Orioles are now 39-24 and remain 6.5 games back of Tampa Bay, which beat Texas.
The Orioles are 15-6 in series-opening games and 6-4 in such games at home. K.C. falls to 4-17 in the first game of a series.
The Orioles had allowed 23 runs and 36 hits when they played in Kansas City in early May, yet they took two of three in that series. So they are now 3-1 on the year versus the Royals and 12-5 against AL Central teams.
Kansas City (18-45) has lost four in a row, seven of eight scoring 19 runs in that time and is 4-14 in its last 18 games. The Royals are 7-7 in one-run games while the Orioles are 12-7.
Baltimore batters have produced just 14 runs in the last four games and have scored three runs or fewer three times in the last four and 10 times in the past 14 games. They had five stolen bases Friday night to tie a season-high, done for the fourth time.
Third baseman Gunnar Henderson tallied a career-high three hits and two stolen bases and is the first O’s rookie with a three-hit game since Kyle Stowers on Sept. 26, 2022 at Boston and the first O’s rookie to swipe two bases in a game since Matt Angle did so on September 19 (G2), 2011 at Boston. Henderson is hitting .364/.417/.682 (8-for-22) with one double, two home runs, four runs scored, six RBIs, two walks and two stolen bases in his last seven games since May 30. Since May 1, he is batting .245 with an OPS of .826.
Hays hit his first career leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning; marking the first home run to start a game by an Oriole since Cedric Mullins on Sept. 26, 2022 at Boston, and the first at home since Mullins on July 26, 2022 vs. Tampa Bay. It was the first such homer on the first pitch by an Oriole since Mullins on Sept. 1, 2022 at Cleveland, and the first at home since Mullins on July 26, 2022 vs. Tampa Bay. And Hays recorded his team-leading 19th multi-hit game with a double in the fifth.
Shortstop Jorge Mateo swiped his 17th and 18th bags of the season in the second inning and this marked the fourth time in his career that he’s stolen two bases in an inning and first since Sept. 23, 2022 vs. Houston. Mateo ranks fourth in the American League in stolen bases.
Lefty Cole Irvin (0-2, 10.38 ERA) got off to such a bad start for the Orioles that he was optioned to the minor leagues after just three starts. He was activated today, joining the Orioles’ roster for the third time in 2023 and today makes his first start since he gave up six runs in four innings on April 13 against Oakland.
Irvin had pitched well for that same team last year before the Orioles traded for him before this season. In 2022 for Oakland, he went 9-13 with a 3.98 ERA in 181 innings with a 1.160 WHIP, a 1.8 walk rate and 6.4 K rate. These are numbers the Orioles were expecting when they added him and maybe today he begins to deliver such an outing.
His mound opponent also had a better 2022 than he is having thus far and that is right-hander Brady Singer (4-4, 6.45 ERA). But Singer is pitching better now after a terrible start saw his ERA inflate to 8.82 after his first seven starts.
He threw 5 2/3 scoreless against Colorado his last time out. And, over his past five starts, Singer is 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA, allowing two earned runs or less in four of those games. Kansas City is 6-6 in his 2023 starts.
Last season for the Royals, over 27 games and 24 starts, he went 10-5 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.141 WHIP.