Their regular season is now down to single digits – nine games remaining over the next nine days – as the Orioles return to Fenway Park tonight for Game 2 of a four-game series and seven-game road trip.
The trip got off to a great start last night, even though they had to put up with a 100-minute rain delay. The O’s mashed five homers in beating Boston 14-8. They never trailed in the game and took a 4-0 lead in the second. But Boston pulled within 6-5 in the fourth inning. The O’s then pulled away, scoring seven runs their next three at-bats. They scored in seven of their nine at-bats during the night.
The Orioles are now 6-0 when hitting five homers this year:
* Aug. 5 vs. Minnesota, win 5-3
* June 7 vs. Cubs, win 9-3
* June 27 at Seattle, win 9-2
* Aug. 19 vs. Boston, win 15-10
* Sept. 3 vs. Oakland, win 8-1
* Sept. 26 at Boston, win 14-8
Anthony Santander, who recently went through a stretch of 13 straight games without a homer or RBI, now has hit two homers in two of the last three games. He has 31 on the year, four over the past three games and 10 in his last 29 contests.
Santander became the third O’s switch-hitter to hit 30 homers or more in one year, joining Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Ken Singleton. Murray was the last to do this, hitting 30 in 1987. Singleton has the most in one year by an O's switch-hitter, with 35 in 1979. Santander produced his fourth multi-homer game of the year and the ninth of his career. His previous career high for homers was 20. Santander ranks tied for seventh in the American League in homers and tied for 11th with 85 RBIs.
Santander leads the majors in homers by a switch-hitter:
31 - Anthony Santander, Orioles
28 - José Ramírez, Cleveland
26 - Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh
25 - Francisco Lindor, Mets and Cal Raleigh, Seattle
The Orioles (80-73) are 3 1/2 games behind Seattle for the final AL wild-card spot, four games back of Tampa Bay and 6 1/2 behind Toronto. Tampa Bay plays at Cleveland tonight with Toronto hosting the New York Yankees and Seattle hosting Texas.
The Orioles improved to 12-12 in September. They need to go 3-1 in the four games left this month to produce a fourth straight winning month for the first time since 2014. The Orioles need two wins to clinch their first winning season since going 89-73 in 2016.
Right-hander Kyle Bradish (4-7, 4.65 ERA) tonight makes his 22nd start. The rookie blanked Houston on two hits over 8 2/3 innings last Thursday with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Bradish is 3-2 with a 1.64 ERA his past six starts, throwing three scoreless outings in that span and going seven innings or more four times.
Since coming off the injured list in late July, Bradish is 3-3 with a 2.67 ERA, allowing a .210 batting average and .578 OPS against in those 11 games. In four starts this year against Boston, he is 0-3 with a 5.31 ERA.
Boston (72-81) has lost six in a row and is now 20-47 in AL East games. Right-hander Michael Wacha (11-1, 2.70 ERA) makes the start for the Red Sox. He has thrown six innings or more six straight times, making five consecutive quality starts. He is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts this season versus the Orioles.
Last night Gunnar Henderson (21 years, 89 days) became the youngest Oriole to reach base at least four times while hitting a home run since Boog Powell (21 years, seven days) on Aug. 24, 1962 against the Yankees. He is the fourth-youngest Oriole to homer at Fenway Park behind Jim Palmer (20-180), Manny Machado (20-278) and Paul Blair (21-75).