O's game blog: Looking for two in a row in Chicago

After ending the season's first three-game losing skid with Thursday's 8-6 win over the Chicago White Sox, the O's look to take two in a row in this four-game series tonight at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Anthony Santander hit a solo homer and Jorge Mateo blasted a three-run shot in a four-run fourth inning as the Orioles opened a 5-2 lead and never trailed after that. The O's had 13 hits, two off their season-high and it was the sixth time this year they've had 13 or more. They scored eight runs or more in a game for the eighth time in the 2024 season.

Mateo hit his homer 434 feet, the longest blast of his career. When he hit seven homers last year he averaged a homer every 45.43 at-bats and had a slugging percentage of .340. This year that average is one every 29.67 at-bats and his slugging mark is now .483. Mateo also walked twice in the game, his first game of the season with more than one walk. He also had two steals and Mateo is the first Orioles player with a home run and two stolen bases in the same game since Cedric Mullins on Sept. 10, 2021 against the Blue Jays.

Ryan Mountcastle, who had been 2-for-25 his previous six games, went 4-for-5 with a double and scored twice. He raied his batting average from .256 to .272. His single in the fourth inning produced an exit velocity of 112.3 mph. This was Mountcastle's first four-hit game since Aug. 3, 2023.

There were 12 balls hit last night at 100 mph or more, eight by the Orioles.

The Orioles remain one of the teams in the majors on average hitting baseballs the the most consistently hard this year.

Team leaders in MLB in average exit velocity:

90.2 - Atlanta
90.0 - Orioles
89.9 - Kansas City
89.8 - Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees

Gunnar Henderson leads the team with an average exit velocity of 94.5 mph, whicih ranks sixth-best in the American League. Next on the Orioles is Jordan Westburg at 92.1 mph, followed by Colton Cowser at 91.8 and Mountcastle at 91.1.

The Orioles hit two homers last night and they are now 20-3 this year when they hit two or more in a game.

The Orioles (30-18) remain in second place in the AL East and are three games behind the Yankees, who begin a nine-game West Coast road trip tonight at San Diego.

While they are 1-3 on this road trip and have lost six of their past 10 games, over longer stretches the Orioles have won 11 of 18 and are 18-11 their past 29.

Chicago (15-36) began the year going just 3-22 and has now lost six of its past seven games. In between those two stretches they went 11-8.

The White Sox are 10-15 at home, 5-21 on the road and are 5-8 when playing an AL East team. Chicago's run differential is the worst in the majors at -107 while the Orioles are +54.

Right-hander Corbin Burnes (4-2, 2.41 ERA) will make his 11th start. For the year he has thrown 59 2/3 innings with 15 walks, 60 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.039. The Orioles are 6-4 in his starts and last Sunday in Baltimore he gave up one run over six innings with 11 strikeouts. 

Burnes has been consistently good as expected, allowing two earned runs or less eight times and throwing seven quality starts including in his last five games. That total of 7 QS is one off the AL lead.

Heading into this game, Burnes ranks eighth in the AL in ERA, 12th in innings, 15th in strikeouts and sixth with an opponent OPS of .585.

Righty Chris Flexen (2-4, 5.48 ERA) goes for Chicago making his ninth start and 11th appearance. Last Sunday at Yankee Stadium he gave up eight hits and a season-high seven runs over four innings. In five home starts this year he is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA.  

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