One day ahead of the start of a showdown series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles are wrapping up their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Orioles (91-53, .632) lead the American League East by 2.5 games right now over the Rays, which won 5-4 this afternoon against the Twins. The Orioles beat the Cardinals 11-5 Monday night but were held to nine hits in a 5-2 loss last night where they went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Before their offense was held down last night, the Orioles had scored 48 runs in the previous five games, 74 in the last nine and 155 in the previous 22 games.
The Orioles, who have 18 regular-season games left, lost for just the second time in the last 10 games. Overall they have won 14 of 19, 17 of 23 and 20 of 28 games. They are 28-12 in the last 40 games.
The Orioles are 43-27 at home, 37-18 since the All-Star game, 8-3 in September and 24-19 versus National League clubs. They have a .558 win percentage versus the NL and .663 (67-34) against the AL.
In last night’s game, Austin Hays went 2-for-4 and set career highs in hits (135) and doubles (36) after a two-base hit in the fifth inning. He tied Adley Rutschman for the team lead with 37 multi-hit games.
Shortstop Gunnar Henderson recorded the 100th run scored of his career in the fifth inning. With 88 runs scored this year, Henderson needs just two runs to tie Cal Ripken, Jr. (90 in 1982) for the most runs by a rookie in Orioles history.
Rutschman collected his 19th multi-walk performance of the season with walks in the first and fifth inning, the most by an O’s batter in one season since Nick Markakis also had 19 in 2008.
Outfielder Anthony Santander notched his 36th two-bagger and 64th extra-base hit, both career highs; the 64 extra-base hits are nine shy of tying Brian Roberts (73 in 2009) for the most by a switch-hitter in a season in team history.
St. Louis (64-81) has played better lately winning six of nine and eight of its past 13 games. The Cardinals are 5-3 on a nine-game road trip that ends tonight. They are 33-41 on the road for the year and 22-23 versus AL teams.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (14-8) gets the start tonight, his 30th. The Orioles are 17-12 in his outings. He has recorded quality starts in two of his last three outings, versus Toronto and the Los Angeles Angels.
But he has also had outings allowing seven and nine runs recently to produce an ERA of 8.16 in his last five starts. In 10 second-half starts, he is 5-2 with a 6.10 ERA and 1.390 WHIP.
Lefty Drew Rom (0-2, 7.79 ERA), the Orioles' fourth-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, will face his former organization tonight. Rom has allowed 15 earned runs and 25 hits in 17 1/3 innings in his four MLB starts. He was on the O's roster earlier this year for two days, May 9-10, but did not pitch.
After the O's traded Rom, Cesar Prieto and Zach Showalter to St. Louis on Aug. 1 for Jack Flaherty. Rom went to the Cards' Triple-A Memphis team and was 2-0 with an 0.82 ERA in two starts before his callup. He allowed just two hits in 11 innings with 18 strikeouts for Memphis.
In his four starts for St. Louis, opponent batters have hit his fastball well. They've hit .370 and slugged .778 off his four-seamer and batted .409/.636 off his two-sean sinker.