O's game blog: The series finale with Oakland

The Oakland Athletics scored four late runs last night to break a 4-4 tie and beat the Orioles 8-4 at Camden Yards. The Orioles have taken two of three in this four-game series, which wraps up this afternoon.

O's pitching has allowed eight runs to Oakland in back-to-back games after Monday's series-opening 5-1 win.

Baltimore's team ERA of 5.37 ranks 12th in the American League right now and is well behind last season's mark of 3.97. The O's rotation ERA of 6.39 ranks 12th in the AL, with the Orioles ahead of just Detroit, Boston and Oakland. 

Through 12 games, the rotation has covered 56 1/3 innings and the bullpen has been needed for 49 1/3. O's starting pitchers five thrown five innings or less in nine games and allowed four runs or more in six games. 

The last two nights, Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer have combined to pitch 8 2/3 innings versus Oakland, allowing 11 hits and nine runs.

This afternoon, lefty Cole Irvin (0-2, 9.35 ERA) will face his former team as he makes his third O's start. The Orioles acquired Irvin from the Athletics along with right-hander Kyle Virbitsky in exchange for O's minor league shortstop Darell Hernaiz on Jan. 26. Virbitsky is on the roster of the O's High-A Aberdeen affiliate.

Irvin has thrown 8 2/3 innings in starts against the Red Sox and Yankees. He has allowed 12 hits and nine runs with six walks to nine strikeouts.

Last year, when he went 9-13 with a 3.98 ERA in 30 Oakland starts, he walked more than two batters in a game just one time and had a 1.8 walk rate. This year his walk rate is 6.2 in two games. And last year he averaged just 14.4 pitches per innings. This season the number is at 21.8. In 2022 he threw first-pitch strikes 67.1 percent of the time. That number is 51.2 now. 

Today he makes his 35th career start against the AL West, and he owns a 9-19 record with a 4.26 ERA and 121 strikeouts to 40 walks through his first 34 appearances. He went 5-7 with a 3.13 ERA and 57 strikeouts to 15 walks in 15 starts against the division in 2022 while with the A's.

Right-hander Adam Oller (0-0, 4.66 ERA) starts for Oakland. In games against the Angels and Rays he has allowed six runs (five earned) and eight hits over 9 2/3 innings.

Adley Rutschman has recorded a hit in six consecutive games since April 7, the longest streak by an O's batter this season, while slashing .526/.654/.895 (10-for-19) with one double, two home runs, six runs scored, four RBIs and seven walks during that span. He's also reached base safely in nine straight games, posting a .513 on-base percentage since April 3. Entering today's games, Rutschman ranks among AL leaders in average (4th, .391), hits (T-4th, 18), on-base percentage (5th, .491), OPS (6th, 1.100), and total bases (T-9th, 28).

Outfielder Austin Hays batted leadoff on Tuesday for the first time this season and finished 4-for-5 with a double, a homer, a career-high four runs scored and two RBIs. He is only the second Oriole since 2015 to score four runs in a game, along with Ryan Mountcastle on May 30, 2022 at Boston. Hays homered in back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday for the third time in his career, and for the first time since April 24-26, 2022.

Three of Hays' four hardest-hit balls and six of 11 in 2023 have come in this series, including his leadoff double on Tuesday, which was 110.2 mph, per Statcast. The double was the second-hardest hit ball of his career, trailing only a 110.3 mph home run on May 14, 2021.

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