O's game blog: Tyler Wells faces Cincinnati

It sure took a while – the game itself lasted two hours and 57 minutes and there were two rain delays totaling an hour and 59 minutes – but the Orioles won another series opener Monday night. On the occasion of Jordan Westburg’s major league debut they beat Cincinnati 10-3. They are now 18-8 in series-opening games and 8-5 when the opener is at home. 

Westburg went 1-for-4, and his bloop single in the fifth was his first big league hit. He also scored his first run and produced his first RBI and played solid defense at second base.

The Orioles had scored just 10 runs over the weekend in taking two of three from Seattle, and then got 10 in one night. They have scored 10 runs or more in a game six times this year.

Because they trailed 1-0 in the first inning, this was technically their 28th comeback win of the year. When the game began the O’s and Reds were both at 27 comeback victories to tie for the major league lead. Even though the O’s were leading by the second inning and never trailed after that, last night's game is another comeback win officially on their record.

At 48-29 (.623) the Orioles moved to within four games of idle Tampa Bay for the American League East lead. They have the third best record in the majors, behind only Tampa Bay (54-27, .667) and Atlanta (51-27, .654).

The Orioles have won three in a row, five of seven and 11 of the last 16 games. The Orioles are 25-14 at Oriole Park and 8-2 in their past 10 games at home.

The Birds have hosted Cincinnati just two times since they beat the Big Red Machine to win the 1970 World Series. The last was in 2014, when they swept a three-game series. And, with Monday’s win, they are now 6-1 all-time at home versus the Reds.

The Orioles are now a season-high 19 games over the .500 mark. It is the most games they have been over .500 since the end of the 2014 season, when that AL East-winning club finished 96-66.

Lefty Bruce Zimmermann made his first appearance at Oriole Park this season and earned the win, pitching three innings in relief after play resumed. He allowed two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a hit batter. He picked up his first big league win since May 8, 2022, in the second game of a doubleheader with Kansas City.

Catcher Adley Rutschman drew his 51st walk of the season in the first inning, tying Oakland’s Ryan Noda for the AL lead. No one else in the AL has more than 43 walks. Rutschman added a two-run single in the seventh inning, his sixth multi-RBI effort this season.

Center fielder Cedric Mullins hit a 110.5 mph single in the seventh inning, the hardest-hit ball of his career. Mullins has hit safely in consecutive games for the first time since a six-game hitting streak from May 17-23, and tallied his 12th multi-hit game this season. It was his first since logging a five-hit performance on May 21 at Toronto.

Cincinnati (41-38) entered this series leading the National League Central by half a game over Milwaukee, but when the Brewers beat the Mets last night they leapfrogged the Reds and are now in first place. Cincinnati’s eight-game road winning streak, which was tied for the second-longest streak in the majors this season, was snapped. It marked their longest such streak since another eight-gamer from May 30 to June 16, 2021.

Reds pitching issued nine walks, tied for the team’s most in a game this season (they've done it six times, the last on Sunday against the Braves). Lefty starter Brandon Williamson suffered the loss after allowing three runs on two hits with a season-high-tying four walks over two innings of work. He needed 25 pitches in the first inning and threw 39 more in the second.

O’s starter Cole Irvin came out after the long rain delay that started at 8:22 p.m. and lasted an hour and 44 minutes. He went three innings, allowing one run on three hits on 45 pitches. He retired the last seven batters he faced after allowing a first-inning run.

Last night marked the 10th time in the last 16 games that Baltimore pitchers allowed three runs or fewer, and they are 8-2 in those games.

O’s starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer 15 times in the past 16 games, with a rotation ERA of 3.68 in this span. Over a longer stretch, they have done this 24 times the past 26 games, for an ERA of 3.88 and 12 quality starts.

Right-hander Tyler Wells (6-3, 3.22 ERA), still the MLB-leader in WHIP at 0.888, will make his 15th start in Game 2 of this series. The Orioles are 9-5 in Wells’ starts. He has allowed two earned runs or less 10 times.

Over his pasts five games, Wells is 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA, a .204 batting average against and .655 OPS. In eight home starts this season, he is 4-2 with a 2.52 ERA. And while his homer rate is 2.70 in road games, it is 1.26 at Oriole Park.

Lefty Andrew Abbott (3-0, 1.14 ERA) has pitched very well for the Reds. The rookie drafted in the second round in 2021 out of the University of Virginia has allowed just three earned runs over 23 2/3 innings in four starts, and the Reds are 4-0 in those games.

Since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, Abbott is the only major league pitcher to begin his career with three consecutive scoreless starts of at least five innings, per Elias Sports. He started his career with 17 2/3 scoreless, a new club record since 1893. But then Colorado’s Brenton Doyle hit a leadoff homer in Abbott’s fourth start. The previous team record was held Wayne Simpson, who in 1970 began his career with 15 scoreless innings. In the Expansion Era (since 1961), his 17 2/3 innings scoreless streak to begin his career tied for the 16th-longest such streak among all major league pitchers.

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