PHOENIX - The Orioles' path to a series win today at Arizona – and their 85th victory of the season – was far from easy. They took an early lead, got tied up in a two-run Arizona fifth and had to win this game a second time today.
They did by scoring four runs in the sixth to break a 4-4 tie and beat the Diamondbacks 8-5 to win the last two games of this series.
The O's start a nine-game road trip with a series win and are now 85-51. Baltimore has won eight of 11, 11 of 15 and 22 of its past 32 games as the road trip now heads to Anaheim, California.
The Orioles had lost their previous four series at Arizona, making today their first win of a series in this ballpark, and they are now 9-15 all-time against the Diamondbacks and 5-10 at Chase Field.
The task was made even tougher today because the opposing starter was Zac Gallen, a right-hander having a great year. He was the National League starting pitcher in this year's All-Star game.
In facing Gallen, the Orioles battled a contender for the NL Cy Young Award. A pitcher who was fifth for that honor in 2022.
He began today 14-6 with a 3.32 ERA. And his 1.97 ERA in 13 starts at Chase Field is the best home ERA in MLB. In 13 starts this year following a Diamondbacks loss, Gallen was 8-1 with a 1.95 ERA.
But the O’s got to him early with a couple of clutch, two-out hits.
With one out in the Orioles’ first, Gunnar Henderson singled to right and went to third on Anthony Santander’s ground ball single to right. After Ryan Mountcastle struck out – and while Ryan O’Hearn was batting – Santander stole second to put two in scoring position.
That would prove big when O’Hearn singled to center to score both runners. He hit a Gallen 2-1 fastball at 99.5 mph to give the Orioles the lead. O’Hearn is batting .323 this year with an OPS of .818 with runners in scoring position. It gave Baltimore a quick 2-0 edge. O'Hearn just keeps producing consistently for this team with loud exit velocities.
“He has just been a force in the middle of our order," manager Brandon Hyde said. "The at-bats he takes. The attitude he brings every single day, he’s just such a pro. He gives you four good at-bats a game. He’s been a huge lift for us.”
When Arizona’s Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit his 22nd homer in the last of the first off O's righty Jack Flaherty, the lead was cut in half to 2-1.
But Henderson’s two-run single in the O’s second, on a first-pitch curveball, extended the lead back to 4-1 off Gallen. It came with the bases loaded after singles by Ramón Urías and Adam Frazier and a walk to Adley Rutschman. Henderson is now 4-for-10 this year with a homer and 13 RBIs with the bases loaded.
When Arizona’s sensational rookie Corbin Carroll homered to right in the third, the D-backs halved the lead again and were down 4-2. Carroll hit No. 24 a distance of 417.
Two innings later, the D-backs would tie it 4-4 amidst some controversy. With a man on first and none out, Carroll hit a grounder up the middle. Henderson ranged over from short and tried to tag Geraldo Perdomo, the runner coming to second. Perdomo dove onto the infield grass to avoid the tag, and Henderson’s throw to first was late. So on a play where they should have gotten an out, they got none. Both those runners would score on a single and wild pitch to tie the game.
The Orioles challenged the play, believing Henderson did tag Perdomo, but they lost that challenge. It also appeared that Perdomo ran out of the baseline, but that was not called, either. And a team cannot challenge whether a runner ran out of the baseline.
But out of the frustration of the last of the fifth came a big O’s rally when they scored four in the top of the sixth. Their response to Arizona tying the game was quick, and turned the game back in their favor.
O’Hearn smoked a double off Gallen 105 mph to center to start the uprising. Then with one out, Cedric Mullins singled to center off the glove of second baseman Ketel Marte for a 5-4 lead. Mullins’ hit came off lefty reliever Kyle Nelson. After Urías singled, pinch-hitter Jordan Westburg doubled into the left field corner for a 6-4 lead. Then Rutschman greeted reliever Ryan Thompson with a two-run double for an 8-4 lead. He smoked the ball off the glove of first baseman Pavin Smith and into center field.
A nice answer to the D-backs tying this game.
“They’re good players. We have a good team," Hyde said. "And a lot of guys that are passing the baton on to the next guy. Just really good at-bats. Good baserunning. Putting pressure on the defense. We’ve been doing that all year.
“They responded extremely well after we didn’t get a call, an out-of-the-baseline situation. Kind of unfortunate there. I loved the way our team responded offensively.”
The homers and two runs that scored in the fifth that Flaherty allowed left him with a mixed bag of a start and a no-decision. He allowed four runs and six hits over 4 2/3 innings on 85 pitches.
“I mean, pretty good. Gave up solo home runs, that’s going to happen," he said of his outing. "Sometimes guys put good swings on balls when you are trying to fill up the zone. There in the fifth, kind of a weird inning there. But Danny did a good job of keeping it right there, 4-4. And the guys came out and put up four after, and that was that. The guys did a good job coming in out of the ‘pen. That was huge. You put up eight runs in a game when Gallen is pitching is huge."
Lefty Danny Coulombe, who followed him to the mound, got the win and is now 5-1 with an ERA of 2.51 after getting four big outs without allowing a hit or run.
“Huge spot for him," Hyde said of Coulombe. "And I usually don’t use him that early. I felt like that was a turning point in the game potentially."
Gallen allowed five runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 to take the loss and fall to 14-7.
The game saw the return of reliever Jorge López, who allowed a leadoff double, but pitched a scoreless eighth after the O's acquired him off waivers from Miami on Saturday. It was his first O's outing since July 29, 2022.
Former Oriole Christian Walker hit No. 30 in the ninth off Yennier Cano to complete today's scoring.