ANAHEIM, Calif. – It was another night where an Orioles starter kept his team in the game and another night where that pitcher allowed two earned runs or fewer. That is an ongoing O’s team record.
But one pitching stat did take a hit tonight: the O’s staff had allowed just six homers in the first 14 games – tied for fewest in MLB with San Francisco. But they yielded three tonight – including a tie-breaking shot by Brandon Marsh in the sixth – as the Los Angeles Angels took a 4-2 lead.
But on this night, the Orioles had a comeback in them.
They scored three times in the top of the seventh off the Angels bullpen and won 5-4 in front of 43,883 at Angel Stadium. They improved to 6-9 overall and 5-4 in their past nine games.
The Orioles have won three of four and have won a series for the second time this season.
Against lefty Aaron Loup, the O’s rally began with catcher Anthony Bemboom’s bunt single, then Angels third sacker Anthony Rendon robbed Jorge Mateo with a diving stop to his left. But Rendon would moments later make a poor throw that aided the rally following a hit by pitch and the bases were loaded with one out with the O’s down two.
Trey Mancini, swinging 3-0, hit a sac fly to left and it was a 4-3 game. All the runners moved up, putting two in scoring position for Ryan Mountcastle, who came through big. Mountcastle delivered a two-run single to left off a Ryan Tepera slider for a 5-4 Baltimore lead. They left the bases loaded but not before scoring three huge runs to move ahead.
After Spenser Watkins gave the O’s their 12th straight start allowing two earned runs or fewer, the Angels broke through against reliever Bryan Baker. In a 2-2 tie in the sixth, Marsh blasted that two-run shot against a 2-1 fastball as the Angels went ahead by two runs on their third homer of the night.
The Orioles had scored one run all year in the first inning as tonight’s game began, and then they got two in that opening inning off Angels right-hander Noah Syndergaard for the lead. They also stole three bases in that first inning. They had six all year coming in.
Cedric Mullins drew a walk to start it off, stole second and then Anthony Santander was hit by a pitch on the right hand. Mancini struck out, and while Mountcastle was batting, Mullins stole third. Then Mountcastle’s 107 mph line single to left gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead as Santander took third. That was important when Rougned Odor hit a fly to deep center to score Santander for the 2-0 edge.
Santander, who ranks among the AL leaders in on-base percentage, reached base for the 15th straight game to start the season. That is the best streak this year in MLB. And it marks the longest on-base streak by an Orioles batter to begin a season since Manny Machado reached safely in 17 straight games to begin the 2017 campaign.
Watkins, making his third start, got Shohei Ohtani on a groundout to start the home first. But Mike Trout then homered to right-center to cut the O’s lead to 2-1. Trout hit No. 3 this year and No. 313 for his career, blasting a 1-0 fastball 408 feet.
Watkins walked a couple, but did not allow another hit after the first inning until Trout got him again. With two outs and none on in the fifth, he homered to left on a 1-0 curveball. He smoked the ball 417 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph.
For Trout, he set a franchise record with his 21st career multi-homer game. It was his first such game since Aug. 10, 2020, and he now has 22 homers in 60 career games versus Baltimore pitchers.
Watkins threw five innings, allowing three hits and the two runs with three walks and three strikeouts on 76 pitches. Watkins recorded just six swing and miss strikes combined in his first two outings and he got 10 tonight in 34 swings by Angels batters.
The O’s rotation ERA during this run of 12 straight games allowing two earned runs or fewer is 1.87.
Once again, the Orioles bullpen came up big in a win. Joey Krehbiel put up a zero as the O's defense avoided disaster in the eighth. Ryan McKenna dropped a liner in the gap and it went for a two-base error. That left runners on second and third with one out and the Angels down one. Krehbiel then got a popup and flyout to strand the two runners. Impressive poise as the O's kept the lead. Krehbiel has now thrown 8 1/3 without allowing an earned run.
In the ninth, Jorge López fanned Ohtani when down 3-0 on the count and got Rendon to ground out to end it with a man on to close out another win. It's his third save in the last four days and second in two games in this series.
He gave up a homer tonight but Bryan Baker picked up his first MLB win.
Postgame quotes follow.
Manager Brandon Hyde on the win, and late relief: “Both (Krehbiel and López) threw the ball extremely well. Lopie there, tough spot for anybody. Not only the ninth inning with a one-run lead but you have to face Ohtani, Trout and Rendon. Really happy with both those guys. Once again we pitched extremely well. Spenser Watkins gives us five innings, only gives up two runs, both solo homers to Trout. You know Bake (Baker) struggled a little but he’ll be fine. Tate pitched out of trouble and then Krehbiel and Lopie. They held a lead in this atmosphere, there were 44,000 people here, it was loud. You know, our guys are gaining confidence out of the ‘pen every single night."
Hyde on Mountcastle's go-ahead single: “Great at-bat. It was just a matter of time before Mounty gets a big hit for us. We have a bunch of guys right now that are taking better at-bats. We’re hitting the ball hard. We’re just not finding the hole every time right now. We’re just missing some balls that could change the game or put the game out of reach sometimes, give us an extended lead. That’s not happening but I think it’s a matter of time if we continue to take really good at-bats.
Mountcastle on his big hit in the seventh: “I was trying to see a pitch up that I could hit and drive. He left a slider a little bit up. I just tried to stay through it and got a hit and that was good for the team."
Watkins on his outing: “A good solid mix. We had a good plan going in with (Chris) Holt and Holmey (Darren Holmes) and Bemboom and we executed pretty well. The changeup made a big difference as well locating that fastball which I’ve been looking for the last few outings."