O's score four in the ninth to rally past Cincinnati (updated)

CINCINNATI – It was another night of good Orioles pitching, but the Birds eventually needed someone to come up with a clutch hit. Tied 2-2 in the ninth tonight, center fielder Cedric Mullins delivered the needed hit.

Mullins produced a two-run single to center to break a 2-2 tie and lift the Orioles to a road-trip opening 6-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the series opener in front of 23,658 at Great American Ball Park.

"I give a lot of credit to our guys throwing and keeping us in games," said Mullins. "You know we had a rough start and Tony came up big to tie the game and I was able to pick up a big hit late. I think it is a matter of staying focused and believing somone will come through."

The O’s were 0-for-9 on the night with runners in scoring position until Mullins drove in his 41st and 42nd RBIs. Righty Buck Farmer was on the mound for Cincinnati to start the ninth in the tie game and walked Ramón Urías. Ryan McKenna pinch ran and scampered to third on a double into the right-field corner by Rougned Odor.

Then after a shallow fly out by Jorge Mateo, Mullins, who was 0-for-4 on the night, singled on a first-pitch changeup. The O's then got some good fortune. Trey Mancini's grounder up the middle hit the second-base bag and went for an RBI single to make it a 5-2 lead.

The dugouts cleared briefly after reliever Dauri Moreta entered and hit Anthony Santander, who was 3-for-4 with a homer. Santander took a couple of steps toward the mound, the field was filled with players but soon that incident was over and play resumed. A Ryan Mountcastle sac fly followed for a 6-2 lead.

Said Santander of moving toward the mound: “You know, it wasn’t really anything about taking a step forward. It’s just letting the pitcher know that I that it was intentional. I know sometimes pitchers take offense to the fact that when you call time so close to the pitch being thrown, they can take offense to that and I get it. They might get hurt, or something like that. But at the same time you can’t be just throwing a pitch so inside like that. So I had to let him know and express how I felt.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said Mullins' hit opened the floodgates.

“Enormous. (Mike) Minor really gave us fits, he threw well and we didn’t great at-bats really the first six innings of the game. Our at-bats got better as the game went on. Once again, our pitching keeps us in the game. Kyle Bradish, five really good innings. No walks, really encouraging and our bullpen is doing what they’ve done all year," he said. 

The Orioles are 51-49 at the 100-game mark. They have won four of five, 16 of 21, 21 of 31 and 27 of 41 games. They improved to 16-7 in July.  

To begin the night, O's right-hander Kyle Bradish was making his first big league start since June 18 versus Tampa Bay, coming off the injured list today for his 11th start this season. He gave up an early homer. But really settled in to pitch well after that.

In the bottom half of the first, after Bradish had fanned Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham with a man on second, Joey Votto took him deep and the Reds led 2-0. Votto hit No. 9 on a first-pitch fastball at 97 mph that was high and in but he got enough bat to the ball to drive it just over the right-center wall over the leap of Santander. The blast, which went 373 feet, scored Jonathan India, after his leadoff double.

But Bradish would fan seven batters through four innings, getting two strikeouts each in the second and third innings. That left his four-inning pitch count at 73 as two of those strikeouts took a combined 20 pitches.

“It felt great (to be back)," said Bradish. "I’ve just been waiting to get activated. Felt great and that one, was pretty pleased with it. Could’ve thrown more strikes but didn’t really give up any hard contact. Even the home run, it wasn’t really a barrel. Executed a pitch and he got some wood on it. But overall, good first outing back."

The Orioles could not get much going early on against left-hander Mike Minor, who entered at 1-7 with a 6.65 ERA and had an ERA of 6.28 his past three starts.

Singles by Santander and Austin Hays put runners on the corners with one out in the second, but Minor got Urías and Odor to get out of it. The O’s put two on to start the fourth with a Mancini walk followed by Santander’s single. But that rally fizzled when Mountcastle flied to center and Hays bounced into a double play.

The O’s finally broke through to tie the game in the sixth as Santander came up with his third hit of the night. He drove a 3-2 changeup from Minor to the left field stands for a 2-2 tie. He hit No. 18 and it scored Mancini who had walked.

After five innings of some offensive frustration, the O’s got even on one swing.

Right-hander Joey Krehbiel replaced Bradish, who threw 81 pitches over five innings tonight in a solid outing that ended with four scoreless frames. He gave up five hits and two runs with no walks and seven strikeouts.

He came up an inning short of a quality start, which the O’s did not have in their previous 11 games coming into this one with a rotation ERA of 5.82 in that span.

Minor allowed two runs and four hits over 5 1/3 innings and when the teams turned this into a bullpen game tied 2-2, the stat sheet favored the Orioles. The Baltimore bullpen ranks third in MLB with an ERA of 3.01 and Cincinnati is 30th and last at 5.21.

The stat sheet proved correct as the O's bullpen pitched four scoreless tonight as the Orioles moved two games over .500 and the trip started in fine fashion. 

The Orioles are over the .500 mark 100 or more games into a year for the first time since the 2016 season.

This, that and the other
O's game blog: The road trip begins in Cincinnati ...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/