Orioles option Cowser to create roster space for Hicks (plus notes)

SAN DIEGO – The Orioles made the anticipated outfield switch today, reinstating Aaron Hicks from the 10-day injured list and optioning rookie Colton Cowser to Triple-A Norfolk.

Hicks strained his left hamstring July 24 while diving for a fly ball in Philadelphia – incorrectly ruled a catch – and returns after two rehab games with Norfolk.

Cowser is 7-for-61 with two doubles, four RBIs, 13 walks, 22 strikeouts and 15 runs scored in 26 games.

Cedric Mullins returned over the weekend in Seattle and won yesterday’s game by robbing Ty France of a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and delivering a two-run shot in the top of the 10th. His return cost Ryan McKenna a spot on the roster.

Mullins became the first player to rob a home run and hit one in the ninth inning or later of the same game over the last 10 seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Ryan Mountcastle will try to extend his on-base streak to 21 games tonight in the series opener against the Padres. He’s posted a .452 average in August, the sixth highest by an Orioles player in a single month in a minimum 40 at-bats, per STATS.

Robert Alomar batted .500 in September 1997. Ken Singleton posted a .472 average in April 1981, Dick Brown registered a .467 average in July 1964, Frank Robinson hit .463 in April 1966, and Don Baylor hit .456 in August 1973.

Brady Anderson matched Mountcastle’s average in September 1991.

Grayson Rodriguez is making his 16th major league start. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in each of the last four and lowered his ERA from 7.35 on May 26, when he was optioned, to 5.84.

Rodriguez hasn’t surrendered a home run in five starts since rejoining the club. Per STATS, he’s tied for the fourth-longest streak in club history among rookies pitching five or more innings in each appearance.

Zack Britton is first with seven consecutive games in 2011, followed by José Mesa in 1990 and Adam Loewen in 2006 with six in a row.

Seattle’s Bryce Miller is the only other rookie in 2023 with a streak of five games in a row, doing it to start the season. Rodriguez can overtake him tonight.

The Orioles own the best road record in the American League at 37-22 and the second-best in the majors behind Atlanta’s 38-22. The 158-point increase in road winning percentage from 2022 is the second largest in the majors behind the Reds.

The Orioles are 19-9 when tied after the sixth inning or later, best in the majors. The Padres are last at 4-18.

The Padres also are 6-19 in one-run games, losing six of the last seven. Only the 1935 Boston Braves at 7-31 had a worst record during the modern era, according to STATS.

Veteran Yu Darvish is 8-7 with a 4.19 ERA, 1.255 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings over 21 starts. He’s allowed two earned runs in his last three starts over 19 innings.

Darvish’s only regular season start against the Orioles came in 2016 with the Rangers, when he allowed three runs and six hits with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He started the 2012 Wild Card Game in Arlington and allowed two earned runs (three total) in 6 2/3 innings in the Orioles’ 5-1 win.

James McCann is 4-for-10 with a double and two home runs against Darvish. Adam Frazier is 3-for-20 and Ryan O’Hearn is 0-for-5.

Former Orioles infielder Manny Machado has registered a .966 OPS since the start of July, ninth in the National League.

The Padres have lost six of seven games and seven of nine to lower their record to 56-62. They’re 5 ½ games out of the wild card chase.

The Orioles went 1-3 against the Padres in 2019, splitting two in San Diego. They’ve won eight of 12 overall in San Diego.

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