ANAHEIM – In the end right-hander Shintaro Fujinami was on the mound, the Orioles eighth pitcher of the night, looking for his second career save.
And a game where the O's led, were tied, trailed, led again and were tied again, would end in an O's victory. They pushed across a run in the top of the 10th and Fujinami got the save in the last of the tenth, stranding the tying run on third with one out.
The 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels gives Baltimore an 87-51 record and four-game win streak and the O's maintain a 3.5 game lead on Tampa Bay, which won earlier.
The Orioles, who have 24 regular-season games left, have won six straight series and are 38-16 (.703) since July 5 - the best record in the AL in that span.
In the O's 10th, placed runner Austin Hays advanced from second to third on a groundball and scored the winning run on a Jordan Westburg groundout for the 5-4 edge.
In the last of the tenth, Fujinami got a deep fly out that advanced placed runner Randal Grichuk to third with one out. But with the tie run 90 feet away, he fanned Trey Cabbage swinging at a 100 mph heater and Nolan Schanuel on a splitter at 93.8 mph.
He threw nine pitches, seven for strikes in recording his second career save. The first was Aug. 13 at Seattle.
This wild game saw the Orioles two outs away from losing 3-2 in the ninth, but they scored twice to take a 4-3 lead to the last of the ninth. There the Angels scored with two outs to tie it and force extra innings.
The Angels closer Carlos Estevez, with 29 saves in 31 chances, started the ninth with a 3-2 lead and got Aaron Hicks to fly out. But pinch hitter Adam Frazier blooped a double to left. He scored when pinch-hitter Ryan O'Hearn singled to left-center. After Adley Rutschman walked, Ryan Mountcastle's single to right scored the fourth run for the 4-3 lead. Second baseman Brandon Drury appeared in position to make a play on the ball but didn't get to it and the O's took the lead.
But one out away from a win in regulation, the O's could not get it. Yennier Cano had pitched in back-to-back games and was unavailable per Brandon Hyde postgame, so left-hander DL Hall came on for the ninth with the lead.
He allowed a one-out double to Luis Rengifo and issued a two-out walk. Then Mickey Moniak hit a groundball single into right and it was tied 4-4. Joey Krehbiel got the last out of the ninth and the game moved to the 10th.
Early on the O's had a 2-0 lead but in the last of the eighth, the Angels, who had tied it in the seventh, took the lead 3-2.
A Trey Cabbage RBI single in the eighth off O's righty Jacob Webb after Eduardo Escobar's two-out triple put Los Angeles up 3-2.
The Orioles, who had scored 21 runs in winning the last three on this trip, took a 2-0 lead tonight in the top of the third.
Against lefty Reid Detmers, Jorge Mateo singled to left with a 106 mph shot and then stole second base, his 27th steal. Adley Rutschman hit his own shot to left, this single scoring Mateo for a 1-0 lead. Rutschman advanced to second on the throw home. When Ryan Mountcastle singled, Rutschman advanced to third and stopped there until left fielder Randal Grichuk bobbled the ball and he scored for the 2-0 edge.
The Orioles had three hits against Detmer an inning later in the fourth but ran into an out at home as the lead remained 2-0. Austin Hays led off with a single and tried to score on Jordan Westburg’s one-out double to center but was cut down 9-6-2. Aaron Hicks had an infield single to put runners on the corners, but Ryan McKenna lined out to left.
O’s right-hander Dean Kremer rolled through the first three innings tonight on two hits and 39 pitches. But despite not giving up a run, he lasted just 4 2/3 innings.
He had a long fourth of 28 pitches where he stranded two runners, getting Grichuk to ground out to end that threat. And then he got the first two outs of the Angels fifth. But then two walks and an infield hit loaded the bases and manager Brandon Hyde went to the bullpen for a left-on-left matchup, Cionel Peréz against Mike Moustakas. Peréz won that battle getting the former KC Royal to ground out on an 0-1 pitch, a 96 mph two-seam fastball.
So Kremer’s start lasted for just 14 outs and he allowed four hits and no runs. His ERA was lowered to 4.07 on 92 pitches. But this was just the sixth time in 28 starts he failed to pitch at least five innings.
Peréz got the first two outs of the Angels sixth and Jorge Lopez got the last out of that inning. So Peréz got three outs tonight and has not allowed an earned run in his last 13 innings over 16 games dating to July 26.
Detmer threw a strong game at the Orioles tonight, allowing nine hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings on 98 pitches. Jimmy Herget got the last out of the seventh, getting Mountcastle to ground out with two on.
Detmers had pitched to an ERA of 7.94 with an OPS against of .993 in five August starts. But he has now allowed just four runs in 17 2/3 career innings against the Orioles.
The Angels broke through in the seventh to tie this game 2-2 against the O’s bullpen. Leadoff hitter Nolan Schanuel singled with one out off Lopez and Brandon Drury smoked a double into the left-center gap and the O’s lead was shaved to 2-1. Danny Coulombe came on, got a big strikeout, but needing one out to end the inning, allowed an RBI single to Mike Moustakas and the game was even at 2-2.
But this three-hour and 16-minute ten inning affair ended with the Orioles moving 36 games over .500. They are now 25-12 in one-run games and 10-6 in extra innings.
Manager Brandon Hyde on the crazy late innings: “Two guys come off the bench and get huge hits for us in a big spot. Our bullpen, we’re going to have nights when we are not perfect. We’ve been so good all year. It was just kind of a tough, piece it together a little bit. Angels made it tough.
“But Frazier and O’Hearn, two ultra, ultra pros, two enormous hits for us. Got to give credit to a lot of people. Just Gunn (Henderson) putting the ball in play with two strikes in the tenth. Westy (Westburg) putting the ball in play, Hays running on contact to score that run.
“And our man Fuji, that’s the stuff we’re looking for right there. Taking a chance with the stuff there. Three lefties and hopefully he could get a punchout or two and he did. Hopefully, that can get him going a little bit. That was unbelievable pitching in the tenth inning."
Kremer on Fuji: “Huge. Every time he steps out there and has a good one or a clean one, it’s definitely a confidence builder for him and for us as well.
“His stuff is different. I mean he throws 100 mph with ease and his splitter is really, really good."
O’Hearn on O's pulling this one out: "I think it is just another example of how we approach the game. The never-say-die attitude. Guys taking every at-bat one pitch at a time. Not trying to get ahead of ourselves. Trust your teammates. No one trying to do it all themselves with a big homer or anything. We’ve got really talented hitters up and down the lineup and depth like that helps."