Orioles swept in ALDS with 7-1 loss in Game 3 (updated)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Rookie Jordan Westburg struck out on three pitches, and the Orioles ran out of comebacks. Out of chances to keep playing. They’re going home, and not to host the decisive game.

A team that wasn’t swept in its last 91 series couldn’t squeeze a win out of the ALDS.

Dean Kremer allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings, with homers by Corey Seager and Adolis García traveling a combined 863 feet, and the Rangers rolled to a 7-1 win in Game 3 before an announced sellout crowd of 40,861, the largest ever at Globe Life Field.

The 101 wins in the regular season and first division title since 2014 must suffice. The launch out of the rebuild and the promise of many playoff teams in the future.

Players had to deal with the present as they sat in the dugout and watched the Rangers celebrate, then made the painful walk back to their clubhouse. The best record in the league didn’t give them a pass.

Many of the players hung at the railing as if burning the images into their brains for future reference.

"Just soaking it in," said Ryan Mountcastle, "and hopefully that's us next year."

The clubhouse was silent, players slumped in their chairs, except for the occasional sound of a back slapped during a tight embrace. Manager Brandon Hyde went around the room and hugged every player.

"I appreciate you," one Oriole told him.

"I appreciate you," Hyde replied.

Hyde will view the season as a success, of course.

“How can I not?” he said. “We were supposed to win 76 games. Won 101, won the American League East. Really proud of our group. They defied all the odds. Nobody gave us a chance. These guys played their butts off for six months. We just didn't play well for these last three, unfortunately. And it's definitely a successful season and these guys are going to be really good going forward.”

Some eyes were moist. Some of the words got lodged in throats.

"It doesn't matter when you lose that last game, it stinks," said Kyle Gibson. "For a team to accomplish what we did, I think it's important for these guys to remember that, sure, came up short. This isn't where we wanted this to end. But the reason it hurts so much, you put seven, eight months of work into it and accomplish a lot of really good things. And will in the future, more on the horizon. And just come up short. But this is a really good group.

"Hyder said something at the end, and everything was right. These guys are going to experience a lot of this coming up, so they've got to remember these experiences, understand how much fun it is, and they'll be back."

"I loved playing with these guys all year," said Ryan O'Hearn. "A lot of good people in here, and showing up and working with them every day has been a pleasure. It didn't end like we wanted it to, but I appreciate all these guys. And it wasn't for a lack of effort, it wasn't for a lack of being prepared or anything like that. Just the way that it shakes out."

Asked how much he enjoyed the season, O'Hearn said, "I had a blast, man. Most fun year of my career, without a doubt."

That's what made the night so emotional and had O'Hearn fighting to maintain his composure.

"Yeah, for sure," he said. "For sure."

Kremer allowed seven hits and walked a batter in his shortest start since lasting one-third of an inning on June 24, 2021 against the Blue Jays in Buffalo. He was removed for Tyler Wells tonight after 53 pitches.

"Made a couple mistakes, but even the balls that were just off were still getting hit and landing," he said. "It's a hot team right now, one of the best lineups you're going to face."

The rotation totaled eight innings, with Grayson Rodriguez also going 1 2/3 in Game 2 and Texas also scoring five runs in the second. The starters allowed 13 runs and 20 hits.

“Something we need to work on as a pitching staff going into spring training next year, making more competitive pitches with two strikes,” Hyde said. “We got hurt a lot on that. The Seager homer, a change-up he pulled. Just tough time putting guys away there.”

The Rangers held a moment of silence before the game for the lives lost in Israel from attacks Hamas launched on towns that border the Gaza Strip. Kremer has dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship and visits extended family members during the offseason.

He insisted on pitching tonight, assuring Hyde without hesitation but also telling the media later how “it's going to be in the back of my head.”

Kremer faced 13 batters and eight reached. A tough finish for a guy who started the two clinching games. An assignment made more difficult because the Rangers offense is relentless.

"I don't know that anybody in this game has ever dealt with what he had to deal with today," Gibson said, his voice cracking. "Yeah, I feel for him. He's got so much on his mind right now. I'm super proud of him. What he did today. You find me another example of somebody who went through what he's gone through the last five days and go out there and do what he did. Really proud of him."

Seager crushed a changeup with one out in the first inning, the ball traveling 445 feet to right field for his record eighth career postseason home run at Globe Life Field. A closed roof already made the ballpark ear-piercingly loud. Seager’s swing almost punctured a hole through it.

Kremer also allowed back-to-back two-out singles and threw 22 pitches. Hyde said it was “all hands on deck.” He wanted to avoid signaling for one until much later.

Nathaniel Lowe led off the second with a 15-pitch at-bat, fouling off seven in a row before lining to left. Rookie Josh Jung singled on the next pitch from Kremer, Marcus Semien doubled with two outs and Seager was given an intentional walk to load the bases. García fell behind 1-2 and barreled a fastball.  

Fans went from booing the intentional walk to erupting over the home run. Their mood shifted. The series did not.

Seager drew his ninth walk in the fourth against Gibson, a Division Series record. And the most in a three-game span in postseason history.

Gibson, bypassed for the start, allowed one run and one hit in three innings. Lowe led off the sixth with a 437-foot homer, increasing the longball distance for the Rangers to 1,300 feet.

Nathan Eovaldi pounded the zone, throwing 41 of 51 pitches for strikes in the first four innings. He allowed one run in seven innings to lower his career postseason ERA to 2.70, throwing 76 of 98 pitches for strikes and receiving a curtain call.

“They pitched really well, and hats off to Eovaldi tonight and some of their other guys," Mountcastle said. "They got timely hits, and it is what it is.”

Gunnar Henderson had a run-scoring single with two outs in the fifth, and his three hits made him 6-for-12 in the playoffs. O’Hearn snapped an 0-for-26 spell with a single in the fourth. But Cedric Mullins went 0-for-12 in the ALDS and was 2-for-48 in his last 14 games with an at-bat.

DL Hall struck out three batters in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Hyde brought in Yennier Cano to get the last out in the eighth, playing matchups until the end.

Aroldis Chapman loaded the bases in the top of the eighth and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks ran the count full and bounced out against José Leclerc. The last gasp.

"It feels like we're taking those baby steps," Mullins said. "At the end of the day, expectations for us weren't high. We exceeded them in a big way. So, continue to press forward in that sense and come back next year."

“I know there’s going to be a lot made of getting swept for the first time in however long," Gibson said, "but I think no matter how you lose, it’s frustrating because you put yourself in a position where we thought, this is a really good team, right? Anything can happen in the playoffs in three games, four games, whatever it is. So, I don’t think there’s anything to the sweep or anything you take extra. No matter how you lose, it hurts. It’s a really good group of guys and I think that adds a little bit of sting to it, too, because we know that we have something special and you want to try to capitalize on that whenever you can.”

The Orioles’ 101 wins tied the 1971 team for fourth-most in franchise history. They lost the World Series in seven games in ’71. This year’s club didn’t reach the Championship Series.

The ’72 Orioles didn’t make the playoffs. Expectations will soar in 2024.

Small consolation after being grounded tonight.

"It's definitely not how you want to end it," Henderson said. "Hate that it ended that way, but there's good that can come out of this. We can use it as fuel for next year. Just don't want to feel this feeling again, so I'm sure everybody's going to have that on their minds going into the offseason and especially into next year."

"This feeling sucks," Kremer said, "but on the bright side, this is our first taste of the postseason. Pretty much everybody in this clubhouse is coming back, so a lot of good years to look forward to.

“Each of us individually had our own ups and downs throughout the season and just looking for do it again next year.”

"Baseball sometimes does what baseball does," Mullins said, "and just don't come out on top."

Perhaps it will be the Orioles celebrating again next fall, with another team watching from the dugout.

"We have a lot of guys who have never been to the postseason before, so this hurts, and it's OK to hurt,” Hyde said. “It's OK to have this kind of fuel your fire in the offseason. It's going to take a while for us to get over this a little bit. But I think our guys will come in hunting and hungry in spring training. The guys coming back, especially the young guys, know what this feels like, knowing what it tastes like, and it sucks. If they did soak it in a little bit, they're going to be better for it down the road.”

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