DETROIT – Kyle Bradish is tearing into a variety pack of starts in 2023.
A line drive smacks into his right foot in Texas and puts him on the injured list. He returns with six scoreless innings in D.C. The Red Sox rock him for seven runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings in his home debut.
Bradish hadn’t faced the Tigers until today. Hard to know what they had in store for him.
Four scoreless innings were followed by catcher Jake Rogers’ two-run homer, Javier Báez’s run-scoring double, a hit batter and a couple of long and loud outs in the fifth. Bradish couldn’t finish the frame.
A lead shrank but didn’t disappear.
Cionel Pérez stranded two runners to begin the reliever parade, Ryan Mountcastle ended his RBI drought, Adam Frazier matched his home run total from last season, and the Orioles claimed their sixth series in a row with a 5-3 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park.
This is the first time that the Orioles won six consecutive series since July 21-Aug. 13, 2014. They moved 10 games above .500 for the first time since Sept. 3. Nineteen wins leave them one behind the World Series teams in 1969 and 1970 for the most in 28 games.
"Just try to go game-to-game, series-to-series, and we've done a great job with that," said manager Brandon Hyde. "Just real proud of our effort this series. Go 6-1 against a team, that's hard to do. A lot of close games, but for the most part I thought we played really well. It's hard to win series in the big league and we're doing a great job with that right now."
Yennier Cano struck out Rogers to strand two inherited runners in the eighth, retired the side in order in the ninth and recorded the four-out save. Opposing batters are 0-for-32 with a hit by pitch this season.
"Can't even describe it," Hyde said. "Has anybody seen that? No? So it's indescribable.
"He's up there with a ton of confidence and he's throwing a ball that's moving two feet down at 95 mph with a good changeup, also. Take your chances on probably either a ground ball or a punchout. He's been enormous for us."
"To be doing it at this level just shows the kind of pitcher he is and the kind of stuff he has," Bradish said.
"It's fun to watch," Frazier said. "It's impressive. He's throwing sinkers that look like they move about three feet and a changeup that falls off the table. Doesn't look like a comfortable at-bat for lefties or righties right now. We're going to try to keep him right where he's at and keep that coming."
Jorge Mateo tacked on an insurance run with his sixth homer leading off the ninth, flipping his bat, pumping his arms and yelling at the dugout. He did a mini-skip approaching third base, pointing toward the sky and clapped his hands.
Cano stuck with his routine of straddling the mound and staring down the batter.
These Orioles are feeling it.
"A lot of fun, there's no doubt," Hyde said. "Just a great energy in our clubhouse and our dugout. There is when you win, and when you win series and you're playing the way we are. Super supportive. Sprinklers are out and we're spitting water, and doing all sorts of water-type of activities. They're having a lot of fun with it."
"Any time you're winning games, everything is good," Frazier said. "We have an off-day coming up and try to take it to Kansas City, and one game at a time. Everybody plays hard, plays together, cheers for each other, and that's what you're going to get."
The Orioles scored a run each inning from the second through the fifth, capped by Austin Hays’ sacrifice fly after Mountcastle’s second double of the day.
Frazier lined a fastball from Spencer Turnbull over the right field fence at 103.3 mph in the fourth inning, needing only 354 feet to claim his third home run – the same amount that he hit in 156 games with the Mariners.
"I feel like the swing's in a good place," he said. "Last year I was kind of searching for most of the season. We've been working pretty hard with the hitting coaches here and I feel like I'm in a good place. The bat path's working, so that leads to some more I guess power."
Adley Rutschman and Mountcastle had back-to-back doubles in the third inning to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Mountcastle failed to record an RBI since April 16, a span of 11 games.
The baseball gods finally cut him a break. He was long overdue.
Hays led off the second with a walk, Gunnar Henderson reached on second baseman Zach McKinstry’s fielding error, and Ryan O’Hearn singled with two outs.
Batting the designated hitter ninth made sense for the Orioles today.
Hyde would like to know the logic behind his club’s inability to coast to a win.
Bradish retired 12 of 15 batters heading into the fifth. Vierling singled and Rogers launched a sinker 410 feet to left field to trim the lead to 4-2. McKinstry’s fly ball to right-center carried 405 feet, but Cedric Mullins ran it down at the track.
Riley Greene singled, Javier Báez followed with his RBI double, Bradish hit Spencer Torkelson, who glared at the right-hander, and Hyde removed his starter at 78 pitches.
"I think I just got out of zone, mechanics are a little off," Bradish said. "I think I threw the ball well for the first four innings but it's kind of tough to overlook that fifth inning. But we got a win and a series win, and that's all that matters."
Third base umpire Edwin Moscoso ruled that Nick Maton didn’t check his swing on Pérez’s two-strike slider, though replays contradicted him. Maton put his hands on his head and stared in disbelief for several seconds before shouting at Moscoso.
Bradish was charged with three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. His ERA is 6.14.
Bradish has his slider working early, getting three strikeouts in two innings and retiring Vierling on a bouncer to the mound to strand Nick Maton after a one-out double in the second.
The Tigers put two runners on base in the fourth, after Bradish had retired 10 of 11 batters, and Akil Baddoo struck out on another slider.
Before today, Bradish had used the slider 14.4 percent per STATS. The curveball replaced it as his primary secondary pitch.
The sinker and four-seamer were more prevalent pitches in the fifth.
"I can throw strikes with all my pitches," Bradish said, "but we were hammering the slider early, so we were trying to get on them with fastballs because they were kind of sitting soft, and I just wasn't landing them."
Austin Voth tossed two scoreless innings and left an inherited runner for Danny Coulombe with no outs in the eighth. Zach Short had a pinch-hit single with one out, but Coulombe also struck out two batters and passed the lead to Cano.
The bullpen held the Tigers to one hit in 4 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out seven and lowering its ERA to 2.86, the third lowest in the majors.
"They're electric," Bradish said. "Cano, Danny, Voth, Cionel came in and picked me up and shut it out. Having them out there is very, very encouraging when you have to come out of the game."
"It gives us a chance to win every night," Frazier said.
"Obviously, bullpen has been a huge difference this year and last year compared to years before," Hyde said. "Our bullpen won us the game today. We're holding onto a 4-3 lead there, Cionel maybe the biggest out of the game at the time. Coulombe in a tough spot, Cano gets him out of that. Picking each other up, putting zeros up on the board. Austin Voth did a great job going two-plus innings. That's what we did last year, too. Bullpen keeping the score tight, keeping the score there. We're holding onto a lead. Really happy with how they're throwing the ball."
* Mullins led off the first with a single and stole his 11th base, the most in modern franchise history through April. He was tied with Jorge Mateo this season and Brian Roberts in 2005 and 2008.
* The Orioles are listing their starters in Kansas City as Tyler Wells on Tuesday, Kyle Gibson on Wednesday and TBA on Thursday, which would be Dean Kremer’s spot. The Royals are starting Ryan Yarbrough, Zack Greinke and Jordan Lyles.
* Shayne Fontana, Mark Kolozsvary and Daz Cameron homered today for Triple-A Norfolk. Fontana also tripled and drove in three runs.
Ryan Watson tossed four scoreless innings in relief.