Pitching carries the night in homestand opener (plus O's alums on anniversary)

The Orioles returned home and the winning continued Friday as Dean Kremer, Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista combined on a six-hit, 1-0 win over Pittsburgh.

For the Orioles (55-51), it was a nice start to a homestand.

Tampa Bay won Friday but Seattle lost, and the Mariners have now dropped into the third American League wild card spot. They lead the Orioles for that by 1 1/2 games. The O's are two games back of Tampa Bay, which holds the second AL wild-card berth. 

The Orioles went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position but the Baltimore pitchers made the one run stand up as they pitched their 10th shutout of the season and second in the last eight games. The 10 shutouts match the total from the full 2019 and 2021 seasons combined, when they had five each.

The Orioles have gone 20-7 the last 27 games. It's their best single-season 27-game stretch since going 20-7 from Aug. 28-Sept. 24, 2014.

The O's moved four over .500 for the first time since they were 12-8 on Aug. 15, 2020, and for the first time this late in a season since finishing 2016 at 89-73.

They have four 1-0 wins this year, their most since four in the 1983 season. 

The O's rotation has an ERA of 0.94 over its last five games and one turn through the rotation as Austin Voth, Spenser Watkins, Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish and Kremer have allowed three earned runs in 28 2/3 innings in that span.

The Orioles are 13-3 their past 16 home games and 30-20 at home on the year. It's their best 50-game home record since the 2016 team was 36-14.

Celebrating the Yard: The celebration of the 30th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards continues today in downtown Baltimore. The club will hold a special pregame ceremony, emceed by O’s broadcaster Brett Hollander, honoring Orioles from the last 30 years. The list includes Robert Andino, Mike Devereaux, Jay Gibbons, Chris Hoiles, Ubaldo Jiménez, Rodrigo López, Jeff Reboulet, Rick Sutcliffe and Hall of Famers Mike Mussina and Eddie Murray.

The gates open at 4 p.m. today for the 5:05 p.m. first pitch, and the ceremony will start at approximately 4:40 p.m. Murray and Mussina will throw out first pitches.

Media got to interview several of the returning players at the Warehouse yesterday. Here are some of their comments.

Sutcliffe said Camden Yards has sure aged well: “Yeah when you go to San Francisco, you have the bay. When you go to Petco (Park) the water is just right around the corner. I just don’t think you can do any better than what they’ve done here. Now I had (Mike) Devereaux and Brady Anderson going over the wall, it seemed, every five days to try and save me from giving up home runs. My career ERA took a beating while I was here, but it didn’t matter, I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Hoiles had similar comments: “The stadium, it hasn’t changed at all. To come back now it looks about the same, except for the wall moving back. It looks almost as nice today as it did 30 years ago.”

Gibbons was not on a playoff team but watched a postseason game in Baltimore in 2012 from the stands: “I think that was the first game I had been back in the stands since I played. The atmosphere was so electric in the stands. That was a good team. You could see the passion of the fans. I kind of always thought, if we had won, it would be like this every night. It really makes it a lot more fun to play when you are winning and the fans have that buzz around the city. I think we are starting to see that again now. I still follow a little bit back in Southern California. It’s going to happen again here and these stands will be filled again.”

Jiménez was excited to return to Baltimore: “Pretty special to be back. This team gave me an opportunity to see my dream come true when I signed as a free agent. We had special moments, like in 2014 when we won the division. So yeah, special to be back.

“As a player, that is the type of atmosphere that you dream of. Every time we got to the stadium we knew we were playing for something, and we had the fans backing us up. Hopefully, they again get that atmosphere, because the fans here deserve that.”

Jiménez said one of his best nights in baseball was starting the AL East clincher on Sept, 16, 2014 against Toronto in Baltimore: “I went to the World Series (in 2007 with Colorado) and I pitched a no-hitter (for the Rockies in 2010 at Atlanta), but that night, that was beautiful. That was beautiful. It was great to be part of that team, especially that night. Unbelievable.”

Reboulet hoping Oriole Park hosts a World Series one day: “I have played in a number of different places and great fan bases, but the Orioles fan base is awesome and they deserve that. Thought we had it in ’97, went wire to wire in the East. Had Hall of Famers on that team. Just didn’t work out. Some crazy games against Cleveland and little disappointed how that turned out. But the fans were awesome. If I am around and anyone recognizes me, it’s usually an Orioles fan because they know the game and they rooted for everybody on that team, not just the stars. We wanted to win it for the fans.”

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