Santander homers twice and Rodriguez completes seven innings in 6-2 win (updated)

Reliever Jacob Webb mulled the latest injury that threatens to derail the Orioles, the sprained elbow ligament that might lead to surgery for Kyle Bradish, and pointed to a clubhouse full of players who rally in these situations.

“We’re pretty good at picking each other up,” he said.

Can be a starter or reliever. Can be a hitter. Brush it off and go play.

Grayson Rodriguez was the starter, allowing two runs in a season-high seven innings. Anthony Santander was the hitter, homering twice and finishing with four RBIs in the Orioles' 6-2 victory over the Phillies before an announced sellout crowd of 44,555 at Camden Yards.

Bryan Baker retired the side in order in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel struck out three batters in the ninth to improve the Orioles’ record to 46-24 and prevent a three-game losing streak that would have tied their longest of the season.

"I didn't know how we were going to respond," said manager Brandon Hyde. "Watching what happened with Kyle last night, obviously people are down and thinking about him and hoping for the best."

Santander hit his second game-tying home run in less than 24 hours, with his solo shot leading off the fourth erasing a 2-1 deficit. He launched a splitter from Taijuan Walker 424 feet at 106.9 mph off the bat.

Following Ryan O’Hearn’s leadoff single in the eighth, Santander delivered a two-run shot that measured 425 feet and gave him 17 home runs this season and eight this month. He has 17 hits in June.

The weather is heating up, and so is Santander. Tony’s definitely gonna tater.

"It's something, I don't know why it happens, but I feel great when it's hot," he said. "I'm from Venezuela, so it's always 90-95. I wish it can be hot the whole year, but it isn't."

There's more than just the temperature that gets Santander on a scorcher, but he stays modest. It's not just the heat, it's the humility.

"Be on time with the fastball," he said. "That's the most important thing, to be able to recognize off-speed and try to hit pitches in the zone and try not to chase."

Today marked the 14th time that Santander has hit multiple home runs in a game. His RBI total grew to 42.

"He's on time with the heater," Hyde said. "I know the homers, one was a split and one was off-speed, but he's getting those pitches because they can't rush the heater up on him like they were kind of doing early in the year. Last night he got on top of a heater right-handed. More on time with the fastball and he's kind of buying some off-speed stuff in the middle of the plate and he's not missing it."

Ryan Mountcastle and O’Hearn singled in the sixth and Santander flied to center field for a 3-2 lead. He expanded it later, and Gunnar Henderson’s RBI single removed a save situation.

Being short in the bullpen made Baker the choice in the eighth against the two-through-four hitters.

"We were staying away from a few guys today," Hyde said. "(Nick) Vespi just got off a plane a few hours ago. It was (Dillon) Tate and Baker and we talked before the game about where the three guys were going to be pocketed, and Bake had the hardest part of the lineup. And to go in there in a one-run game and do what he did against the meat of the order was really impressive. So happy for us and happy for Bake."

Kimbrel pitched with a four-run lead, likely making him unavailable Sunday. Phillies fans gave him a reception that wasn't as warm as the weather. One group behind the visiting dugout stood and mocked his mound pose and continued to do so after a leadoff walk. That was the last of their taunting.

"It's not something you usually get in your home stadium," Kimbrel said. "Phillies fans, they travel deep and they were hear today and I definitely heard them. I needed to get through that inning today because we needed a win. We played a really good ballgame. Last night was one of those ones you fought hard to get back in it and I think the rain delay kind of slowed us down. To come out today and get back on the board and get a win, that's where I was today. That's why it was fortunate that it wasn't a save situation, but I've still got a job to do and that's finish the game and get us in here and go home.

"I was in Philadelphia all of last year, so I knew the fans would travel, especially being so close. I figured I'd get a nice reception from them."

Explaining Kimbrel's appearance, Hyde said, "We only had a couple other guys and a four-run lead with a three-batter minimum is for me a save situation, especially against this club. I think he understood the situation, where we were in our bullpen today, and he took the ball."

Rodriguez retired the first two batters in the first inning and allowed a run on Bryce Harper’s single and a double by Alec Bohm, whose two-bagger last night in the 11th gave the Phillies a 5-3 win.

Edmundo Sosa led off the second inning by going opposite field with a slider and lifting it onto the flag court for a 2-0 lead.

Pitching coach Drew French came to the mound in the sixth after a two-out single by Bohm and double by Bryson Stott. Rodriguez struck out Sosa on eight pitches, giving him three in the inning. He spun on the mound, clenched his right hand and shouted.

"Felt like a playoff game," he said. "It was a pretty hostile environment. Having a lot of the Phillies fans there, that helped me a lot. Obviously you want to see the stadium packed out in orange, but there was some animosity there, and man, it made pitching fun today. That was a fun game."

Rodriguez had one more jam to escape before earning his team-leading eighth victory. Garrett Stubbs singled with one out, broke too early for second base on a steal attempt and was safe after Mountcastle’s throw nailed him in the back. Rodriguez retired Johan Rojas on a soft liner to short and Kyle Schwarber on a bouncer to first.

"That's a very momentum-driven team and obviously they had it there in the first two innings," Rodriguez said. "Really just trying to shut that down, limit their damage early, trying to keep them out of the game."

The outing lowered Rodriguez’s ERA to 3.20, and 2.72 since his reinstatement from the injured list.

"That was an amazing performance," Hyde said. "He just continues to do what he's done the last few starts. Not walking people, fastball command. Just made a couple mistakes on a couple sliders, but besides that, that's a great lineup over there that he held in check for seven innings. Awesome job."

Cedric Mullins charged two sinking liners and made diving catches to assist Rodriguez, and the Orioles turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the second.

"I've got to buy Ced a really big Christmas present," Rodriguez said. "He was phenomenal out there. That's one of the best center fielders in the game. Anytime you give up a hit to center field, you're really not expecting a hit because you know he's out there. And I think today he really helped me at the beginning of the game. I wouldn't have been in the game near as long without him out there today, that's for sure."

Walker, who brought a 5.40 ERA into the game, stranded two runners in the second inning by snaring Colton Cowser’s liner up the middle. Ramón Urías led off the third with a double, moved up on Gunnar Henderson’s infield single and scored on Adley Rutschman’s liner to right field. Rutschman leads the club with 52 RBIs.

Left-hander Gregory Soto replaced Walker in the sixth with two runners on base and two outs, and pinch-hitter Austin Hays struck out on three pitches. The Orioles were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position last night and 1-for-5 today after the Hays at-bat.

They finished 2-for-7 with eight men left on base. They also lifted another fallen teammate, as they always do.

"I think this team's special in a way that, we're always going to pick each other up," Rodriguez said. "We've always got each other's back. And the cool thing about this club is so many of us played together in the minor leagues. We've known each other for so long. It's almost like we're family. I think a lot of other teams don't have that and I think that's our strongest asset here."

"Anytime you have guys who we view as big parts of this team and the success of this team, I think you step back and say, 'Man, this is going to be tough,'" Kimbrel said. "But at the same time, the game of baseball, there's always guys that when things like that happen opportunities open up for other guys. Guys start getting to pitch in situations they haven't and you really get to see what guys are made of. I think that's a question that, when you do start having guys going down is, are we going to be able to keep it rolling?' I think as long as we go out there and keep on playing good ball, all those questions will answer themselves."

"It's painful, losing those guys," Santander said. "We know what they can do to help us win games. We just need the next guy to step up and do the job and just going and keep winning games."

* Right-hander Corbin Martin cleared outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk, which opens a spot on the 40-man roster.

The Orioles claimed Martin on waivers from the Brewers on May 13 and he allowed nine runs (eight earned) and 15 hits in 9 2/3 innings. He also walked nine batters.

The Orioles signed left-hander Cooper McKeehan to a minor league contract and assigned him to Single-A Delmarva.

McKeehan, 23, was a 16th-round draft pick of the Royals in 2022 out of BYU. He posted a 9.56 ERA and 2.438 WHIP this year in 14 relief appearances at High-A Quad Cities, walking 13 batters in 16 innings. He registered a 1.08 ERA and 0.780 WHIP last summer in 31 appearances with Single-A Columbia.

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O's game blog: The Orioles and Phillies, Game 2

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