O'Hearn, Santander and Westburg homer in eighth in Orioles' 5-3 victory (updated)

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CHICAGO – With two relief appearances in the past four days, Albert Suárez was put on a starter’s leash this afternoon that didn’t measure an exact length. Manager Brandon Hyde planned on checking with him after each inning. Maybe he’d go three, maybe four.

Suárez fielded a grounder and started a double play to end the third and leave him at 60 pitches. And he wasn’t done. Hyde sent him back out for the fourth and was rewarded with another scoreless inning.

Hyde wasn’t pushing Suárez beyond the 80 pitches thrown, and a scoreless game was passed to reliever Keegan Akin, who surrendered a two-out, bases-loaded triple to Gavin Sheets in the fifth. A death blow for some teams. A wake-up call for the Orioles, who hit three homers in the eighth in a 5-3 victory over the White Sox before an announced crowd of 22,283 at sunny Guaranteed Rate Field.

They can strike quickly, and less-than-ideal circumstances heading into a game don't faze them. An emergency starter, a sputtering offense, a short bullpen, whatever.

"That was a fun inning," Hyde said. "That game offensively for us sucked for seven. We didn't do anything offensively."

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O's game blog: Right-hander Albert Suarez makes the start in Game 3 of the series with the White Sox

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CHICAGO – With Dean Kremer going on the injured list Friday with a right triceps strain, the Orioles, at least for today, are moving right-hander Albert Suarez back into their rotation.

In 10 games, three starts this year, he is 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA. Over 25 1/3 innings he has allowed 18 hits and just one home run with six walks and 21 strikeouts. He has given up a .198 batting average and .560 OPS.

The team is 2-1 in his three starts. In his first two against the Twins and Angels, he pitched a combined 11 1/3 scoreless on seven hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.

In his last five appearances, all out of the bullpen, he has thrown 5 2/3 scoreless giving up three hits.

Right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde (4-1, 3.10 ERA) will make his 11th start and get the ball today for the home team.

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Stowers, Cowser and O'Hearn in today's Orioles lineup in Chicago

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CHICAGO – Kyle Stowers is in left field today and Ramón Urías is the third baseman, as the Orioles try to win a third consecutive game after being swept in St. Louis.

Ryan O’Hearn is in right field. Colton Cowser returns to center field after last night’s leaping catch at the fence to rob Tommy Pham of a home run and end the game.

Jordan Westburg’s RBI double last night snapped an 0-for-13 streak. He’s the second baseman today.

Gunnar Henderson and Houston’s Kyle Tucker are tied for the major league home run lead with 17. Henderson is swinging 56.1 percent of the time with two strikes, with eight of his home runs coming in those counts, per STATS.

Albert Suárez is making the start after the Orioles put Dean Kremer on the 15-day injured list with a strained right triceps. He’s made 10 appearances, the last seven in relief, and registered a posted a 1.78 ERA and 0.947 WHIP in 25 1/3 innings.

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Kicking around ideas for Kimbrel and the Orioles' closer's job

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Rarely do a reliever’s first warmup tosses in the bullpen create such a stir.

Craig Kimbrel wasn’t getting ready last night for the ninth inning. He was prepping for the seventh in a one-run game. Cue the gasps.

The Orioles went with the reset over their other options, and Kimbrel retired the Diamondbacks in order to preserve a 3-2 lead. One ball was scalded to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. Another ball drove right fielder Anthony Santander to the edge of the warning track. But they were outs. Do not quibble.

Kimbrel is working on his mechanics. He isn’t dealing with upper-back tightness or anything else physical. And he’s still the guy who expects the ball in a save situation if he’s available. He said so earlier in the day at his locker.

The Orioles seemed to be on the same wavelength judging by manager Brandon Hyde’s comments after Wednesday night’s thriller in D.C. They didn’t appear ready to demote Kimbrel or do anything drastic.

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Leftovers for breakfast

Albert Suarez

Albert Suárez made a run at a rotation spot in spring training, faltered late and was reassigned to minor league camp. He was an unexpected addition to the roster on April 17 after the Orioles placed Tyler Wells on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. And he keeps finding ways to contribute.

Maybe to complicate, too.

Two starts produced a combined 11 1/3 scoreless innings, because the man is full of surprises. The Orioles ran out of room in the rotation and moved him to the bullpen, where he retired all seven Cincinnati batters he faced Sunday afternoon.

“He made it look pretty easy,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Nothing was simple about Suárez’s assignment Wednesday night in D.C. The 10th inning, automatic runner on second base, game on the line. Luis García Jr. didn’t budge because Suárez induced a grounder and fly ball and struck out Joey Meneses on a 96 mph four-seamer to keep the score tied.

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Another win, another strong game on mound: Behind Dean Kremer, the O's sweep the Reds (updated)

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CINCINNATI – Maybe the O’s starters are just trying to match or better the previous pitcher. But whatever the reason, this team, as catcher James McCann observed last night, has used great game plans and execution to go on a tremendous pitching roll.

Today it led them to a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

The O’s had not swept the Reds since the 2014 season, and never on the road before today’s 11-1 win behind Dean Kremer’s strong start, Jordan Westburg’s two-run homer, two RBIs from Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander's grand slam in the ninth to cap it off. 

Friday night here, Cole Irvin threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Lefty John Means went seven without allowing a run last night.

Today Kremer pitched six scoreless while allowing just one hit, a clean single to left by Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the fifth. He walked one and fanned six, throwing 93 pitches.

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Orioles pregame notes on rotation, Suárez, Bradish, Hays and more

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The Orioles set their rotation for the series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Albert Suárez isn’t in it.

Cole Irvin starts Friday night and John Means makes his 2024 debut the following night. Dean Kremer gets the ball Sunday afternoon.

Suárez moves to the bullpen. He’s listed today among the relievers after posting a 2.35 ERA in three starts.

“It’s up for grabs right now, so kind of a wait and see,” said manager Brandon Hyde said of Suárez’s role. “I’m interested to see what it looks like in different ways. But he’s also a starter candidate for us if we maybe go with a six-man down the road. All different types of roles. So right now he’s kind of a wild card for us in our bullpen.”

Kyle Bradish is starting this afternoon after his reinstatement from the 15-day injured list. There’s a sense of relief in the organization following his January diagnosis of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

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Orioles are back in action and giving us more to think about

Gunnar Henderson

The Orioles are refreshed after yesterday’s break, which the bullpen needed, and ready to host the Athletics for three games and dive back into division competition with four against the Yankees.

Eight of nine series will be outside the American League East before the Yankees come to town.

It could have something or nothing to do with the 16-8 record and eight wins in the last 10 games. This is a very good team, which falls way short of a hot take. Just stating the facts.

The Orioles will be in the playoffs. The only question is whether they’re still active in November. I’m not making any plans until the second week of the month.

On paper at least, they can only get better with injured pitchers returning, Jackson Holliday eventually being Jackson Holliday, other prospects ready for promotion, and one or more trades likely at the deadline.

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Suárez rolls again as O's win series opener (Kjerstad to be recalled)

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – After going 2,395 days between major league outings coming into this season, this time right-hander Albert Suárez had only a four-day wait.

He held Minnesota scoreless over 5 2/3 innings Wednesday in Baltimore – his first game in the majors since Sept. 26, 2017 – and was back out tonight for the O’s in their series opener in Los Angeles.

And he had another outstanding outing.

He also had another scoreless outing, again over 5 2/3 innings, as the Orioles beat the Angels 4-2 in front of 26,081 to start a three-game series.

The Orioles, who moved into first place in the American League East by a half-game over the Yankees, improved to 15-7 and to 6-2 in series-opening games. They are 7-1 their past eight games and 10-3 the last 13. 

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O's game blog: The series opener in Anaheim

Albert Suarez

ANAHEIM, Calif. – With their latest series win secured via a 5-0 shutout of the Royals on Sunday, the Orioles' two-city road trip has reached California where they play the next three games in Anaheim against the Angels. 

The Orioles are 14-7 and have won six of their last seven and nine of the their past 12 games, scoring 75 runs in those games. The Orioles have won back-to-back series and are 5-2 in series for the year.

The 2024 O’s came up two games short of the 1966 World Champion Orioles, which started the year 16-5 – the club’s best-ever 21-game start.

The Orioles are 6-3 in road games and 2-1 in road series.

With the Yankees loss this afternoon to the Athletics, the O's and Yanks are tied in the games behind standings, but the O's have the American League East lead by percentage points at .667 to .652. A win tonight would give Baltimore the division lead by a half-game.

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Westburg honored, Hays stays out of lineup and other notes

Westburg in the cage

Orioles infielder Jordan Westburg was named the American League’s Player of the Week after batting .478 (11-for-23) with a .913 slugging percentage, two doubles, a triple, two home runs, eight RBIs, a walk, five runs scored and a stolen base in six games.

Westburg led the majors in batting average and OPS (1.413), tied for the lead in total bases (21) and ranked second in slugging. He tied for the AL lead in RBIs and tied for third in on-base percentage (.500) and hits (11).

The Orioles are on an award roll with Colton Cowser winning it last week.

This is only the third time that the team’s had back-to-back recipients. Eddie Murray won it on Sept. 13-20, 1981. Don Baylor was honored on Aug. 10, 1975, followed by co-winners Jim Palmer and Ken Singleton on the 17th.

Westburg is batting .457 (16-for-35) during a nine-game hitting streak. He’s batting third tonight in Anaheim, where the Orioles begin a three-game series.

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Orioles pregame notes on Wells' elbow injury, bench players playing, and Hyde's talk with Holliday

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KANSAS CITY – Tyler Wells sounded confident this afternoon that his stay on the injured list will be brief.

Exactly how brief is the question.

Wells remains shut down with inflammation in his right elbow. An MRI didn’t show any structural damage, which is the best news.

“I feel really good,” he said. “I take pride in three things, and that’s being a great teammate, my work ethic and being a good pitcher. Right now, I’m really working hard with the medical staff, with the strength and conditioning staff, and really just make sure my body’s in a good place, that we’re doing a lot of hard work. And after this stint, I come back better than what I was before.”

Wells said the club consulted “multiple doctors” in the organization.

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Another look at how Suárez came to the Orioles

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KANSAS CITY - Albert Suárez didn’t fall into the Orioles laps. They tracked him, tried to get him, stayed persistent and were rewarded. This wasn’t about luck.

Well, maybe just a little.

A leg injury put Suárez back on the market last summer. The Orioles caught a break more than a falling star. Opportunity aligned with availability.

They had taken some swings at the right-hander in the past and wouldn’t be caught looking this time.

“We pounced on him,” Mike Snyder, the Orioles’ senior director of pro scouting, said of the minor league deal agreed upon in September. “It’s always nice to get some offseason shopping done early.”

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A longer look at Orioles' bullpen usage and construction

Dillion Tate

The media tends to play its own games during its baseball coverage, and Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards provided the latest opportunity. A darn good one, too.

Money doesn’t exchange hands. It’s more about wondering, debating and disagreeing. Tossing around ideas like a backyard catch.

How many innings would Albert Suárez work in his first major league appearance in seven years and first start in eight? And, really important here, who’s the long reliever if he’s knocked out early?

The last one didn’t come into play. Suárez tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings – yeah, I wanted to see him complete the sixth – and manager Brandon Hyde didn’t have to worry about extensive coverage.

(Except from the media, of course.)

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Over six years later, Albert Suarez was back in the bigs, pitching the Orioles to a win

O's celebrate win

It has been an eventful home season for the Orioles. They began it by scoring 11 and 13 runs their first two games this year at the Yard. They had two walk-off wins at Camden Yards heading into yesterday’s game.

Now Oriole Park is home of the mound where 34-year-old right-hander Albert Suárez returned to the big leagues. He was last in the majors in 2017 with San Francisco and yesterday made his first big league appearance in 2,395 days.

Yes, it had been a minute, if over six years is that.

This game was special for Suárez, who spent time the last five seasons pitching in Japan and Korea. The Orioles signed him last Oct. 12 and he would get another shot to once again make a big league roster.

He had some impressive moments for the club in spring training and showed velocity he didn’t show with the Giants in 2016, when his fastball averaged 92.0 mph and a year later when it was at 93.5.

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Suárez makes impressive debut, Mullins hits walk-off home run in 4-2 win (updated)

Suárez makes impressive debut, Mullins hits walk-off home run in 4-2 win (updated)

Albert Suárez walked into a mostly empty Orioles clubhouse this morning with a smile on his face and a determination to work the room.

Suárez approached Dean Kremer, who stood up and hugged him. Yennier Cano and Ryan O’Hearn came over to embrace him. He moved on to Grayson Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel, cut across to the other side and made a direct path toward Colton Cowser, who paused his conversation with a broadcaster.

That was everyone. Nothing left to do except go back to his own locker and prep for his first major league game in seven years.

These guys knew him from spring training but were unsure after he was reassigned in late March if they’d interact again except maybe a rehab assignment. They’d be coming to him. That was the likeliest scenario on April 17.

The Orioles selected Suárez’s contract, putting him on the 40-man roster, and watched him earn the right to stick around. He unpacked his bags and locked up the Twins, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings and celebrating Cedric Mullins' first career walk-off home run in a 4-2 victory before an announced crowd of 15,860 at Camden Yards.

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Hyde explains decision to start Suárez

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The season is 18 games old and Albert Suárez has already made it back to the majors.

A fast promotion after an absence dating back to 2017.

The Orioles chose Suárez over left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, selecting his contract this morning from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s starting against the Twins, with the Orioles trying for the sweep.

“We needed a starter today and he is in line and we feel like this gives us our best chance to win against pretty much a right-handed club with some lefties sprinkled in there,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

“Loved the way Albert threw the ball in spring training for us. Pitched all the way right 'til the end until we set the roster. He had an outstanding camp. Strike-throwing ability, sits in the mid-90s, showed really good secondary stuff pitching against a lot of A lineups in spring training.”

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Suárez selected for today's start

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The Orioles selected the contract of right-hander Albert Suárez this afternoon and he’s starting the series finale against the Twins at Camden Yards. He’s working on normal rest after making Friday’s start with Triple-A Norfolk.

Catcher David Bañuelos was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Bañuelos flied out last night as a pinch-hitter in his major league debut.

Suárez, who’s wearing No. 49, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017 with the Giants. His last start was Sept. 23, 2016 in San Diego.

The Orioles reassigned Suárez on March 22, the same day that they also cut Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo and Connor Norby. He’s made three appearances with Norfolk, including one start, and allowed 10 earned runs (11 total) and 19 hits in 15 1/3 innings. Suárez has walked one batter and struck out 17.

Suárez, 34, signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Sept. 15 after he spent the past five years pitching in Japan and Korea. He walked two batters and struck out 19 in 15 2/3 innings in spring training.

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More on Orioles roster cuts and pending decisions (tonight's game cancelled)

Colton Cowser gray

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles pared their camp roster to 38 players this afternoon. The cuts are presented for everyone. Who’s made the club isn’t as transparent.

The media isn’t alone in the dark. Colton Cowser, Ryan McKenna and Tyler Nevin haven’t learned their fates, mainly because the front office is checking on external options with contract opt-outs arriving today.

Cowser is baseball’s version of a slam dunk, but he’s waiting for official word.

“You never know,” he said. “Just going to continue to work and continue to do what I’m called upon to do.”

There isn’t much more that Cowser can do, with his at-bats and defense setting him up for fourth outfielder duties.

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Henderson happy to stay at shortstop, Hyde impressed with Kimbrel's changeup, Nevin notches another hit (O's lose 3-2)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Talent times have changed with the Orioles, and the proof showed again tonight when substitutions in the sixth inning included Coby Mayo at first base, Jackson Holliday at shortstop and Kyle Stowers in center field.

Not the typical replacements in a road exhibition game.

Holliday subbed for Gunnar Henderson, who led off and played the position that now belongs to him in 2024. Sharing is caring, but Henderson can hog it.

Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed it to the media this afternoon. Henderson won’t shift between short and third. Precisely what last year’s American League Rookie of the Year wanted to hear.

“That’s what I was drafted as and what I played my whole life growing up,” Henderson said, “so I’m looking forward to just getting some consistent playing time there.”

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