For second weekend in a row, O's come up big at end of series

Kyle Gibson

Last weekend, the Orioles lost the first two games of a home four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. They were now tied for first in the American League East.

What followed was an outing of eight scoreless by Grayson Rodriguez leading to an 8-0 Saturday win. And when the Birds won a crazy game the next day their lead was back to two games atop the division.

Fast forward to the series at Cleveland. They lost the first two games, and their starters went a combined 8 1/3 innings. But then John Means on Saturday and Kyle Gibson Sunday combined to allow two runs over 14 1/3 innings and the O's pulled out another improbable four-game split.

Had they not won the 2-1 game Saturday, their division lead would have been 1/2 game. But they kept it at 1.5 with the victory that night and it's 2.5 games now with six games to play.

The magic number for the AL East title is down to three heading into today's much needed off day.

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Late relief fails Orioles after rally in 5-2 loss to Guardians (updated)

Perez white

CLEVELAND – If the Guardians couldn’t get a run off Grayson Rodriguez tonight, maybe they’d just concentrate on getting him out of the game. Build up his pitch count with extended at-bats fueled by foul balls, dive into an Orioles bullpen that’s screaming for rest.

Rodriguez kept escaping jams to record four scoreless innings, but the Guardians broke through with two runs in the fifth. DL Hall began to warm, staying on an unplanned schedule of being used every other day.

Hall was summoned in the sixth after Rodriguez threw 99 pitches, the last striking out Kole Calhoun. The Guardians got their wish, and eventually a win.

The Orioles battled back to tie the game in the eighth, but Cionel Pérez loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning, Ramón Laureano drew a full-count walk against Jacob Webb and the Guardians scored two more runs in a 5-2 victory at Progressive Field.

Coupled with the Rays’ walk-off win earlier today, the Orioles (95-58) saw their division lead shrink to 1 ½ games and their magic number for clinching stay at seven. They’re 50-28 on the road.

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O's game blog: The final regular season road series begins at Cleveland

henderson gray

The Orioles begin their final regular season road series of 2023 tonight when they play the first of a four-game series against the Guardians. The Orioles went 2-1 against the Astros to begin the season’s final road trip.

The Orioles are 50-27 on the road and have become the third club in team history to win 50 or more road games. If the O’s go 2-2 this series, they will tie for the best road record ever by an O’s club and 3-1 or better will set a record.

Best road records, O’s history:

.649 – 2023 (50-27)

.642 – 1997 (52-29)

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Orioles and Guardians lineups in Cleveland

rodriguez gray

CLEVELAND – The Orioles’ magic number is down to seven to clinch the American League East, and they begin their final road series of the regular season with Aaron Hicks playing right field.

Hicks was out of the lineup the past two days after leaving Monday’s game with hamstring cramps.

Jordan Westburg is the third baseman tonight and Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop.

Anthony Santander is serving as the designated hitter. Ryan O’Hearn is batting cleanup and playing first base.

Rookie Grayson Rodriguez is making his 22nd start. He’s never faced the Guardians.

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O's game blog: Looking for a win in the series and homestand finale

santander swinging white

The Orioles have played eight series this year that were not decided until the third and final game, and they are 5-3 in those games. They play another one today after splitting the first two games of their series with the Cleveland Guardians.

The Orioles (35-20) are 5-2-1 this month in series, and they are 12-4-1 in 17 series for the year, going 5-2-1 in home series.

The American League East as of today:

Tampa Bay, 39-18

Orioles, 35-20, 3 GB

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O's offense slowed as they dropped the series-opener to Cleveland

Austin Hays batting orange

Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber was a pitcher on a roll when he took the mound at Camden Yards last night. He was still rolling when he left the same mound in the last of the eighth. He flirted with a no-hitter into the O’s sixth before Trey Mancini singled but the Orioles lost the series opener to Cleveland to fall to 1-3 on this eight-game homestand.

Two runs would score after Bieber left the game as the Orioles rallied in the eighth on Mancini’s two-run double and Anthony Santander’s RBI single. But he got the 6-3 win, allowing just three hits over seven innings with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

Bieber had posted an ERA of 1.71 his previous three starts and the Orioles found out why on Friday night when he got 23 whiffs on 52 swings against his pitches. He got 14 whiffs on 24 swings versus his slider.

Bieber's 11 strikeouts were his most since he recorded 12 on May 27, 2021 at Detroit. Last night marked his 16th game with 11-or-more strikeouts since he debuted in 2018, the sixth-most among MLB pitchers during that span. He has allowed three-or-fewer earned runs in 34 consecutive road starts, marking the longest such streak since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913. And Bieber is 18-8 with a 2.26 ERA during that span. So, yep, pretty impressive.

Mancini has reached base safely in nine straight games and is batting .382/.462/.647 (13-for-34) with four doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBIs, four walks, and seven runs scored during the streak. And he has also reached safely in 26 of his last 27 games since May 8 and leads the O’s with 19 multi-hit games.

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