Baltimore allows six in fourth, falls 9-3 (updated)

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Pitching and defense have been the story of the series for the O’s in Seattle. The first two games, excellence. The finale's 9-3 loss? Not so much.

In the previous two games, the O’s started Tyler Wells and Dean Kremer. Wells entered Monday’s game with a 2.57 ERA in the month of June, and Kremer was even better at 1.71. 

Austin Voth hadn’t exactly been on a similar roll, but was still effective in a small sample size. Voth combined to pitch just 5 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, but the 30-year-old allowed only one earned run while striking out seven in the process. 

In the second inning, the defense started to come back to Earth after a spectacular stretch. Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays collided in the outfield trying to cut off a ball in the gap. Jonathan Araúz committed an error on back-to-back plays, and then Adley Rutschman tried to wait on a swinging bunt down the line that stayed fair. Just like that, three runs came across to score. 

“Thought he threw the ball well,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Just didn’t make a couple of plays behind him that hurt.”

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O's staying in games, thanks to great pitching, defense

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SEATTLE - With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Julio Rodríguez sent a scorcher back up the middle on a two-strike count. The ball ricocheted off pitcher Félix Bautista, and Ryan Mountcastle nearly made a great play to end the inning. 

Instead, the ball got away from Mountcastle, Rodríguez was safe at first, and Jesse Winker drove two runners home in the very next at-bat. Had Rodríguez’s flukey single been an out, the Orioles and Mariners would’ve been knotted at 0-0 entering the top of the ninth. 

Of course, you’re not going to win very many baseball games recording just one hit, which was all the O’s offense was able to muster last night. But the combination of Dean Kremer, Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista kept Baltimore firmly in the ballgame until the very end. 

“We’re pitching better, they’re keeping us in games. The starting pitching has done a great job,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Dean Kremer was incredible last night, Tyler Wells was awesome the day before … Our bullpen guys have done a great job of keeping the game right there.” 

You would have to go back to June 13, an 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays, to find a game in which the Orioles truly felt out of it. Every other game since then, a 14-game stretch, has either been a Baltimore victory or a loss in which the O’s fell by three runs or fewer. 

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Orioles lineup vs. Mariners

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The Orioles will try to earn another series win this afternoon following last night’s 2-0 loss to the Mariners.

Dean Kremer’s seven scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 1.29, but the Orioles were held to one hit. Kremer has registered 18 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

Austin Voth makes his third appearance and sixth start today with the Orioles. He’s been stretched out to three innings and 47 pitches, and manager Brandon Hyde will try to bump him a little further.

Voth has allowed one run in a combined 5 2/3 innings in his two starts, and he’s struck out seven batters. He’s never faced the Mariners.

Adley Rutschman is catching after serving last night as the designated hitter. He stole his first career base.

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Elias explains timing of latest prospect promotions

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The Orioles knew that it was time.

The individual performances and the calendar dictated that outfielder Colton Cowser and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby should rise to the next level of the farm system. Putting them together at Double-A Bowie. And in the same lineup last night, occupying the top three spots.

Three of the top 10 prospects in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com.

Cowser, the fifth-overall selection in last year’s draft, homered in his first at-bat and went 3-for-3 with a walk. Norby, batting leadoff, singled and walked.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what these guys are going to do in Bowie,” said executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.

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After nine-run outburst, offense falls flat (updated)

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SEATTLE – As the city of Seattle should know, defense wins championships.

Wait, sorry, wrong sport. Defense sometimes wins baseball games, as it nearly did tonight for the Baltimore Orioles. The offense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain in a 2-0 loss, in which the Birds mustered just one total hit. 

"We're playing really well defensively," said manager Brandon Hyde. "That's why we're staying in games, pitching and defense is still extremely important, and we've been doing that." 

"I wouldn't be able to do it without the help of the defense," added Dean Kremer. "They're spectacular." 

Entering tonight’s game, Kremer had posted a 1.71 ERA through his first four starts of the season. In the same sample size, Robbie Ray boasted a 1.80 ERA in his previous four starts. They both pitched as their resumés would suggest on Tuesday night. 

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O's look to build on impressive June behind confident Kremer

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SEATTLE – By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the fact that the Orioles have secured their first winning month since Aug. 2017. That’s a really long time. 

What’s been behind that winning month? 

The O’s have gone 14-10 in June, outscoring their opponents 121-96, good for a +25 run differential. The offense has averaged 5.03 runs per game over that stretch, which is third-best in the American League.

Last night’s nine runs showcased just how potent this offense can be. 

“Excited with how we swung the bat last night,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “We did a great job of grinding out a starter, spoiling a bunch of pitches. Even our outs were loud at times.”

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Orioles lineup vs. Mariners

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Adley Rutschman’s family and friends can watch him serve as the Orioles’ designated hitter tonight in Seattle.

Rutschman is batting fifth and trying to extend his six-game hitting streak. He’s 18-for-55 (.327) in his last 15 games, with 10 doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs.

Tyler Nevin is starting at third base. Austin Hays is in right field and Anthony Santander is in left.

Rougned Odor gets the start at second base.

For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Austin Hays RF
Anthony Santander LF
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Adley Rutschman DH
Tyler Nevin 3B
Rougned Odor 2B
Robinson Chirinos C
Jorge Mateo SS

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Injury updates on Rizer and Baumler (plus Orioles notes)

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Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Johnny Rizer, the Orioles’ seventh-round draft pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University, underwent hip surgery last week in Philadelphia and is out for the remainder of the season.

The Orioles made the announcement this afternoon.

Rizer appeared in 22 games with the Tides and went 14-for-72 (.194) with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 81 plate appearances. He hit a combined .253/.312/.423 last summer with 15 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs and 53 RBIs in 98 games between Double-A Bowie (83) and Single-A Aberdeen.

Carter Baumler, a fifth-round selection in 2020 out of Dowling Catholic High in Iowa, will miss his next start at Single-A Delmarva due to right shoulder inflammation.

Baumler didn’t begin his professional career until this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s allowed two earned runs, walked seven batters and struck out 20 in 11 2/3 innings.

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Putting more credit on the pitching

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Pitching is the No. 1 reason why the Orioles are better in 2022 than past years of the rebuild. And it’s inexplicable in a sense.

We can break down the numbers, but how is the rotation able to withstand the loss of ace John Means for the rest of the season? Followed by the demotion of left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, who allowed 17 home runs in his last seven starts, and rookie Kyle Bradish’s slump and placement on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

Bullpen games are plotted and won. Tyler Wells, last year’s Rule 5 reliever who earned the closer’s job, entered last night’s game in Seattle as easily the most dependable starter on the staff.

Spenser Watkins was No. 5 in the rotation, injured and optioned. He returned Saturday in Chicago, the guy who re-signed with the Orioles in November as a minor league free agent, and allowed just an unearned run in five innings. The Tigers released him in 2020.

Austin Voth was a waiver claim, which made him a perfect fit on this team, and viewed as a potential starter down the line. He was needed more as a long reliever, to stretch him out as much as anything.

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Wells excellent again, offense erupts for nine runs in win (updated)

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SEATTLE - Entering tonight’s game, the Orioles had won six of the last seven games in which Tyler Wells was on the bump. On the other side, the Mariners had won four of the last five games in which George Kirby had started. Unstoppable force, immovable object, etc., etc. 

It was not a pitchers' duel in the 9-2 Orioles victory. George Kirby lasted just four innings, allowing nine hits, seven earned runs and four home runs. 

The Orioles were able to get to Kirby early and often, hitting back-to-back home runs twice in the first four innings. That hasn’t happened for the O’s since Aug. 10, 2017. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle did it in the third inning, and Anthony Santander and Austin Hays didn’t waste any time making it happen once again in the fourth. 

"I thought we took some of our better at-bats of the year those first four innings," said Hyde. "I thought our approach was outstanding. Up and down the order, really good at-bats."

Rutschman got a nice ovation from family and friends for his first at-bat in Seattle. The Oregon State product attended Sherwood High School in Oregon, with the Mariners being the closest big league team. 

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O's look to stay hot with Wells, plus Rutschman's homecoming

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Visiting the Mariners on May 5, 2021, John Means threw nine hitless innings, striking out 12 in the process. 

“We were talking on the way here, last time we were here it was a pretty cool moment,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Great story, and a really, really special day.”

The O’s current starting staff does not include their ace, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April. 

Bruce Zimmermann isn’t in the rotation either. After posting a 2.72 ERA in his first seven starts of the season, the lefty is down in Triple-A Norfolk working on returning to that form. 

The O’s No. 10 prospect, Kyle Bradish, was placed on the 15-day injured list on Friday. Another option off the board. 

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Odor in Orioles lineup for series opener in Seattle

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Rougned Odor has returned to the Orioles lineup tonight in Seattle, recovered from the back soreness that restricted him to one pinch-hitting appearance in Chicago.

Odor is batting seventh, two spots behind Adley Rutschman and one behind Ryan Mountcastle.

Jonathan Araúz is starting at third base after homering yesterday for his first hit as an Oriole.

Anthony Santander is playing left field and Austin Hays is in right.

Trey Mancini remains seventh among American League designated hitters in All-Star Game balloting. However, Hays has dropped out of the top 20 among outfielders. He was 19th last week.

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Cowser, Mayo and Norby advance, plus Orioles-Mariners notes

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Minors Monday brought another round of prospect promotions this afternoon.

The Orioles have moved outfielder Colton Cowser and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby from high Single-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie.

Sixteen of the organization’s top 17 prospects per MLBPipeline.com are playing at the Double-A level or higher. Outfielder Heston Kjerstad is the exception at Single-A Delmarva.

Cowser, the Orioles’ first-round selection last year out of Sam Houston State University, is batting .258/.385/.411 with 19 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 22 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 17 attempts with the IronBirds.

Mayo, taken in the fourth round in 2020 out of Stoneman-Douglass High in Parkland, Fla., is batting .250/.326/.479 with 14 doubles, a triple, 13 home runs and 42 RBIs. He doesn’t turn 21 until December.

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More leftovers for breakfast

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CHICAGO - Jonathan Araúz had a special day for the Orioles in the final game of the series against the White Sox, his first hit with the club a home run.

Special for sure, but not as unique as you might think.

STATS research finds that 38 players since 1974 have homered for their first hit with the Orioles, the most recent before yesterday being outfielder Keon Broxton in 2019 in Colorado.

Broxton’s ball carried 474 feet and landed on the left field concourse. Must be the thin air.

Araúz settled for a mere 390, with a 100.2 mph exit velocity.

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Orioles can't solve Cease and winning streak snapped (updated)

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CHICAGO – Dylan Cease struck out five of the first six Orioles this afternoon, plate umpire Junior Valentine giving Cease a call on a low fastball that angered Adley Rutschman and signaling that it could be a long day.

Gilman-product Gavin Floyd hit a two-run homer in the second, the first deficit for the Orioles since Tuesday.

The four-game winning streak came apart, with the Orioles settling for a series win and hoping to transport the lingering good vibes to Seattle. But they sure made it interesting.

Cease struck out a career-high 13 batters in seven innings, and the Orioles lost for the first time in five games, 4-3, at Guaranteed Rate Field. They're 34-40 as they continue their three-city road trip.

First baseman José Abreu committed back-to-back errors in the ninth and Jorge Mateo drew a four-pitch walk to give the Orioles three cracks at tying the game or taking the lead against Kendall Graveman. Jonathan Araúz singled to reduce the lead to 4-2, pinch-hitter Rougned Odor struck out, Cedric Mullins flied to deep center for a sacrifice fly and Trey Mancini struck out.

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Updating Bradish, Odor and Mancini, plus the quest for .500

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CHICAGO – Orioles rookie Kyle Bradish is optimistic that he can pitch again after his 15 days expire on the injured list. Manager Brandon Hyde thinks it will be close to the date, if not hitting it exactly.

Bradish is eligible to return on July 6. For now, he’s shut down with inflammation in his right shoulder.

“I’d say Monday on the off day, it kind of started to get a little tight,” he said today. “And then Tuesday I woke up and then threw a bullpen, and it didn’t get better from there. Right now it’s feeling good. We’re on some treatment and some other stuff, and it’s feeling good.”

Which leads Bradish to believe that he can jump back into the rotation when rules allow it.

“Yeah, no doubt,” he said.

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Orioles and White Sox lineups (and notes)

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CHICAGO – The Orioles waited to post their lineup until checking Rougned Odor’s back.

Odor worked out on the field and remained on the bench for the fifth game in a row - the last four due to injury.

Richie Martin is the second baseman and Jonathan Araúz is the third baseman, with Tyler Nevin among the reserves.

Trey Mancini stays in the lineup after being hit on his left hand yesterday. X-rays were negative.

Jordan Lyles has a 4.92 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in 14 starts. He held the Nationals to two runs over 6 1/3 innings in his last appearance after going four consecutive starts without reaching the sixth.

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Leftovers for breakfast

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CHICAGO – The Orioles have posted a 13-9 record in June, with a chance for their first winning month since August 2017. They haven’t gone .500 since July 2019.

They’ve built a 20-15 record since May 19, which is their best 35-game stretch in five years.

They have a chance today to post their first five-game winning streak since taking seven in a row from Aug. 7-14, 2020.

Trey Mancini talked yesterday about players showing up to the ballpark expecting to win, “and that's not a feeling we've had here in a long time.” Manager Brandon Hyde noted the energy and confidence, passing much of the credit to the pitching staff, including a bullpen stocked with waiver claims that’s registered a 3.07 ERA that ranks sixth in the majors.

The Orioles were dead last in 2021 at 5.70, and they hadn’t traded Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott.

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Watkins, Mateo, Hays and bullpen lift Orioles to latest win (updated)

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CHICAGO – In the ever-changing world of the Orioles’ starting rotation, Spenser Watkins is back in it and Austin Voth receives at least temporary housing as the Orioles stretch him out.

This is how they do it. Try to find a set five and be ready to scramble.

Bruce Zimmermann was optioned and Kyle Bradish went on the 15-day injured list. Dean Kremer was activated from the IL and later recalled from the minors. John Means’ locker no longer has his nameplate above it.

Where or when it stops, nobody knows.

Nobody cares if the Orioles keep winning.

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Araúz in lineup, Odor's back improving, taxi squad additions, and more

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CHICAGO – Some of the Orioles are playing catch on the field in a light rain. They’ll have to wait for first pitch, however.

Both teams have been informed that today’s game will begin in a delay, with the start time closer to 2 p.m. local time.

Jonathan Araúz is starting at second base today in his Orioles debut. He was a waiver claim from the Red Sox and had to stay in the minors a minimum of 10 days after being optioned.

The infield needed more versatility with Rougned Odor receiving treatment for back soreness and Ramón Urías on the injured list with a left oblique strain.

“It’s a guy that can play multiple positions,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “We’re a little banged up here with Roogie, Ramón’s still out. So, a guy that can play three spots in the infield, another left-handed bat, which we don’t have many of. It’s just a versatile guy that we’ll take a look at.”

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