Orioles use two big innings and solid start from Means to defeat Mariners 9-2 (updated)

means pitching black

John Means hadn’t faced the Mariners before tonight since throwing the sixth no-hitter in Orioles history back in 2021. Dylan Moore pulled his first pitch down the left-field line for a double.

Even the mere hint of a repeat wasn’t happening.

Jordan Westburg belted a leadoff home run Wednesday in his first career game atop the order, and Gunnar Henderson did the same tonight after returning to it.

A much more reasonable replication.

The Orioles inflicted damage over and over against Bryce Miller. The first six batters reached against him and the first five scored. Nine came to the plate. And Means found his rhythm.

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O's game blog: John Means faces the Mariners in the Seattle series opener

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After a walk-off win on Adley Rutschman’s two-run homer Wednesday afternoon allowed them to split their two-game series with Toronto, the Orioles' homestand will end this weekend as they host the American League West-leading Seattle Mariners.

Wednesday’s win – after the O’s went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base – improved the Birds to 3-2 on what is now a rain-shortened eight-game homestand.

The Orioles have won four of six games and also eight of 11, 15 of 22 and 19 of their past 27 games. They are 15-9 at home and 9-5 in series-opening games. When that series opener is at home, they are 5-3.

Over the last 14 games, the Orioles have been in the bottom third of the majors in scoring runs, but they have been No. 1 in the majors in team ERA. That has allowed the Orioles to go 10-4 at a time when they have scored 3.7 runs per game in the last 14 contests to rank 21st-best in the majors in this span. The team is batting .219 in this stretch with an OPS of .691.

Baltimore batters have produced just seven runs the past three games. The O’s went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the Toronto series and are batting .167 (8-for-48) with RISP their past seven games.

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Orioles pregame notes on rotation, Mullins, Hays and more (updated with Mayo injury)

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Grayson Rodriguez will rejoin the Orioles without going on an injury rehab assignment.

The exact date of his return wasn’t shared this afternoon during manager Brandon Hyde’s media session, but a six-man rotation is in the works.

John Means is starting tonight against the Mariners in order to avoid an extended rest. Cole Irvin, who was supposed to start Wednesday against the Blue Jays before the previous night’s postponement altered the rotation, is in the bullpen tonight.

Means faced the Diamondbacks on May 11, which puts him on five days’ rest.

The Orioles must play 30 games in the next 31 days and 43 in the next 45 barring any weather interruptions.

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Stowers in left field tonight for series opener against Seattle

means pitching white

Gunnar Henderson returns to the leadoff spot for tonight’s series opener against the Mariners at Camden Yards, with Jordan Westburg moving down to seventh.

Westburg hit leadoff for the first time in his major league career Wednesday while Henderson occupied the cleanup spot.

An opposing right-handed starter has returned the club to its usual order.

Kyle Stowers gets the start in left field, Colton Cowser is in center and Ryan O’Hearn is in right. Anthony Santander, who bruised his knee Wednesday, is the designated hitter.

Cedric Mullins, in a 5-for-59 slump, was on the field today for earlier batting practice. He joins Austin Hays on the bench.

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A plan comes together: Looking for more walks, Ryan O'Hearn is getting them

Ryan O'Hearn

It was an interview in early March at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. at O’s spring camp. As usual, Ryan O’Hearn was being himself which is something reporters have really come to appreciate.

He’s almost always available to us and he doesn’t go through the motions in these interviews, he provides real insight.

Like he did for me on another sunny day in Florida.

While delighted with his first season in Baltimore, O’Hearn said he didn’t want to be a “one-hit wonder” and he had a specific plan to improve this year - one that is playing out nightly in Birdland.

Few players have ever changed their walk-to-strikeouts totals so dramatically year-over-year. In the 2023 season, O’Hearn had a 4.1 walk rate and 22.3 K rate. In his career he had never come close to walking as much as he struck out.

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O's end frustrating day on offense with a walk-off, keeping a few streaks going

Adley Rutschman

Sometimes you have a frustrating day with runners in scoring position but can still win. Sometimes you get a homer from your first and last batters of the game to win. Sometimes you have streaks riding, and it looks like they will end. But they don't.

Sometimes you see curious moves happen in an inning like the bottom of the eighth, but you still win. Sometimes a segment of your fans get frustrated and restless and are sure you will not win. But you still do.

The Orioles improved to 27-14 and avoided the season's first three-game losing streak with Wednesday's 3-2 walk-off win over Toronto.

Adley Rutschman's two-run homer with no outs in the ninth produced the team's fifth walk-off win of the year and his second career walk-off homer. He also hit one April 13 of this season versus Oakland. It was the O's first walk-off homer when trailing since Rio Ruiz on Aug. 11, 2019 against Houston.

The Orioles now have 12 comeback wins.

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Rutschman walk-off home run in ninth keeps Orioles' sweepless streak alive (updated)

Rutschman walk-off home run in ninth keeps Orioles' sweepless streak alive (updated)

Adley Rutschman took a big swing, stumbled back and twisted his torso, looking like a golfer using body English to keep the ball from hitting the water or sand.

Rutschman crossed home plate and was drenched.

The second walk-off home run of his career in the ninth inning gave the Orioles an improbable 3-2 win over the Blue Jays before an announced “Field Trip Day” crowd of 29,578 at Camden Yards. Jordan Westburg led off with an infield single against Jordan Romano after defensive replacement Isiah Kiner-Falefa mishandled a grounder and Rutschman lofted a high drive to right that kept carrying to the first row of the flag court.

The ball bounced onto the field and Rutschman waved his arm above his head to signal home run. A review upheld his gesture.

"I was running out of the box, I got around the bases pretty quick," he said at his locker after a long postgame workout. "It snuck out."

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O's game blog: Wrapping up the rain-shortened series with Toronto at Oriole Park

Adley Rutschman

After they lost on Sunday and Monday and rained out last night, the Orioles' last win came by a 5-4 score in 11 innings Saturday against the Diamondbacks. Today the Orioles wrap up this rain-shortened series now of just two games with the Blue Jays.

After Monday's 3-2 loss in 10 innings, the Orioles are 26-14. They are 14-9 at home, 6-2 against American League East teams, 5-5 in one-run games and 3-3 in extra-inning games. 

Overall, they have won three of five, seven of 10, 14 of 21 and 18 of their past 26 games.

Toronto, which entered this series 0-5-1 in its last six series, is 19-22 for the year, which includes a record of 10-13 on the road. The Blue Jays have lost four of their past seven, seven of 11 and 12 of their last 18 games.

Toronto is now 1-1 in extra innings, 8-6 in series openers and 4-5 in one-run games. 

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Hyde explains today's lineup with Westburg first and Henderson fourth

Jordan Westburg

Gunnar Henderson has served as Orioles leadoff hitter in every game this season, but he’s in the cleanup spot this afternoon against the Blue Jays. Jordan Westburg bats first for the first time in his major league career.

Why Westburg?

The Blue Jays announced this morning that they’d give the ball to left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, but matchups haven’t impacted Henderson in the past.

“Just a little bit the way our lineup is with two lefties at the bottom,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “A bunch of things, but having Gunnar in a little bit more of an RBI spot, having those four guys at the top with (Anthony) Santander in the middle there. We’ll see what it looks like.”

Hyde keeps praising the quality of Westburg’s at-bats, which makes the infielder a viable candidate at the top.

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Westburg batting leadoff today in series finale

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The Orioles will try again today to squeeze in a game against the Blue Jays despite more rain in the forecast.

Jordan Westburg is leading off for the first time in his major league career. Gunnar Henderson moves to the cleanup spot for the 11th time.

Kyle Bradish makes his third start after allowing two runs and striking out 14 batters in 9 2/3 innings following his reinstatement from the injured list. He’s made seven career starts against the Blue Jays and registered a 5.25 ERA and 1.417 WHIP in 36 innings.

Orioles starters have gone an average of 5.7 innings per start, fifth-highest in the majors, per STATS. The Blue Jays are 14th at 5.3.

George Springer is 7-for-17 with four doubles and a home run against Bradish. Bo Bichette is 5-for-15 with two homers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 5-for-17 with a homer, and Alejandro Kirk is 5-for-10 with a double.

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Four O's on pace for 100 RBIs, including one that loves to drive the ball to right-center

Jordan Westburg

After last night’s rainout, the Orioles are still at 40 games played and holding. At 26-14 (.650) they remain on a 105-win pace.

They also have a few players that, at their 40-game paces, would put up some nice final numbers.

* Gunnar Henderson projects to hit 49 homers with 109 RBIs.

* Adley Rutschman projects to hit 32 homers with 101 RBIs.

* Anthony Santander projects to hit 28 with 101.

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Orioles unsure of next step with Rodriguez or when Wells will begin throwing

Grayson Rodriguez

Last night’s postponement due to the inclement weather and ominous forecast, which carries into this morning, led to the easy decision by the Orioles to push back Kyle Bradish for the series finale against the Blue Jays.

Cole Irvin was supposed to start today, but he could pitch Friday night against the Mariners in the third leg of the season’s longest homestand. This is working under the assumption that today’s game is played or rescheduled for Thursday’s mutual off-day if rain again impacts the schedule.

Meanwhile, the Orioles haven’t decided what’s next for Grayson Rodriguez and whether a six-man rotation is imminent. That’s a much harder call.

Rodriguez had another successful side session on Sunday, meaning that his shoulder is pain-free and he’s built up to 30 pitches. He’s expected to throw again in the bullpen, which could lead to a brief rehab assignment or reinstatement from the injured list.

It’s all in the timing, how quickly he is deemed ready to face major league hitters. The longer it takes, of course, the more likely that he joins an affiliate. He hasn’t appeared in a game since April 29 and was eligible to return today.

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Tonight's Orioles-Blue Jays game postponed due to inclement weather

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Tonight’s scheduled game between the Orioles and Blue Jays has been postponed due to inclement weather. The game will be made up as part of a traditional (single-admission) doubleheader on Monday, July 29, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The first game will begin at 3:05 p.m. ET, followed by game two approximately 30 minutes after the first game concludes.

Tickets dated for the Monday, July 29, game will be valid for both games of the doubleheader. Original ticket buyers for tonight's postponed game (purchased directly from the Orioles) will receive a credit on their My Orioles Tickets account, which can be used towards a ticket purchase for any remaining 2024 regular season game. Credit will be available by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17. Please visit Orioles.com/weather for additional information.

Both games of the doubleheader will be broadcast on MASN and on the Orioles Radio Network, including the flagship station of Hearst Baltimore’s 98 Rock FM and WBAL NewsRadio AM/FM.

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Hyde on Mullins' slump, Mateo's defense, Kimbrel's role and more (tonight's game postponed)

mullins at plate gray

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde remains confident that Cedric Mullins will bust out of his slump and contribute more than center field defense.

Mullins is in the lineup again tonight and batting eighth against Blue Jays right-hander Chris Bassitt.

Hyde said again today that Mullins’ glove is too valuable to keep away from the field, no matter what’s happening with him at the plate. He has five hits in his last 57 at-bats.

“I gave him the weekend off and I played him yesterday,” Hyde said. “I’d like for him to get going offensively and when Ced’s being Ced, our lineup completely changes. I know his process is good, I know he’s working the right way. He’s out here hitting early yesterday on the field. I thought the work was really good. I’m hoping that he can get going. But the defense is great. That is definitely a big plus.

“He can impact our lineup when he’s hitting.”

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Orioles lineup vs. Blue Jays in second game of series

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Kyle Stowers and Austin Hays are on the bench for the start of tonight’s game against the Blue Jays, as the Orioles try to avoid their first three-game losing streak.

Colton Cowser is in left field and Ryan O’Hearn is in right.

Cowser is 7-for-54 since hitting a home run off the Angels’ Reid Detmer in the seventh inning of an April 22 game in Anaheim.

Cedric Mullins remains in center field. He grounded out to end last night’s game and is in a 5-for-57 slump.

O’Hearn has reached base in 11 of his last 12 games. He’s hitting .391 with a .783 slugging percentage against breaking balls this season after posting a .232 average and .444 slugging last season, per STATS.

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As O's have outfielders struggling, will Kyle Stowers get a chance?

Kyle Stowers

The Orioles offense has produced just four runs and seven hits the last two games and they have lost both. By 9-2 to Arizona and by 3-2 in 10 innings to Toronto.

The Orioles, Cubs and Phillies are the only teams in MLB this year without a three-game losing streak. The Birds need a win tonight to avoid one now. The O's earlier had a pair of two-game losing streaks that never got extended.

The Baltimore offense began last night first in the American League in slugging, second in OPS, first in homers and in runs per game at 5.08.

But Baltimore batters have produced just 3.8 runs per game, scoring 49 runs their past 13 games. Thanks to a team ERA of 2.14 in this span, the Orioles have gone 9-4.

The pitching carried them as the offense slowed a bit – good teams find a way and they have.

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O's game blog: The Toronto series opener

burnes @ WAS

Coming off a season when they posted a winning record against every other American League East club for the first time since 2014, the Orioles are playing well again so far this year in division games.

There have just been so few to date. The Orioles went 3-0 at Boston April 9-11 and went 3-1 versus the Yankees at home in late April and earlier this month.

The Yankees have played the most AL East games with 16 while Boston has played the fewest, just three.

AL East vs. AL East in 2024:

.857 - Baltimore (6-1)
.500 - New York (8-8) and Toronto (5-5)
.400 - Tampa Bay (4-6)
.000 - Boston (0-3)

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O's outfielder Kyle Stowers on his latest shot at the big leagues

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Kyle Stowers played in the bigs with the Orioles for parts of the 2022 and 2023 seasons, batting .207/.267/.331/.598 with three career homers in 131 plate appearances.

He has spent parts of the last four years at Triple-A, posting a .773 OPS there in 22 games during the 2021 season. He had an .884 OPS during part of the 2022 season and an OPS of .875 in 68 games last year. In 2024 he has hit .240/.315/.541/.856 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 36 games.

That is a ton of Triple-A plate appearances – 948 to be exact – and now he’d like to show he can stay in the majors.

“I feel ready. I feel ready to help this team win,” Stowers said this afternoon after his latest call-up. “Whatever, you know, my role is, whatever I’m called to do. Just going to go out there and give my all and have a good time. Play with a lot of gratitude. Just happy to be here.”

He had some rough times last year. He missed a couple of months with a shoulder injury and late in the year was hit by a pitch that fractured his nose.

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Hays comes off IL, McKenna DFA

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Reinstated OF Austin Hays from the 10-day Injured List (left calf strain).
  • Designated OF Ryan McKenna for assignment.
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Stowers recalled, Kjerstad optioned

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled OF Kyle Stowers from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Optioned OF Heston Kjerstad to Triple-A Norfolk.
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