The 'pen was good again in latest O's win, plus other notes

The Orioles got back on the horse with a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels last night. Back-to-back losses didn't turn into the club's second three-game losing streak of 2023.

And while starter Dean Kremer provided a solid outing, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 on 95 pitches, the bullpen put forth another scoreless effort.

Right-hander Bryan Baker did allow an inherited runner to score, but Baker, Cionel Pérez and Yennier Cano did not allow a run over 3 1/3 innings. Baker has allowed just one earned run his last 19 2/3 innings. Perez retired all six batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings on just 19 pitches. He has allowed one earned run his past 6 2/3. Cano pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on eight pitches and now has thrown 20 2/3 scoreless innings for the season.

Over the past five games, the O's 'pen has an ERA of 0.60. Over the last nine games, the 'pen ERA is 1.34. For the year the bullpen ERA is 2.94 to rank second in MLB.

Batting ninth, Ryan O'Hearn hit a solo homer in the second inning. And then Ryan Mountcastle pinch-hit for him and hit a two-run shot in the sixth that he blasted 433 feet.

This produced the fifth time in O's history that different players homered from the No. 9 spot in the batting order. It last happened on April 18, 1992, when the batters to do it were Chris Hoiles and Jeff Tackett for the Birds against Detroit at Oriole Park.

Irvin returns: Of all teams, it was against his 2022 teammates, the Oakland Athletics. Lefty Cole Irvin was facing them on April 13 for the first time as an Oriole and he gave up five hits and six runs over four innings. It was the second time in three starts for his new club that he allowed six runs.

He was 0-2 with a 10.66 ERA after three starts. The next day he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

But Irvin said he took the best possible attitude with him on that trip back to the minors. It allowed him to get back to what he does well, he said, and he went 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in five starts for the Tides. Over his past three outings, he gave up just four runs in 20 innings for an ERA of 1.80. Just as important, he found the strikezone consistently again with two walks to 13 strikeouts in those last three games.

Irvin and his strong attitude returned to the Oriole roster yesterday and this time he rejoined the staff in a bullpen role.

Irvin said the good outlook he took with him to the farm was not hard to find. Not for him.

“I mean, I’m never going to be a Debbie Downer or anything like that,” he said yesterday in the Baltimore clubhouse. “I have a happy-go-lucky attitude and you know, but I understand that you have a job to do, and you are expected to do something. I may have put a little too much pressure on myself in the beginning of the year to do a little more than maybe I bargained for. Maybe tried to chase the strikeout a little bit too much.

“But you just have to support the team, the guys that are here in this clubhouse. And be a good teammate in Norfolk. Because I have a lot of love for the guys that are constantly going up and coming back. We have a good ballclub here so the more positive energy that you can send a team or send a teammate, I think that is just always a good thing. That is just part of my job as a teammate is to provide positivity and good energy. I had to understand what was happening as a man (with the demotion to Triple-A) and own up to it and continue to work. Nothing wrong with that.”

Fewer steals now for the O’s: The Orioles stole five bases in each of the first two games of the season in Boston. They were running amok. And even though they've had a couple of two steals games after that, the stolen bases have been slower to come in recent games.

The O’s had 25 steals in their first 17 games (1.47 per game) but have just 15 in their last 25 games through Monday (0.60 per game).

O’s skipper Brandon Hyde said they are not necessarily running less, and it has more to do with their opponents.

“It really only has to do with just what pitchers are allowing us to do,” Hyde said before yesterday’s game. “If we’re facing a team that is very quick to the plate or the game situation doesn’t dictate it, you know (Jorge) Mateo was on base and has an attempt (and did steal a base on Monday). But if guys are really quick to the plate and it’s a tough matchup to run on them, we may be more conservative. If they are slower and we feel like we have an advantage, we will try to take it.”

And not to put any of this on one guy, but with Mateo’s bat cooling off it provides him less time on base and fewer chances to run. He stole eight bases in his first 14 games when he was hitting nearly .400. He has five steals in his past 22 games when he is batting under .200.

Going into yesterday’s games, Mateo with 13 steals and Cedric Mullins with 12 did rank in the top 10 in MLB in steals. In AL stats only, Mateo ranked tied for second and Mullins tied for fourth.

“It’s more of kind of who we see on the mound and what they are doing to stop the running game against us. We are not going to run just to run. It is situation-based," said Hyde.

Holliday's big night: Now ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the sport by, 19-year-old shortstop Jackson Holliday had a huge game last night. And he did his batting damage in just four innings. In a game that High-A Aberdeen would lose 8-7 at Winston-Salem, the contest was shorted to five innings by rain.

Holliday hit a two-run homer in the first, added a two-run double in the third and two-run triple in the fourth. He would not bat again in this game, needing only a single for the cycle. But he drove in six runs.

In 17 games since joining Aberdeen, Holliday is batting .345/.472/.621/1.093. Click here to see his hits from last night via the O's player development twitter.



Ortiz in tonight's Orioles lineup
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