Orioles manager Brandon Hyde laughed tonight and took a sip from his cup before formulating his answer. Before he could revisit Jackie Bradley Jr.’s catch in front of the Orioles bullpen - over their bullpen - that denied Trey Mancini of a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.
“Let’s just start out that it was an incredible catch and you tip your hat to the guy making a play like that,” Hyde said after a 2-1, 12-inning loss to the Red Sox at Camden Yards. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a catch or the last time I’ve seen a catch like that. In that spot, game-saving, that was phenomenal on their end.”
Given new life, the Red Sox took the lead in the 12th on Andrew Benintendi’s two-out home run to right field off Yefry Ramirez, and Heath Hembree struck out the side in the bottom half to drop the Orioles to 13-24 going into the off-day.
The Orioles set a club record with 22 strikeouts, according to STATS. The old mark was 21 against the Senators in a 2-1, 16-inning loss on Sept. 12, 1962.
“Let’s talk about first about how well we played and how we took a really good club to the 12th inning,” Hyde said. “I’m just really proud of how our guys played. Big plays defensively, grind out at-bats against World Series pitching. Our guys with not a whole lot of experience, major league at-bats, I’m just happy with how we played.
“Yeah, we punched out, but it’s Chris Sale. That’s an All-Star starter. And he had good stuff and we went toe-to-toe to the 12th inning. So I thought we played well all series. It was a heck of a series and just a great baseball game tonight.”
It felt like a winnable one with Andrew Cashner holding the Red Sox to a Mookie Betts solo home run over six innings and Sale finally leaving the game after the eighth - and after his 14 strikeouts. Sale, who struck out the side on nine pitches in the seventh, didn’t allow a hit until Joey Rickard’s single with two outs in the sixth. Rickard scored the game-tying run on Mancini’s double to left-center field.
Mancini also doubled to lead off the ninth and was the only Oriole who didn’t strike out.
“I’ve been saying it all along how I think this guy is on the verge of being a big-time impact player in this league,” Hyde said. “Drives the ball the other way, drives the ball out of the ballpark to left-center, doesn’t touch the ground but he drove it out of the ballpark. He’s a good player, man, and he plays first, he can play the corner outfield, cares, ultra-professional. He’s the whole package.”
He would have been the walk-off hero if not for Bradley.
“I saw it inside,” Cashner said. “It looked routine to me. It was pretty crazy.”
“Obviously, it’s like, ‘Did that just happen?’” Hyde said. “You see him flip the ball in his hand. But the game’s not over at that point and you’ve got to keep playing. Good players and great teams make great plays in big spots and that was an ultra-exceptional play. But you’ve got to continue to battle and I thought we did and Benintendi beat us with a solo homer. But we had some opportunities.
“Those relievers for them, they’re no joke, right? That’s mid-90s heaters with command of off-speed that are totally unpredictable and we battled, we battled. We did a great job.”
Mancini sat slumped in his chair in front of his locker after the game, still running the play through his head.
“It’s one of the worst feelings you can describe, but I didn’t get my hopes up too much,” he said. “I’ve hit too many balls to center that I thought were hits and Jackie’s playing center that he comes down with, so I didn’t really get my hopes up too much. I didn’t want to get too excited until it went over the fence.
“It was an amazing catch. I mean, what else can you say? It was game on the line, tie ballgame, 11th inning. Just a great catch. And it really stinks to be on the losing side of it and think you hit a walk-off, but you’ve got to tip your cap to him there. That was insane.”
Mancini literally tipped his helmet to Bradley before circling back to the dugout.
“You know, it’s kind of hard to do in the moment, but it’s I think the right thing because you have respect for your opponents and when they make a play like that you acknowledge it,” Mancini said. “It’s kind of something I feel like has always been done in baseball and I wanted to do it there, even though it was kind of tough to get the helmet off my head there.”
Bradley didn’t notice Mancini’s gesture.
“Big-time circumstances,” he said. “If I don’t catch it, we go home. I was able to extend the game a little bit longer in order for us to get another point.”
“I didn’t know for sure it was gone,” said reliever Ryan Brasier, who would have been tagged with the loss, “but that’s the best catch anybody has ever made behind me. It was incredible.”
Here’s more from the Orioles following their loss:
Hyde on being OK with effort in tough loss: “Well, I’m used to winning, so it’s not easy to lose and I’ve seen a lot of wins in the last four or five years on that feeling that they just had, where guys make big plays in big spots. And I’ve seen that a lot. To be on the other end, it sucks, no doubt about it, but I’m looking out for our club and I’m interested in how we compete and how we play. We’re going to develop on how to win. But, yeah, that was just a good baseball game that didn’t go our way.”
Mancini on the strikeouts: “I think they did a great job tonight. When Sale’s on the mound, it’s always going to be tough and he’s s strikeout pitcher, and, yeah, unfortunately that’s a lot of strikeouts for us. Couldn’t put too many good at-bats together in a row.”
Mancini on feeling after Sale left game: “Yeah, we never lost hope the whole game, and, yeah, it was a good feeling and we had some chances to win it there in the ninth and later on in the game, and unfortunately we didn’t come through. But defensively, and I thought we played well and our pitchers did a great job tonight, too. So you have to give them a lot of credit for what they did out there.”
Mancini on Sale: “I thought it was vintage Sale. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. I know his season hasn’t gotten off to the start that he or the Red Sox would have hoped, but he’s still one of the more feared pitchers in the game and I thought he looked great tonight and his pitches were sharp and he hit his spots really well, so I thought he did a really good job.”
Cashner on his outing: “I thought I threw the ball well. My off-speed I can definitely work on. Some things I did well, some things I didn’t do well. Our defense was really good tonight.”
Cashner on whether he fed off Sale: “Nah, I just try to stay in my own game. I’d rather feed off my own games. I sit down in the tunnel. I don’t even really watch. I just kind of know what I’m trying to do, but I think they punched out (22) guys tonight. That’s impressive.”