Orioles rally for nine runs in eighth inning and win 9-8 (updated)

A quality start from Matt Harvey on Aug. 27 against the Rays has been followed by two failed attempts to complete the fifth inning. What’s also going to follow are questions about his remaining time in a rotation that keeps getting younger and less experienced.

The Orioles will figure it out. In the meantime, they seem to be getting more frisky. More confident in themselves. Less inclined to wait for something bad to happen to them.

There’s no reasonable way to question it.

They made sure that Harvey wouldn’t get tagged with a loss, rallying for nine runs in the eighth inning and holding on to defeat the Royals 9-8 before an announced crowd of 4,965 at Camden Yards.

Right fielder Hunter Dozier, a late substitute, dropped Cedric Mullins’ fly ball after bumping into Edward Olivares to break a 5-5 tie, and Ryan Mountcastle followed with his 26th homer, a two-run shot to left field. Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer off Dillon Tate with two outs in the ninth, but Tyler Wells notched his second save.

Twelve batters came to the plate in the eighth and the Orioles improved to 45-93 overall and 7-7 since snapping a 19-game losing streak.

A win Thursday night would allow the Orioles to claim back-to-back series for the first time since May 31-June 6 against the Twins and Indians.

“It was awesome, that was a great win,” Mountcastle said. “We didn’t give up. It’s very easy to do that, especially this late in the year. For us to battle back and win was huge.”

Manny Barreda, 32, entered in the eighth inning and became the 16th Oriole to make his major league debut this season, breaking the club record of 15 in 2018. He’s the 58th player used, tying the record set in 2019.

It took 14 years and 490 professional games, but Barreda finally had his moment. He retired the side in order in the eighth, striking out Michael A. Taylor on a 94 mph fastball, and the comeback gave him the win.

It was epic.

“Baseball-wise, this is obviously the pinnacle of my career, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for since I was a little kid,” Barreda said. “I remember being an elementary student and writing, ‘I’m going to play major league baseball,’ and being a follower of every major league team.

“It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Mike Minor blanked the Orioles on five hits in six innings with no walks and six strikeouts. Joel Payamps struck out the side in the seventh, but Mullins drew a leadoff walk in the eighth, Mountcastle singled and Austin Hays doubled off the center field fence to reduce the lead to 5-1 and extend his hitting streak to 15 games.

Pedro Severino drew a nine-pitch walk against Josh Staumont to load the bases and Anthony Santander singled to score Mountcastle and keep the bases full. DJ Stewart pinch-hit for Jorge Mateo and popped up, but pinch-hitter Ramón Urías poked a single into right field and the Orioles trailed 5-3.

Jahmai Jones faced left-hander Jake Brentz and struck out looking at a 98 mph fastball with the count full. Kelvin Gutiérrez got ahead 3-0, took a strike and lined a two-run single up the middle to tie the game.

Next came Mullins’ fly ball, Mountcastle’s big swing and an improbable win.

“We haven’t had many of those types of innings here in the last few years, so it was really, really good at-bats against some good relievers, have good stuff,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “It took us eight innings to put some at-bats together. We were pretty flat offensively. Minor pretty much carved us up. Great at-bats in the eighth inning. We caught a break, we don’t get many of those usually, and then Mountcastle with a huge two-run homer to give us some breathing room that we needed. Fun to see our guys celebrate in there right now and listen to them.

“I just think once you string a few at-bats together, there’s momentum, and that’s one thing we’ve had a tough time with this year, especially, is to be able to put three, four good at-bats together in a row. There’s always a walk in there. But the opposite-field approach by Mountcastle, by Hays, Santander with a really nice piece of hitting, Urías going the other way, that’s how you create rallies and that’s how you create traffic. And then you’re putting pressure on the defense, putting pressure on the pitcher.

“It’s just something that down the road we’re going to be good at. Right now we’re inconsistent, but hopefully these guys can continue to learn that that’s how you score runs in this league and it’s not just from popping home runs, but also moving the baseball, using the whole field, getting a walk in there and keeping the line moving.”

The Royals chased Harvey with one out in the fifth and failed at-bats with runners on base earlier in the game prevented the Orioles from rescuing him. It just took a while.

Fernando Abad tossed two scoreless and hitless innings, but Salvador Perez greeted Marcos Diplán with his 42nd home run.

The combined ages of Harvey, Abad and Barreda add up to 99 years. September isn’t all about the kids.

“Looking at his bio, his track record, it’s an unusual path to the big leagues,” Hyde said of Barreda, who also pitched in Mexico before signing a minor league deal with the Orioles in March. “Guys get here in different ways, at different ages. His is a long, hard-fought path to get here. When he finished that inning with a strikeout, everyone was on the top step high-fiving him just because of what an accomplishment it is to watch a guy grind for that long and to get to the big leagues, pitch a scoreless inning. And then he gets the win. Everybody is really excited for him.”

The Orioles are the first team in the modern era to have a reliever earn the win in his major league debut in back-to-back games, including Mike Baumann last night, according to STATS.

“It was incredible,” Barreda said. “After that first pitch and (Adalberto) Mondesi swung at it, I said, ‘All right, it’s on.’

“I had to bring out my best stuff because they were coming in hot.”

Barreda’s wife, carrying their two-year-old daughter, came down behind home plate after the game.

“It was just a surreal moment,” he said. “My daughter was screaming. She probably doesn’t know what she was screaming about. For her it’s just, she’s seen Dad at a field wearing a uniform, but it’s almost like she knew.”

Harvey was removed after Nicky Lopez’s run-scoring double off the out-of-town scoreboard and an intentional walk to Perez that loaded the bases. He allowed nine hits, which doesn’t count as scattering unless the run damage is reduced.

Abad let an inherited runner score after Mountcastle made a diving stop of Benintendi’s grounder and couldn’t get the out at home. A popup and strikeout left Harvey with three earned runs and four total, and his ERA at 6.27.

The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Lopez’s single, a grounder and Benintendi’s two-out hit on a ball that fell in front of diving center fielder Ryan McKenna.

Benintendi broke for second on a ball in the dirt, changed his mind and was tagged out at third base. Olivares led off the third with a single and was caught stealing, with the original safe call reversed. But the Orioles were done catching breaks.

Whit Merrifield doubled, stole third base and scored when Severino’s throw sailed into left field.

The Royals already had five hits in three innings.

McKenna led off the bottom of the third with his first hit in 15 at-bats since rejoining the Orioles, and Gutiérrez singled with one out. Mullins bounced to first baseman Carlos Santana, whose throw to second nailed Gutiérrez in the back and loaded the bases.

Mountcastle-Points-White-Sidebar.jpgMountcastle struck out on a changeup from Minor. Hays struck out on a slider and threw his bat and helmet to the ground. The Orioles still trailed 2-0.

Benintendi doubled to lead off the fourth and was stranded, and it cost Harvey only nine pitches to leave him at 56. Minor countered by stranding two in the bottom half after singles by Severino and McKenna.

Taylor led off the fifth with a single and advanced on Olivares’ sacrifice bunt and Merrifield’s single, the Royals’ eighth hit and reason for Abad to begin warming in the bullpen. Lopez doubled, the intentional walk was ordered and Harvey headed to the dugout.

The Orioles seemed headed for a mundane loss. It became anything but that.

“It’s awesome,” Harvey said. “It’s good to see young guys not giving in, not giving up on the season. And tonight was a good example. We fought back from what appeared to be a shutout, or close to that, and the guys came back and put the ball in play and got some runs across the board and we won, and it was fun to watch.”

Notes: Zach Jarrett hit his ninth home run for Triple-A Norfolk. Kevin Smith allowed five runs and five hits with three walks in four innings.

Gray Fenter tossed six scoreless innings with four hits allowed in the first game of Double-A Bowie’s doubleheader against Harrisburg. David Lebron allowed one hit in four scoreless innings in the second game, striking out five batters.

Andrew Daschbach hit his fifth home run.

Terrin Vavra was removed for a pinch-hitter last night and didn’t play in the doubleheader, but I’m told it’s just precautionary and he’s expected to return quickly.

TT Bowens homered for Single-A Aberdeen. Adam Hall had three hits.

Second-round pick Connor Norby hit his third home run for Single-A Delmarva. First-rounder Colton Cowser had three hits and Coby Mayo had two.

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