The Orioles keep building new streaks as if tool belts are now part of the uniform. Usually the kind that feel like a drill bit twisting through the temples of their manager.
Brandon Hyde was able to joke about the most recent streak, the one-run games that reached five in a row going into tonight. How he told his players it was OK to win 7-2 once in a while.
They didn’t exactly follow orders against the Royals, but a four-run first inning hinted that they no longer wanted to be so predictable.
DJ Stewart homered in the first, Austin Hays reached the seats in the third and Cedric Mullins found the flag court in the seventh, and rookie Mike Baumann celebrated his debut with only an unearned run allowed in 3 2/3 innings to earn his first major league win in the Orioles’ 7-3 victory over the Royals before an announced crowd of 4,981 at Camden Yards.
Rookie Alexander Wells lasted four innings and was charged with two runs and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Carlos Santana hit a solo homer in the fourth and Wells left the bases loaded.
Baumann, recalled earlier today, became the 15th Oriole to make his major league debut this season to tie the club record set in 2018. He’s the 57th player used, one short of the 2019 mark.
After receiving a pat on the chest from assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes, Baumann retired the first eight batters. He set down the middle of the Kansas City order in the fifth on six pitches and his fastball sat at 94 mph. He got the next three outs on 11 pitches, with Jahmai Jones making a diving stop and throw to rob Andrew Benintendi. Hunter Dozier was his first strikeout victim in the seventh inning, on a 95 mph fastball, before Whit Merrifield doubled over third base with two outs.
Nicky Lopez grounded out and Baumann would retire 11 of 14 on the night, with two hits, one walk and a strikeout. He left with two runners on base and two outs in the eighth, Edward Olivares reached on an infield hit against Dillon Tate after shortstop Jorge Mateo couldn’t get the ball out of his glove cleanly and Kelvin Gutiérrez botched Michael A. Taylor’s chopper.
“He was absolutely outstanding,” Hyde said of Baumann. “I loved the aggressiveness in the strike zone. I like how he attacked hitters. I thought his fastball had a ton of life to it. Had him scheduled for two-to-three innings tonight and he goes three-plus. Going 3 2/3, not giving up an earned run. I thought he flashed some good secondary stuff, as well. A couple good sliders, a couple good curveballs to add in there. But I just liked his aggressiveness in the strike zone, challenged hitters.
“His pitch count was way down. Forced the action, and he has enough on his fastball to get it by guys and get some weak contract. Really good first impression of Mike Baumann.”
Baumann is the ninth Orioles reliever in club history to earn the win in his major league debut and the first since Alberto Castillo on April 28, 2008. He’s the fourth to not allow an earned run in at least 3 2/3 innings of relief in his initial game, and the first since Dennis Martínez on Sept. 14, 1976.
“It was everything (imagined) and more,” Baumann said. “I didn’t really know what the moment would be like. There was a lot of adrenaline, everything was just kind of a blur. Looking back, I don’t even know if I remember much of what happened on the mound. But just the feeling walking off the mound after, hearing the fans, that was a cool moment. It was definitely something to remember.
“I remember feeling pretty nervous at the beginning of the game. I kind of felt like I settled down after those first couple pitches, and then as each inning went on I felt like I settled more and more into the game. So, it definitely calmed down as the game went on.”
The 7-2 quip request from Hyde was ruined by the error, but the Orioles took the win. They’ll also take a lot more of what they got from Baumann.
“He got out there and pounded the strike zone and dominated,” Wells said. “Yeah, it was good stuff to watch.”
The Orioles gave Wells a nice early cushion on back-to-back walks by Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle, an RBI single by Anthony Santander, a run-scoring bouncer to short from Hays and Stewart’s homer to center field on a changeup from Jackson Kowar.
Taylor ran into the fence before he could attempt a leaping catch.
Stewart had his first homer since Aug. 25 and second since Aug. 12.
Mountcastle has drawn a walk in nine of his last 14 games and 10 total in that span. He has five walks in five games this month. Exactly what you’d want from a No. 2 hitter.
Santander singled again to lead off the third inning and Hays belted his 16th home run, the ball traveling 411 feet with an exit velocity of 107.1 mph, per Statcast, while also extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
Hays began the night batting .216/.266/.366 in 248 plate appearances against right-handers.
Wells threw 11 of 14 pitches for strikes in the first inning and stranded Lopez after a one-out single. Gutiérrez made a skidding backhand stop and throw to retire Salvador Perez and Adalberto Mondesi struck out on a 90.6 mph fastball.
Jones lined a single into left field leading off the second, moved up with two outs on a wild pitch and would have scored if Santana didn’t make a leaping catch at first base to rob Mountcastle, who lowered his head in disbelief as he approached the bag.
The Royals got a run back in the third on Merrifield’s two-out stolen base after reaching on a fielder’s choice and Lopez’s bloop single, with Mullins almost making an incredible diving catch. Santana deposited a 90 mph fastball over the center field fence in the fourth and Wells struck out Benintendi on the same pitch before back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Mullins also had a fielding error.
One bad pitch could have tied the game, but Merrifield lined to left field with the count full.
Wells threw 25 pitches in the third inning and 28 in the fourth to leave his total at 80.
Asked what he can take away from escaping the final jam, Wells replied, “Confidence, trusting my stuff there where I was getting a bit tired and falling behind guys, and trusting Sevie (Pedro Severino) behind there. Just confidence knowing that a good hitter up and throwing my best pitches there just to get out of that inning.”
“It’s always fun watching guys early in their career trying to figure things out,” Hyde said.
“It’s awesome,” Wells said. “It’s good to see Zac and Mike pitching well, and it’s just like back in Bowie in 2019. It’s good to be around them again and hopefully we can build off each other and go out and be competitive and put up some good numbers.”
Baumann threw 31 of his 46 pitches for strikes. Tyler Wells retired the side in order in the ninth. And the Orioles sawed through another 2021 streak.
“Extremely nice,” Hyde said. “I could have done without the bases loaded, tying run at the plate in the eighth, but I did like how we swung the bat early. Ced with a tack-on homer. That was huge for us. ... Nice job of scoring first and getting a lead for our young pitching staff.”
Notes: Triple-A Norfolk left-hander Ryan Hartman allowed one run and two hits in five-plus innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Tyler Nevin hit his 13th home run and Adley Rutschman hit his second.