ANAHEIM, Calif. - In the bottom of the ninth right-hander Mychal Givens was on the mound trying to close out an 8-6 Orioles win. And even when the Angels pulled within a run, even when the Orioles defense made a critical mistake, and even when Mike Trout batted with the tying run 90 feet away, the Orioles still got the victory.
Givens bent but didn’t break and the Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-7 to go 4-2 on this road trip and 3-0 in a four-game series they can sweep today. The Orioles have won four of five and seven of 10 and are now 13-11 over the last 24 games.
They passed last year’s season road win total last night. The 2018 team went 19-62 (.235) on the road and this club is 20-33 (.377). The O’s won three road series all last year and this club is now 4-12-1 in road series.
Last night Givens was called on for a four-out save. But he walked the No. 8 hitter with one out, and the No. 9 hitter also reached when Richie Martin tried for an out at second base that wasn’t there. He dove at the lead runner for a tag but could not get him. An RBI single followed. It was 8-7 with one out and Mike Trout - who has 12 homers his past 17 games - was in the box. The crowd of 42,289 was roaring. Givens struck Trout out swinging at a 97 mph fastball. He then intentionally walked Shohei Ohtani to load the bases and fell behind the next hitter, Justin Upton, 2-0 in the count. But Givens got him to pop up a 3-2 pitch and earned his ninth save, and an Orioles win was finally secure.
The stage was set for the Orioles to blow it. But they didn’t.
“Mike’s going to be a high-leverage guy for us because of numbers that we have,” manager Brandon Hyde said of the four-out save. “We’re going with what we have. I’m going to try to put our best guys out there in the big spots. We roll the dice with it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight, it did.”
In the postgame clubhouse Givens talked about getting those last big outs, and also was asked about rumors he could be involved in trade talks.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I’m still wearing orange and black, so that’s all I’m worried about. I’m sticking with the guys I’m with right now. Trades have nothing to do with me. That’s the front office.”
Added Hyde: “I don’t think it’s a distraction for him. I think he’s giving it everything he’s got, and he cares. Especially after two nights ago. I know that he wanted to go back out two nights ago another inning and I wouldn’t let him. I knew he wanted to be in a big situation again, and he got in one and got out of it, so good for him.”
Offense produces major league record: The Orioles might be an unlikely team to establish a major league record. But they did last night, hitting at least two homers for the 10th consecutive game. That was never done before.
“Pretty cool. That’s amazing,” said Hyde. “Our offense, even though we don’t have guys who played in multiple All-Star games up and down our lineup, but we do manufacture runs. We score runs. We hit homers. What I like is, I think our guys are getting better over the course of the season and are taking better at-bats than they did the first couple of months, and understanding how to win here, understanding how to score runs. That, for me, has been impressive.”
The O’s offense has scored 27 runs on 44 hits in this series. They’ve scored 70 runs with a team batting average of .308 and 22 homers over the last 10 games. The Angels have scored 18 runs in this series - but lost all three games so far.
Tate waiting for his chance: He was traded to the Orioles just over a year ago when Zack Britton was dealt to the Yankees for three pitchers. He got to the call from Double-A Bowie to the Orioles on Friday. Right-hander Dillon Tate was throwing well out of the Bowie bullpen, and now he awaits getting into a game to make his big league debut at age 25.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Tate. “I was so happy (when I heard). Called my parents right away. Just broke the news and tried to get it out to the rest of the family as quickly as I could. Just got all my stuff and got here. Yesterday when I went out there I just felt normal, as if the game hadn’t changed. Just playing in front of more fans.”
And Tate will have family and friends in the stands again today at Angel Stadium. He’s from Harbor City, which is south of Los Angeles and about 30 miles from Anaheim. Tate is a product of the baseball program in the Compton Youth Academy, Major League Baseball’s first Urban Youth Academy, which was founded in 2006.
“It’s a blessing, for sure,” he said of debuting close to home. “Just thankful. Pretty nostalgic. I grew up going to games here as a kid. Remember sitting in the left field section. Pretty cool to be on the field now. Will have a lot of family and friends here. Good little reunion.”
The right-hander went 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA for Bowie. But in 15 games out of the Baysox bullpen, he was 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 27 innings.
“I just felt like there wasn’t as much time for me to think in the bullpen,” Tate said. “Just-go type of mentality. Bullpen is more suited for me. I feel like everything is just a little bit more aggressive out of the bullpen for me. So it’s going good.”