ANAHEIM, Calif. - On a night when the Orioles allowed homers to Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani, they still won. It’s going that well for the Birds in Anaheim.
But they had to sweat it out to the last pitch when Mychal Givens got Justin Upton to pop out on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded.
They hang on to beat the Angels 8-7 tonight and the Orioles have taken the first three in this series to improve to 35-69. They have won four of five, seven of 10 and are 13-11 the last 24 games. They are 4-2 on this nine-game road trip.
With an 8-6 lead bottom nine, Givens allowed one run on David Fletcher’s RBI hit. But he struck out Trout with first and third and one out and got Upton to end it. There was some drama at the end of this one.
The Orioles have been swinging the bats well this whole series, and that continued tonight. They picked up a clutch hit from Hanser Alberto in the eighth to break a 6-6 tie.
With right-hander Ty Buttrey just in the game, Jonathan Villar singled and Stevie Wilkerson was hit by a pitch. Apparently trying to cross up a charging bunt defense, the runners were on the move, and Richie Martin pulled back a bunt attempt and swung away. His grounder to the mound moved up the runners.
Then Alberto lined an 0-1 slider to center to score both runners for the 8-6 lead. Alberto began the night leading the majors in hitting lefties, with a .406 average. But this hit came off a right-hander, and he bats .242 against them. It was clutch, and the Orioles had moved ahead.
The offense came early and often tonight for both teams in a game that was tied 5-5 after the third inning.
A big night for Pedro Severino started with a two-run single to center in the first that scored Alberto and Renato Núñez after they singled. But when Trout blasted his 34th homer in the last of the first, the two-run shot tied the game at 2-2. The blast was the American League leader’s 12th in the past 17 games.
The Angels moved ahead 4-2 in the last of the second on David Fletcher’s two-run double to left with two outs. But their lead didn’t hold, and when the Orioles scored three in the third, they led 5-4.
With two outs and none on, back-to-back doubles by Núñez and Anthony Santander made it 4-3. Batting next, Severino hit a two-run shot to left for the lead. Severino hit No. 10 to left on a first-pitch 91 mph fastball. He had tied his career high with four RBIs by the third inning.
That Baltimore lead lasted until the first batter of the last of the third. Ohtani’s 15th homer made it a 5-5 game. It stayed tied at 5-5 until the sixth, when each team hit another solo homer. It was Villar for the Orioles and Pujols for the Angels.
Villar’s liner to right made it 6-5 and was No. 13. It also provided the Orioles with a major league record. They became the first team with two or more homers in 10 consecutive games. They have hit 22 homers in this stretch.
Batting 3-4-5 tonight, Núñez, Santander and Severino went a combined 8-for-14 with four runs and five RBIs.
Right-hander Aaron Brooks made his fourth O’s start, bumping his pitch count each time from 32 to 56 to 73 and to 96 tonight. But he allowed seven hits and five runs in five innings and yielded two home runs. He has a 7.07 ERA in four Baltimore appearances.
The Orioles offense has produced 27 runs, 44 hits and six homers in this series. The O’s are 4-3-1 the past eight series. They can sweep this four-game series on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
Manager Brandon Hyde on the last of ninth: “We’ve had some difficult ninth innings to watch. We made a young mistake with the ground ball, and we’ll learn from that. I guarantee that Richie (Martin), he is and is going to be a special defender, but Mike picked him up and got out of it, fantastic job.”
Hyde on Givens overcoming adversity in ninth: “I think Mike will tell you that falling behind and walking (Matt) Thaiss obviously is not ideal when you’re up by two. I’m sure he’s kicking himself for that because that led to the ground ball, which led to the base hit. Obviously, you’re trying to eliminate walks, but he did make a huge pitch to (Brian) Goodwin on a 3-2 pitch. That was enormous. He walked him, I might have brought in (Paul) Fry. Things worked out.”
Givens on getting Trout with game on the line: “He’s a really good hitter, but at the same time I trust my stuff and the matchups I’ve had against him I just try to attack him and make pitches.”
Givens on the last pitch to Upton and getting the save: “I’ve been in those situations. You just take a deep breath and just make a pitch. Trust the defense behind you and just basically attack them and trust yourself.”
Givens on being rumored in potential trade talk: “I have no idea. I’m still wearing orange and black so, that’s all I’m worrying about. I’m sticking with the guys I’m with right now. Trades have nothing to do with me. That’s the front office.”
Severino on being 8-for-13 in series: “I’m making adjustments, every single day just working with (Don) Long and Howie (Clark), trying to get my swing to the middle. I don’t try to pull too many balls this year, just try to hit the ball to the right side.”
Note: Severino tonight became the first Oriole with back-to-back four-hit games (he didn’t play last night) since Charles Johnson on Sept. 14 and Sept. 17 ,1999. He also became the first American League catcher with four hits, four RBIs and a stolen base in a game since Ramon Hernandez for the Orioles against Cleveland on May 6, 2007.