ANAHEIM, Calif. - It was a big ask of right-hander Mychal Givens. But the Orioles turned to him in the last of the ninth today to hold a 4-4 tie. Givens finished last night’s win, getting four outs and throwing 30 pitches.
He was right back out there this afternoon trying to put up a zero and send this game to extra innings. The O’s were seeking their first four-game road sweep since Aug. 22-25, 2011, at Minnesota.
Givens got Andrelton Simmons to ground out. But third baseman Matt Thaiss, the club’s No. 8 prospect, hit his second homer of the game and the Angels had a 5-4 walk-off win in front of 35,447. Thaiss, who hit a two-run homer off Dylan Bundy in the second, hit a 3-2 Givens fastball out to right-center to end the game. Called up July 3, Thaiss hit three homers in this series and his last four hits have been home runs.
Thaiss became the first rookie in Angels history to hit a walk-off homer as part of a multi-homer game, according to STATS.
As for Givens, 30 pitches last night or not, he was ready to try and hold the tie.
“I’m just trying to do my job,” he said. “That’s what I’m here to do each day and try to be available as much as I can, try to help keep us in the ballgame. It was a little sore, but trying to get through it and help us win a ballgame.”
With Monday’s starter not yet announced and a bullpen game possible, manager Brandon Hyde had limited options for the late-game situation.
“I checked before the game,” said Hyde of using Givens, who pitched three times in this series. “He said he felt great, wanted to be in there today. I didn’t want to use the two kids (assuming he meant Evan Phillips and Dillon Tate), to be honest with you, in a tie game, and we didn’t have a whole lot of options in the bullpen. That’s why I tried to extend Dylan as long as possible and Shawn (Armstrong) and (Paul) Fry gave us a chance there.”
After the O’s offense put up 27 runs and 44 hits in winning the first three games in Anaheim, they were held to four runs and five hits today. Down 2-0 after Thaiss’ first homer, the Orioles came back to lead 4-2, scoring once in the third and three times in the fifth.
Jonathan Villar went 3-for-4 and his double in the third pulled the Orioles within 2-1 and his single as part of the three-run rally tied it 2-2 in the fifth. Then Trey Mancini’s two-run single made it a 4-2 game.
But Bundy allowed a two-run homer to Albert Pujols to tie it in the last of the sixth. Pujols hit No. 17 on the year and No. 650 for his career on a high 3-0 fastball.
“A 3-0 count you know you make a good pitch, it could be a double play,” said Bundy. “Bad pitch and it’s a two-run homer. Pretty simple. I knew he’s swinging. It’s in the report. Everybody knows he’ll swing 3-0. If I make the perfect pitch down and away like I wanted to then possible double play.”
Bundy got a no-decision allowing seven hits and four runs in five-plus and his ERA is at 5.24 after the 97-pitch outing.
Villar, who hit the go-ahead homer in the 16th inning Thursday, had quite the series in Anaheim. And it followed the three games in Arizona when he was 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts. Against the Angels he was 10-for-18 with two homers, nine runs, five steals and five RBIs.
“We have a computer and we can go back and see when we’re late or something like that. The hitting coaches told me to move my hands a little bit, it felt comfortable and helped me stay back on the breaking ball. In Arizona, I felt a little bit late with my mechanics,” Villar said.
For Hyde it was a tough end, but a good series.
“We won three out of four. We feel good about that. It doesn’t feel good to lose the fourth one like that, but you win a series on the road and it’s positive.” he said.
The Orioles have two more games in San Diego Monday and Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline.
“I mean we don’t really talk about it too much,” said Bundy. “We know there are guys that people want, so that’s part of the business of the game. You’ve just got to go out there and play for the team you’re on and right now we’re all on this team. So play hard for this team.”
The Orioles (35-70) ended a three-game win streak. They are 4-2 in the last six games, 7-4 over 11 and 13-12 in their past 25. Now it’s on to San Diego, the final leg of the three-city West Coast trip.