On a night the Orioles got a short outing from their starter, struck out 15 times and fell behind 3-1 in the third, they still managed to win.
The strong start of the 2020 Orioles continued tonight at Philadelphia.
Chance Sisco produced a clutch two-out, two-run single in the fourth and Rio Ruiz hit a go-ahead solo home run in the fifth as the Orioles beat Philadelphia 5-4. The 9-7 Orioles have won four in a row and taken the first two games in this series. They improved to 6-1 on the road and go for a series sweep on Thursday afternoon.
The O’s bullpen was hanging onto the lead late. Miguel Castro, who allowed two homers last night, gave up a run in the eighth that pulled Philly within 5-4. But with runners on first and second and two outs, Ruiz dove at a grounder to his left and while sprawling to the ground backhanded the ball on the ground to Hanser Alberto, who made a great stretch to get a force out at second base.
In the ninth, Cole Sulser, who blew a save last night, retired the Phillies’ 2-3-4 hitters in order to record his fourth save.
Sisco added a solo homer to extend a 4-3 lead to 5-3 in the sixth, and Anthony Santander homered earlier. His solo shot in the third was his fourth this year.
But it was the Phillies who took a 1-0 lead in the last of the second, and a misplayed liner to left cost the Orioles a run. Didi Gregorius walked with one out and scored on catcher Andrew Knapp’s sinking liner to left with two outs. O’s left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. initially broke back on the ball that was hit 96 mph off the bat by Knapp. That cost him as he reached down for the liner and it got by him as Gregorius scored for the 1-0 lead. It was scored an RBI double for Knapp.
In the top of the third, a home run, confirmed by a video review, tied the game. Santander drove a 1-2 slider off Zach Eflin into the right-field corner and it hit the foul pole to tie the game at 1-1. Santander now has an RBI in six straight games, with nine RBIs in that span.
The Phillies used a leadoff walk and bunt single by Bryce Harper to put their first two runners on in the third, and they scored for a 3-1 lead. J.T. Realmuto produced an RBI single and a sac fly by Gregorius scored the third run. After that half inning, O’s starter Wade LeBlanc had a discussion with home plate umpire Ramon DeJesus, as he felt he got squeezed on a few calls.
A clutch two-out, two-run flared single to left in the Baltimore fourth by Sisco tied the game 3-3. Renato Núñez doubled to left to lead off the frame and he only advanced one base on a bloop double to left by Smith. He had to hold up to make sure the ball would drop. But the next two O’s, Austin Hays and Chris Davis struck out. Sisco’s base hit tied the game and made sure the O’s didn’t let a great scoring chance go by the boards.
When Ruiz hit Eflin’s 2-2 slider into the right-field seats, the Orioles had their first lead of the night at 4-3. Ruiz’s fourth home run traveled 405 feet. Sisco led off the seventh with his second home run to make it a 5-3 lead on the O’s third longball of the game.
LeBlanc, for the second start in a row, lasted just 3 1/3 innings. He gave up six hits and three runs on 72 pitches. His ERA is now 7.13 and he’s allowed nine runs in 6 2/3 innings his past two starts. But the bullpen did enough to hold the lead for the one-run win.
The O’s offense produced 10 or more hits for the eighth time on the year and they’ve scored 43 runs the last six games.
Baltimore can produce its second three-game sweep of the year tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. when Thomas Eshelman (0-0, 3.68 ERA) faces former Oriole Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.45 ERA).
O’s manager Brandon Hyde on club winning its fourth series: “Real big. It seems like good teams have different guys on different nights, and right now that’s what we have. We had some guys get some big hits tonight. Chance Sisco, Smitty. But you know, middle relief is what won us the game, for me. Army (Shawn Armstrong) coming in and doing what he did for one-plus inning and then Lakins with a great inning also. We pitched well and we got enough runs to hold on. I meant to mention last night about Rio Ruiz’s defense, for the multiple plays he made last night. Once again tonight just a really, really stellar defensive game again. That was a big part of us winning this game.”
Hyde on Ruiz’s great defensive play in the eighth: “That was a great play. I still haven’t seen a replay of it, I’m looking forward to looking at it. But not only that, but just the double play turns. Made a really nice play last night on an angle to his right. He’s just reading the ball really well and his feet are great. He’s just playing outstanding defense at third base. That play that he made in the hole is a big stop against McCutchen, that was game-saving. Really won us the game.”
Sisco on his good hitting start to the year: “It’s timing. It’s trying to find something consistent, and that’s what I did this offseason and quarantine time. To find something that worked for me and that I can repeat consistently. I think I’m in a good spot with that, that I can repeat it consistently, so after that it’s just about seeing the ball and trying to put a good swing on it.”
Sisco, do O’s players have a lot to prove? Is that dynamic important?: “It’s huge. All of us kind of have something to prove. Very few of us on this team don’t have something to prove. That makes it fun, that makes it competitive. Games like last night and tonight we’re going back and forth with these teams, playing hard baseball. They beat that into us last year in spring training, that no matter what the result of the games, we’re going to play nine innings and as hard as we can every single night.”