It was not just that the Orioles produced a comeback win in Texas, one that gives them a series victory. It was how they did it and who was responsible that was also quite big.
Struggling Trey Mancini lined a go-ahead double in the eighth. Right-hander Dean Kremer, who had a 10.50 ERA at game time, pitched a strong game on three days’ rest. Shortstop Freddy Galvis had four hits and started one sensational double play. And the improving Orioles bullpen had another good night.
And down by 1-0 through six innings, the Orioles stormed back to beat Texas 6-1 tonight at Globe Life Field to improve to 7-8 overall and to 6-2 in road games.
They tied the game 1-1 in the seventh and rallied for two in the eighth against reliever Joely Rodríguez to produce their first lead of the night.
Singles by DJ Stewart and Maikel Franco started the winning rally in the eighth and brought Mancini up against the lefty. Mancini had snapped a 1-for-18 skid with a single two innings earlier. This time he fell behind 0-2, but worked it to 1-2 and then lined a changeup to left for a double and a 2-1 lead, leaving runners on second and third with no outs. Ryan Mountcastle then lined one deep to right and Joey Gallo made a leaping catch. But it went for a sac fly and 3-1 edge.
They got three huge insurance runs in the ninth and suddenly it was not such a tense, close game anymore. That rally included a fourth hit by Galvis on a double to start the inning. With two outs, Stewart singled him in for a 4-1 lead. Then Franco blasted a two-run homer to right and the lead was quickly 6-1.
That was No. 2 for Franco, who leads the team with 14 RBIs.
Down 1-0 against right-hander Dane Dunning through six innings, the Orioles tied this game 1-1 in the seventh against lefty reliever Taylor Hearn. With two outs, Galvis doubled off the wall in left-center to give him a 3-for-3 night and 5-for-6 series to that point. Then Cedric Mullins hit a ground ball single to right and that evened it at 1-1.
The scoreless tie had ended in the last of the fourth. Kremer had allowed just one single on 38 pitches and was rolling through three innings. But Texas put together three singles to take a 1-0 lead. And a great double play by the Orioles made sure they got just the one run.
Nate Lowe led off with a single to center and advanced to second on an Adolis García single with one out. Then left fielder David Dahl lined an RBI single to left for his fifth RBI and the 1-0 lead. Nick Solak smoked a grounder up the middle. At short, Galvis dove to his left to field the ball and shuffled it to Rio Ruiz, who stepped on second and fired to first for a spectacular 6-4-3 double play to end that inning.
The O’s tried to ride the momentum from the double play into some runs, and produced their first scoring chance of the night.
With two outs, Pedro Severino and Galvis both singled, the club’s third and fourth hits. But Mullins struck out swinging on a 1-2 curveball and they stranded two runners against Dunning. They stranded two an inning later as well.
Kremer gave up a leadoff single and fanned two in the last of the fifth. With three straight lefties coming up, manager Brandon Hyde went to Wade LeBlanc, who got out of that inning.
So, on three days’ rest, Kremer allowed just the one run and five hits over 4 2/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts. Of his 79 pitches, he threw 50 fastballs and 20 curveballs. His fastball topped at 94 mph, and he hit that in his last inning. It was a big step forward for Kremer, who had given up seven runs over six innings in his first two games.
And the Orioles bullpen, which produced four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts last night, was strong again with 4 1/3 scoreless. LeBlanc, Travis Lakins Sr., Tanner Scott and Shawn Armstrong closed out the win.
In the series finale on Sunday afternoon, the Orioles go for a sweep. Lefty John Means (1-0, 2.16 ERA) faces Texas right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.05 ERA) at 2:35 p.m.
Manager Brandon Hyde on Mancini’s clutch hit: “To see him deliver in a couple of big spots, really, the base hit to right and the ball down the left-field line, that was huge for us and huge for him.”
Hyde on the late offense: “Just big to get the lead and some tack-on runs. One thing that we’ve kind of been short on the last couple of years is when we do get leads, be able to extend them and make it easier on our bullpen. That allowed us to you know, not pitch (César) Valdez there, who has been up a lot the last few days. And go to Armstrong. But yeah, I was impressed with our at-bats the last few innings. I thought Dunning pitched extremely well and made it really tough on us. ... But, you know, Freddy Galvis with a huge night for us, also Maikel Franco. We did some good things offensively, especially in the last three innings.”
Hyde on Kremer: “I thought Dean really threw the ball well. Kind of escaped trouble there in the fourth, allowing only that one run. The first few innings he had a good fastball, a good curveball tonight. I thought his execution of pitches (was solid). But not only that, but his pitch selection. He did a really nice job working with Sevy on how to set up hitters. Dean’s got really good stuff. To be able to escape that fourth inning with only one run was a huge part of the ballgame.”
Franco on the win and the double play started by Galvis: “I mean first of all, so beautiful. Beautiful win. You play together and play as a team. Great win for us. Freddy, I’ve seen him do that for a long time. I know I have seen him make that play. For me, beautiful to watch.”
Kremer on the dugout after Mancini’s hit: “Electric. The whole offense just picked me up and the bullpen pitched really well. It was a great team win overall. To see Trey have success, I mean, means the world.”
Roster move: Following the game, the O’s optioned Kremer to the alternate site at Bowie. This is mostly about the two upcoming off days on Monday and Thursday and not needing a full five-man rotation for a few days. We don’t yet know which player the club will add. But Kremer surely will be back before too long.