O’s game blog: Matt Harvey faces Kansas City

After last night’s win that featured right-hander Mike Baumann’s major league debut and homers from Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays and DJ Stewart, the Orioles look for another win tonight as their series continues with the Kansas City Royals.

The Orioles (44-93) won for the third time in four games and are 4-3 over the last seven. They are 6-7 the last 13 games since Aug. 25. The clubs have split the first two games of this four-game series and the Orioles are now 3-2 on the year versus the Royals. They are 20-45 in home games.

Rookie Alexander Wells got the start last night and began a game where three O’s rookies would cover 8 2/3 innings. Wells allowed five hits and two runs over four innings on 80 pitches. Baumann took the mound for the top of the fifth and recorded a 1-2-3 inning on six pitches. Over 3 2/3 innings he allowed two hits and one unearned run on 46 pitches. Dillon Tate recorded the last out of the eighth inning and then Tyler Wells pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on 12 pitches.

The Orioles have now gone four straight games with rookie starters, going from Chris Ellis to Keegan Akin, Zac Lowther and Alexander Wells. It’s the 15th time in club history for that, per STATS. And this is the first time the Orioles have had a winning record when doing so. The club record is seven games in a row for rookie starters, from September 2008.

Hays’ two-run homer in the third inning provided the Orioles a 6-1 lead and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games. During this run, Hays is batting .373 (19-for-51) with eight extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He drove in three runs last night.

Stewart hit his 12th home run in the first inning to give the club a 4-0 lead on his first home run since Aug. 25. Each of his past seven homers have been at home, after hitting his first five of the year on the road. This marked his first extra-base hit since Aug. 26, and each of his four hits prior had been singles, on the heels of eight straight extra-base hits.

Mullins has now homered once in each of the last three games, the first time in his career he has homered in three straight. Mullins now has 27 homers and 26 stolen bases in his bid to the become the Orioles’ first 30-30 player. He leads the club in homers by two over Ryan Mountcastle and has hit six homers his past 13 games and nine in the last 28.

Tyler Wells made quick work of the top of the Royals order in the ninth inning to wrap up the win. For the season he is 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA, 0.827 WHIP, a 1.7 walk rate and 10.9 strikeout rate. Wells has thrown 10 straight scoreless outings. In that span he has given up just two hits in 10 1/3 innings, allowing a .061 batting average and .146 OPS.

The Orioles bullpen has allowed one earned run or none in four of the past seven games. In that span, they have yielded an ERA of 2.70.

Thumbnail image for Harvey-Matt-Throws-White-Sidebar.jpgRight-hander Matt Harvey (6-14, 6.28 ERA) will make his 28th start tonight hoping it goes as well as his previous one versus Kansas City. On July 18 at Kauffman Stadium he pitched six scoreless innings on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts on 74 pitches. Harvey threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 23 batters as the Orioles won 5-0.

Both Harvey and his mound opponent tonight, lefty Mike Minor (8-12, 5.25 ERA), have made 27 starts this year, and their teams have each gone 10-17 in those games.

Harvey threw a quality start on Aug. 27 versus Tampa Bay, allowing four hits and three runs over six innings. But in his last game, on Wednesday, he gave up four runs in four innings against Toronto. In 13 home starts, Harvey is 2-9 with a 6.40 ERA and 1.543 WHIP.

Minor, 33, has thrown 152 2/3 innings this year, allowing 151 hits with 41 walks and 146 strikeouts. He has a 1.258 WHIP with a 2.4 walk rate and 8.6 strikeout rate.

The Royals have lost six straight Minor starts, and during that span he is 0-4 with a 4.98 ERA. But that run for Minor includes two quality starts and four outings of the six in which he yielded three earned runs or fewer.

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