It’s almost scary how quickly things have turned around for the Baltimore Orioles. Last night at Wrigley Field they won their tenth straight game, and swept Chicago’s “northsiders” in a short two-game series at the “Friendly Confines.” This behind a solid start from Spencer Watkins, who certainly spearheaded the Birds’ tenth straight victory. Watkins’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
The O’s led the entire way in this game. Anthony Santander’s two-RBI double in the top of the first gave them a 2-0 lead. Austin Hays’ RBI-single later in the inning ran it to 3-0. Chicago and the crowd had barely settled in, and the Birds already had the lead.
The lone thing that went wrong for the Birds in this game came on what first appeared to be a two-RBI double by Trey Mancini in the second inning. However Chicago challenged the play, claiming that the second runner (Cedric Mullins) was actually out at home plate. And the umpires reversed the call on replay, making it only an RBI-double. But no matter, the O’s still held a 4-0 lead.
Chicago did get on the board in the last of the fifth with a sac fly-RBI by Ortega. But a few innings later the O’s started plating insurance runs. Adley Rutschman and Rougned Odor smacked an RBI-double and single respectively in the eighth. Ramon Urias also scored on a balk, running the final to 7-1.
It absolutely can’t be lost on anyone that the O’s lost 19 straight games at one point last year, and now they’ve won ten straight. If anything, I would argue that the 19 straight losses brought this team closer together. Needless to say, they seem to have great chemistry and they seem to like playing with one another, as evidenced by Brandon Hyde’s comments after the game:
Just really happy with how we’re playing. Spenser was fantastic, set the tone, putting zeros up early. Bullpen once again does a great job, and we scored some runs for these guys early in the game, which was nice, and got some tack-ons late, which we’ve had a tough time doing. We’re playing good baseball right now.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
He mentioned insurance runs; that’s how you sustain winning streaks. You have to assume that most games are going to be close. So insurance runs late make a huge difference. The Birds now stand one game above .500, and they find themselves having won more games than they’ve lost for the first time since early last season.