Baltimore Orioles fall in a heartbreaking and bizarre manner

Keegan Akin was the star for the Baltimore Orioles in game two of a twin bill last night. In a seven inning game, he took a no-hitter into the seventh. Now it’s important to note that MLB isn’t recognizing no-hitters in these seven innings doubleheader games as no-hitters. But the fact is that Akin had one going last night. Akin’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Cedric Mullins’ solo homer in the third inning gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. And that one run stood up for almost the entire game. As I said, Akin didn’t allow a base hit – until the seventh inning.

He gave up the hit right away as the inning began. However that brought Bichette to the plate, and he immediately gave Toronto the lead with a two-run homer. That in and of itself is a tough pill to swallow, especially given that Toronto took the lead in almost the same manner late in the first game of the twin bill.

However this ended up being very different. First off as well as he pitched, Akin ended up with the loss. But when the smoke cleared…Toronto put up eleven runs in the seventh inning. Guys just kept getting on base and driven in by other guys by way of home runs.

You have to take into account that the O’s won a game earlier in this homestsnd with an eight-run inning. So these sorts of games happen. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Zac Lowther gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Steven Matz. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles drop a donnybrook in game one of twin bill

Dean Kremer made his return to the big leagues this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles in game one of a doubleheader against Toronto. And while Kremer surrendered his share of runs, he did so on a day when Oriole bats appeared to be primed to keep up. Kremer’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Anthony Santander, last night’s hero, picked up right where he left off in last night’s game. He smacked a first inning two-run homer to give the O’s a 2-0 lead. However Gurriel would do the same (two-run homer) in the second, and we were tied at two.

But not for long. Richie Martin grounded into a fielder’s choice in the last of the second which scored a third run, giving the Birds the lead – at least until the end. Austin Hays would add a two-run homer later in the inning.

Toronto tried to chip away. Guerrero smacked a solo homer in the third, but that only seemed to make the O’s want it that much more. Ryan McKenna’s two-RBI double gave the O’s a 7-3 lead. Jansen’s two-run homer in the fourth narrowed it to 7-5. However Hays added a second homer (a solo) in the bottom of that fourth inning. Ryan Mountcastle added one of his own, and Pedro Severino’s RBI-single ran it to 10-5.

Toronto would add four in the top of the seventh, however. This including a two-run homer by Springer. And that ultimately won the game for Toronto, 11-10.

The series continues at Camden Yards this evening with game two of the twin bill. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Thomas Hatch. Game time is set for just after 8:30 PM, approximately 45 minutes after this game ended. (Note that being a doubleheader, both games are seven innings long.)

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander cements win over division rival

The Baltimore Orioles are becoming more and more impressed with starter Chris Ellis. In general, if Tampa releases a pitcher with no apparent problem brewing, you might consider pouncing on him. The Orioles did, and it’s paying off. Ellis put them in a spot to win tonight against division-rival Toronto. Ellis’ line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

The Orioles may be playing spoiler right now. But they’re also getting a head start on seeing what they have going into next year. And Ellis appears to be a keeper. Tampa’s loss for once is the Orioles’ gain.

Ellis also had an early lead tonight. Cedric Mullins’ solo homer in the first gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning Ryan McKenna smacked a two-run shot. And the Orioles led 3-0.

The lone run that Ellis surrendered came off an RBI-single by Bichette in the fifth. One inning later Toronto was within one at 3-2 on a fielder’s choice by Bichette (aided by a series of errors). It was one of the more bizarre plays you’ll see. It started with an errant throw to third, and culminated with an errant throw home. I’m between, the Toronto runner collided with an Oriole infielder, and – let’s just say that it was a mess. And the Orioles were lucky to surrender only one run.

Later in the sixth Semien’s run-scoring double tied things up at three. This of course prevented Ellis from having a shot at the win, but it doesn’t take away from how he pitched. And it doesn’t take away from how good he’s looked since joining the club.

But the Orioles weren’t about to be stopped tonight. They weren’t about to waste Ellis’ effort. They put two aboard in the seventh, bringing Anthony Santander to the plate. And his three-run home run gave the O’s a 6-3 lead. Which became a 6-3 win.

The series continues tomorrow at Camden Yards with a doubleheader (two seven inning games). Both teams are yet to announce their starters (for the first game). Game one is set to begin just after 4:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Never count this team out

Matt Harvey pitched into the fifth for the Baltimore Orioles last night. It was a solid outing for the most part. But Harvey just didn’t figure into how the game ended. Not many people would have had it ending the way that it did, in fact. Harvey’s line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R (3 earned), 1 BB, 2 K.

Over the course of…oh, the first seven innings or so, the Birds spotted Kansas City a five-run lead. That included a solo homer by Perez in the top of the seventh. Common sense said that the Birds had to know they were staring a loss in the face, while Kansas City was cursing to victory. But part of the beauty of baseball is that sometimes you see things you’ve never seen before.

Austin Hays and Anthony Santander smacked RBI-doubles and singles respectively in the last of the eighth. That narrowed the lead to 5-2. Admittedly, you’re thinking, “okay two token runs, cool” at first. But what would you do if I told you that was only the beginning?!

Ramon Urias added an RBI-single, and Kelvin Gutierrez a two-RBI single. And we were tied. And the O’s really started piling it on after that. Cedric Mullins reached on an error which allowed two runs to score. Ryan Mountcastle smacked a two-run homer. And when the smoke cleared, the O’s led 9-5.

Now Kansas City tried to come back. They put up three in the ninth, but couldn’t come all the way back. And the O’s went home with a 9-8 victory.

This team never quits. And they okay every game until the final out. Nobody would have blamed them for pumping the brakes when they were down 5-0 at the start of the eighth inning. But they didn’t. They found a way. And that mentality will do them well as time goes on. All I know is to never count the Orioles out.

The series concludes tonight at Camden Yards. John Means gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Carlos Hernandez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Mike Bauman gets first big league win in debut

The Baltimore Orioles didn’t face much competition in tonight’s game from Kansas City. Alexander Wells got the start, and while he left with the lead, he didn’t qualify for the wins by only pitching four innings. Wells’ line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Anthony Santander gave the Orioles the lead in the last of the first with an RBI-single. But the Orioles weren’t done in the inning. Not by a long shot. Austin Hays’ RBI-groundout ran it to 2-0, and DJ Stewart’s two-run homer put the Birds ahead 4-0.

Kansas City’s Lopez would cut the lead to 4-1 in the third with an RBI-single. However Austin Hays would do him one better in the bottom of the frame with a two-run homer that broke the game wide open. The O’s led 6-1.

Santana would smack a solo shot in the fourth to cut the lead to 6-2. And that appeared to chase Wells, who again only pitched four innings. They then turned to rookie Mike Bauman, who had been called up from Norfolk yesterday afternoon.

And Bauman, who was only making his big league debut (with his entire family cheering him on in the stands), was really strong. He sent Kansas City down 1-2-3 in the fifth, and in doing so became in line for the win.

Bauman pitched with ice water in his veins. He could have pitched that one inning, hit the showers, and left it at that. And it would have been a successful debut. But he instead lasted 3.2 innings, giving up two hits and one unearned run. And he earned high praise from manager Brandon Hyde:

He was absolutely outstanding. I loved the aggressiveness in the strike zone. I like how he attacked hitters. I thought his fastball had a ton of life to it. Had him scheduled for two-to-three innings tonight and he goes three-plus. Going 3 2/3, not giving up an earned run. I thought he flashed some good secondary stuff, as well. A couple good sliders, a couple good curveballs to add in there. But I just liked his aggressiveness in the strike zone, challenged hitters.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Cedric Mullins would smack a solo homer in the seventh, and Kansas City would score the aforementioned unearned run on an error in the eighth. But the O’s coasted to a 7-3 victory, giving Mike Bauman the win in his major league debut. And make no mistake, that’s a big deal.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Mike Minor. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Improbable game and series win goes to the Birds

To paraphrase a popular baseball poem, the outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Baltimore Orioles (or “Baltimore Nine”) today. Nobody would have blamed the Birds for dropping today’s game. And it looked like that’s how things were trending when starter Keegan Akin gave up a grand slam to Sanchez in the second inning. Akin’s line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Backing up for just a moment, the Orioles did hold the lead in this game after Austin Hays smacked a solo homer in the top of the second. However Sanchez’s grand slam in the bottom of the frame put NY ahead. And again, nobody would have blamed the O’s for packing it in.

But instead they chipped away. Jorge Mateo’s sac fly-RBI cut the lead to 4-2 in the fourth. However an inning later Rizzo’s RBI-single re-extended the NY lead to three runs.

But it was the Orioles who appeared to have something for which to play today. Each time New York put runs up, the Orioles came back. Cedric Mullins smacked a two-run homer in the sixth which brought the O’s to within 5-4. But a two-run homer by Sanchez in the bottom of the sixth gave New York a 7-4 lead.

But as I said, the O’s always came back. Jahmai Jones’ two-run double in the seventh again brought the Orioles to within one at 7-6. But this was the Orioles’ day, and the Orioles’ series in the Bronx. Jorge Mateo tied the game at seven with an RBI-single later in the inning, and Kelvin Gutierrez’s RBI-single gave them the lead for good. And the O’s defeated New York 8-7 at Yankee Stadium.

To review, the O’s fell in extra innings to New York on Friday night. But they came back to win the series with grind-em-out wins on Saturday and again this afternoon. That shows a lot of character in that clubhouse. Furthermore the O’s are getting contributions from guys like Gutierrez and Mateo. That’s a great sign going into next year. But for now, they’re at least leaving their mark on the AL playoff race.

The O’s now return home to open a three-game set with Kansas City tomorrow at Camden Yards. The O’s have yet to name a starter, but whomever he is he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Kris Bubic. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is the pitching staff turning a slight corner?

You’d be hard-pressed not to notice that the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching staff (both starters and bullpen) have been performing well the past few games. This against pretty stiff competition in Toronto and New York. This afternoon it was starter Chris Ellis in the Bronx, who kept a potent New York lineup at bay. Ellis’ line: 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Ellis and the bullpen led the Birds in a no-hit bid into the seventh inning. Again, this against a potent New York lineup. And the Birds even held a lead from the fourth inning on. Trey Mancini scored from third on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.

And that’s also a good sign. Mancini had to make a snap decision whether to run. And he decisively went for it, and slid in safely to home plate to give his team the lead. As much bad base running as we‘ve seen from this team this season, that was good base running and that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

The Orioles would also get an RBI-double from Cedric Mullins, and an RBI-single from Austin Hays in the seventh. However Torres would break up the no-hit bid in the bottom of the inning with an infield RBI-single. One inning later Gallo would smack a two-run homer to tie the game.

However down the stretch New York would load the bases a couple of times. And the Orioles would pitch out of it. Many people will say, “yeah but they loaded the bases.” Pitchers will get themselves in trouble – it’s the nature of the position. But good ones will work their way out of trouble also. The Orioles did that today by way of ground ball double-plays.

And the game itself was there for the taking. In the ninth it was the Orioles’ turn to load the bases. And they’d score on a sac fly-RBI by Pedro Severino. Now again, a crass person’s going to say “but they only got one run.” Well in a tie game in the ninth inning if you get one run, you’re in good shape. It’s all in the context of the situation. And the Birds went onto a 4-3 victory over New York.

People might argue that this is just a good stretch that Oriole pitching is going through. And it might be the case – we’ve seen that before, just as we’ve seen bad stretches. But it also could be the staff coming together here as we go into the home stretch of the season. They certainly played a bug role in winning a ballgame today.

The series concludes tomorrow at Yankee Stadium. Keegan Akin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Corey Kluber. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles battle hard in the Bronx, but fall in extras

John Means anchored the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching effort last night in a pitching duel that went to extras. With the Orioles playing out a string on the season and New York in the thick of contention, maybe you couldn’t have expected much last night. Out of even a an ace like Means, or out of the Orioles in general. But we saw what this group of Birds could be last night. We saw the future, and it was good. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

You don’t expect a team like the Orioles to match New York, the “Bronx Bombers,” pitch-for-pitch in a pitcher’s duel. But they did. Means was strong in his five innings. He didn’t totally keep New York off the board, but he put the Birds in a position to win. And that may have been more than anyone was expecting.

New York tagged Means for a solo homer by Stanton in the fourth, and a sac fly-RBI by LeMahieu in the fifth. And make no mistake that Means will take a solo homer and a sac fly. For the most part those aren’t going to hurt you. And they didn’t last night.

However the O’s wanted to remind the Bronx crowd that there were two teams playing in this game. Granted the same applies – in that solo homers aren’t going to beat you – when you get two solo homers towards the latter part of a game you’re losing 2-0, that’s a big deal. The Orioles got solo shots off the bats of Trey Mancini (6th inning) and Jorge Mateo (7th inning). That tied the game at two.

The game went to extra innings, and the Orioles took a brief lead. Ryan Mountcastle took advantage of the ghost runner on second in extra innings rule, and smacked an RBI-single in the tenth. However in the bottom of the frame LeMahieu did the same, tying the game. One inning later Stanton’s RBI-single would send the O’s to defeat, 4-3.

But you have to tip your cap to the Birds. They battled last night. And they battled hard. That shows a lot of character, especially at a time when perhaps coaches, players, and fans alike are looking to the end. But there’s no quit in these guys, and it showed last night.

The series continues this afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Chris Ellis gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Birds fall despite battling in Toronto

Toronto’s been a house of horrors for years for the Baltimore Orioles. Despite losing last night and dropping the series, they held their own tip there this time out. Matt Harvey got the start at Rogers Centre, but didn’t stick around long enough to see the end. Harvey’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K.

Harvey gave up a solo homer in the last of the first to Semien right off the bat. But the O’s battled back. They loaded the bases in the second inning, and Cedric Mullins walked in a run. That tied the game at one.

But the Orioles weren’t finished Ryan Mountcastle walked in a second run, and the O’s suddenly led, 2-1. Incidentally Mountcastle had a great series. Is it possible that someone on the Orioles finally is actually cut out to hit in the dome?!

Toronto would tie things back up in the fourth on Hernandez’s RBI-single. They would then take the lead on Gurriel’s two-RBI single. And the Orioles trailed 4-2.

But the O’s never quit. They got to within 4-3 in the sixth on Austin Wynns’ RBI-single. One inning later Trey Mancini’s RBI-double would tie the game at four. The game would go to the last of the ninth tier at four, but Grichuk’s sac fly would score the winning run, and Toronto won it 5-4.

As I said, Rogers Centre has been a tough place for the Orioles to play over the years. Going back a long way. Granted they lost 7-3 on Monday, but they battled to the end. They won on Tuesday, and lost a close one last night. This was not your typical Rogers Centre visit for the Orioles. Furthermore, as I said, Ryan Mountcastle had a great series. Having a young guy who suddenly seems to hit well at Rogers Centre could be a big asset as time goes on.

Baltimore Orioles: Keegan Akin and Ramon Urias save the day

Keegan Akin has quietly pitched a couple of good outings for the Baltimore Orioles. This including tonight at Rogers Centre in Toronto, where he dominated one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Akin’s line: 5.0 IP, 2 H 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Amin’s some bad pitch ended up in the seats. Jansen smacked a solo homer in the third. However Oriole bats are first didn’t appear to be complimenting the effort Akin was putting forth. It took until the sixth for the O’s to score their first base hit of the game.

And that was on a Mountcastle double. He would later score on an RBI-single by Austin Hays. That tied the game at one, but the O’s weren’t done. Ramon Urias’ two-RBI double layer in the inning would give the O’s a 3-1 lead.

That lead was briefly cut to 3-2 on Guerrero’s solo homer, but the O’s quickly got that run back. Jahmai Jones’ RBI-single in the seventh gave the O’s a 4-2 lead. Which is how the game ended.

Akin and Urias turned in perhaps their best performances as Orioles tonight. But the biggest factor was the the O’s hit with RISP this evening. They only had four hits, but they were 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position. That’s how you win games.

The series at Rogers Centre concludes tomorrow night. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Steven Matz. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.