The Orioles entered Tuesday night in the bottom of the nine with three outs in just their second game of the season decided by more than four runs, a trend manager Brandon Hyde joked earlier in the day that “it’s not great for blood pressure”.
But even in a game Baltimore faced seven-run deficits early and late, the Orioles did little to spare the hearts of Hyde or the announced crowd of 14,343 at Camden Yards. Cedric Mullins’ ninth-inning grand slam wasn’t enough to make up for the one Kyle Bradish allowed early as an 8-6 loss ended Batimore’s seven-game winning streak.
“I had a tough time coming back from that,” Hyde said.
During the streak, the Orioles’ (15-8) starters have allowed nine runs in 41 2/3 innings. Bradish then surrendered seven while recording as many strikeouts. In his major league debut — whose anniversary is Saturday — Bradish held the Red Sox to two earned runs in six innings. Since then, he has surrendered 24 earned runs in 19 innings in five starts to American League East foe Baltimore. Including Tuesday’s 2 1/3 inning outing, three of Bradish’s four shortest starts have come against Boston.
“I think my bad outings just came against them,” Bradish said. “I don’t think it’s anything about them. That’s how it worked out.”
The exception was his first outing of the year, when a line drive to his right leg caused him to exit after recording just five outs against the Texas Rangers. After a stint on the injured list, Bradish returned last week with six scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals, a win that was the third of the Orioles’ hitting streak.
A walk off first gave Bradish 8 2/3 frames to open his season. With one out in the second, a full-count boundary slider to Triston Cases was ruled a ball to end an 11-pitch struggle. A double and three straight singles followed before a sacrifice fly gave Boston a 3-0 lead as Bradish needed 40 pitches to get through the inning. Three more singles opened the third, loading the bases, before Jarren Duran capped an eight-pitch at-bat by hitting a 93 mph fastball to center for his first home run of the season.
Up to that point, six of the seven hits Bradish had allowed had launch angles of 10 degrees or less, though five of them also had exit velocities of at least 94.8 mph, according to Statcast tracking data.
“The second half was unlucky,” Bradish said. “Not every ball hit hard. And then they came out swinging again in the third inning, and then they threw Duran a not-so-competitive fastball, and he handled it.
Bradish was able to record another out before a walk, the fourth of the outing, prompted Hyde to pull him. The Red Sox whiffed just six of 37 swings against Bradish; the 16.2% rate was the fourth lowest of his 26 career starts, with the two lowest coming against the Toronto Blue Jays, another AL East team, and the third also being a start against of Boston.
Of his 29 two-strike pitches, 11 were balls and 10 were fouls, while five became strikes despite four of them being outside the strike zone.
“The fastball command just wasn’t there, and then we just weren’t making quality pitches to get guys away,” Bradish said. “For my pregame, my fastball was really good. And when I got there, I kind of lost it. I had to find another pitch to throw for strikes and I didn’t do that. But that’s something we’re working on between starts.”
Hyde added: “They did a great job of breaking a bunch of pitches, putting some balls in play that were off the plate. I thought things were there. I just didn’t think the order was the best one tonight.”
Boston right-hander Corey Kluber, on whom the Orioles hit four home runs in 3 1/3 innings on Day 1, had six strong innings, with Jorge Mateo’s fifth-inning solo shot accounting for Baltimore’s offense. After his fourth home run, Mateo is hitting .357 with an OPS of 1.067.
Left fielder Austin Hays exited the game after the third inning with a bruised right hand after being hit by a pitch from Kluber on a foul attempt.
Rookie Gunnar Henderson homered to lead off the ninth, his first long ball at Camden Yards this season. Two more hits and an infield error loaded the bases for Mullins, who went just wide of the right-field wall for his second career grand slam. Boston turned to closer Kenley Jansen, who retired Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander to end the game.
“It was huge for us to show where we are as an offense, just to be able to keep chipping away at a game that seemed lost,” Mullins said. “Next thing you know, we’re back in contention, just a few shots away from tying and possibly taking the lead.”
Mike Baumann followed Bradish with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, leaving him with a 0.64 ERA in 14 frames. Austin Voth covered the next three innings, allowing a run in the eighth when Duran singled, took third on another hit and scored on a groundout. Cionel Pérez’s scoreless inning was just his second no-hitter in his last 10 games.
Solid outings will be needed down the road as a pair of key relievers make progress toward injury returns. Making his first rehab appearance after recovering from a strained right elbow flexor, Dillon Tate allowed one run on two hits with two hits for High-A Aberdeen on Tuesday. Mychal Givens, on the injured list with left knee inflammation, is expected to make his first rehab start later this week.
“How about Baumann, Voth and Cionel? It was awesome,” Hyde said. “This is a highlight for me tonight.”
Red Sox at Orioles
Wednesday, 1:05 p.m
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