After Friday night’s loss, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was displeased with the quality of his hitters’ plate appearances against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“We haven’t been swinging the bat very well,” Hyde said. “We’ve got to do a lot more offensively.”
Through three innings Saturday, not much had changed. Baltimore’s offense managed just two hits and no runs with four strikeouts and had scored only two runs in its past 18 innings.
That slump ended the next inning.
Seven straight Orioles recorded hits in the fourth inning to turn a two-run deficit into a four-run lead and propel Baltimore to a 7-3 victory. The six-run inning was more than enough for ace Kyle Bradish and his bullpen, which combined to hold the Diamondbacks to three runs on five hits.
“We can do that,” Hyde said. “We can score in bunches and do it quickly. We’ve kind of been missing that here lately. That was a great offensive inning.”
With one out in the fourth, Ryan O’Hearn started the rally with a 100.5 mph single to center field — the first of six batted balls hit harder than 99 mph, according to Statcast tracking data — off Arizona rookie Slade Cecconi. After Austin Hays reached base on an infield single, Cedric Mullins officially ended the offensive woes with a three-run shot to right field.
Mullins has struggled since he returned from the first of two injured list stints with a right groin strain, entering Saturday hitting just .216 with a .644 OPS in 35 games since June 24. But the long ball was his third in nine games and it boosted his status as the Orioles’ best hitter with runners in scoring position. In 98 plate appearances in such situations, Mullins is slashing .321/.402/.625 — good for a team-best 1.027 OPS.
“One of the toughest things during a slump is to maintain that confidence,” Mullins said. “But just trusting your ability to play this game and continuing to work, and the results are going to eventually come.”
Ramón Urías followed the long ball, which put the Orioles up 3-2, with a 107.6 mph single and scored on a double to right-center field from Adam Frazier. James McCann then roped an RBI double and scored to give the Orioles a 6-2 advantage on Adley Rutschman’s 104.4 mph single.
“Honestly, that’s kind of been our mindset as a team, just get to the next guy,” McCann said. “Stringing hits together in this league is extremely difficult, so putting seven in a row was a lot of fun to see.”
The only other run Baltimore scored for the remainder of the game was a 405-foot homer from Rutschman in the seventh inning off Diamondbacks reliever Scott McGough.
The American League-best Orioles gained a game over the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost on a walk-off in extra innings to the Cleveland Guardians. Baltimore (84-51) is 2 1/2 games up on the Rays with 27 games remaining.
The win gives the club its most in a season since 2016 and extends its streak without being swept to 83 games. The last time the Orioles were swept was in mid-May 2022, before Rutschman’s MLB debut. The streak is tied with the 1922-24 New York Yankees for the third-longest in MLB history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Bradish becoming an ace
Bradish, a Peoria, Arizona, native, pitched in his home state for the first time as a big leaguer Saturday. He entered the contest at Chase Field, with about 70 friends and family in the stands, with a 3.03 ERA and exited with the same average.
The 26-year-old said it was a “dream come true” to pitch at the ballpark he grew up attending as a fan. He had never pitched at Chase Field before Saturday.
“I’ll be honest: That was probably the most nervous I’ve been,” Bradish said, “even more so than my debut just knowing I’m going to have that many people out there and you want to go out and have a good game.”
The right-hander overcame a shaky third inning, in which four of the first five batters reached base. Ketel Marte’s Baltimore chop ground ball over first baseman O’Hearn’s head gave the Diamondbacks (70-66) a 1-0 lead, and Alek Thomas doubled it with an RBI groundout.
Bradish buckled down in his final three innings to end his night with quality start — six innings and two runs allowed on four hits with six strikeouts versus three walks. Only two starting pitchers in the circuit have a better ERA than Bradish, who is making his case for AL Cy Young consideration.
Bradish has a 2.26 ERA in his past 11 starts and a 2.55 ERA in 17 starts since May 28. Since he returned from the injured list last July, Bradish has a 3.13 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 210 innings.
McCann, who caught Bradish, said he’s seen the second-year starter grow as the season’s progressed.
“I think the big thing for him is he understands who he is,” McCann said. “He understands how he has success and he sticks to that plan. You notice the guys who have been doing it in the league for a long time and have had a lot of success, they know who they are as pitchers and they don’t deviate from that.
“That’s something that Bradish has done really well this year — understanding who he is, how he has success and sticking to it.”
Top pitching prospect DL Hall, August waiver claim Jacob Webb and September call-up Joey Krehbiel covered the final three innings. After Hall and Webb combined for two scoreless frames, Krehbiel allowed a solo home run to Gabriel Moreno in the ninth.
Santander exits after hit by pitch
Anthony Santander was removed in the ninth inning after he was hit on the right hand by a 94.7 mph cutter. He walked down the first base line but was quickly replaced by Ryan McKenna.
Hyde said shortly after the game the switch-hitter was going to undergo an X-ray on the hand.
“He’s going to get precautionary X-rays, but he should be fine,” Hyde said.
Orioles at Diamondbacks
Sunday, 4:10 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
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