ANAHEIM, California—The Orioles had a two-run lead heading into the ninth inning. If reliever Mychal Givens could work efficiently, he wouldn’t have to face Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Instead, Givens walked Matt Thaiss with one out, and rookie shortstop Richie Martin failed to get an out on Luis Rengifo’s grounder. Thaiss ran on the grass to elude Martin’s tag but wasn’t called out of the baseline.
David Fletcher’s RBI single brought the Los Angeles Angels to within 8-7. With runners on first and third, Givens faced Mike Trout, who had hit a two-run home run in the first inning.
He struck out the slugger, and Trout is now 0-for-7 with four strikeouts against Givens.
During the at-bat, Fletcher stole second, and Shohei Ohtani was walked intentionally to load the bases. Givens got Justin Upton to pop to second on a 3-2 pitch, and the Orioles had their third straight win, 8-7.
“We’ve had some difficult ninth innings to watch,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We made a young mistake with the ground ball, and we’ll learn from that. I guarantee that Richie … he is and is going to be a special defender, but Mike picked him up and got out of it, fantastic job.”
Givens picked up his ninth save, two days after his blown ninth-inning save opportunity helped set up the Orioles’ 16-inning win.
“I knew he wanted to be in a big situation again,” Hyde said. “And he got in one and got out of it, so good for him.”
Few pitchers have had that kind of success against Trout.
“He’s a really good hitter, but at the same time, I trust my stuff and the matchups I’ve been having against him,” Givens said. “So just go and attacking him and just making pitches.”
Hyde didn’t call for Trout to be walked with runners on first and third and one out because of his confidence in Givens.
“Mike’s got elite stuff,” Hyde said. “Mike falls into trouble when he walks guys or gets behind on guys … [he] went after Mike Trout. Mike Trout’s an aggressive hitter and got ahead of him and put him away, so huge at-bat, huge job by Mike getting him out.”
Givens’ clutch performance could spark interest in teams looking for a reliever by the trade deadline Wednesday at 4 p.m.
“I have no idea,” Givens said. “I’m still wearing orange and black, so that’s all I’m worried about. I’m sticking with the guys I’m with right now. Trades have nothing to do with me. That’s the front office.”
Orioles’ offense rules: The Orioles have scored 27 runs in the three wins over the Angels. Home runs by Pedro Severino and Jonathan Villar gave the Orioles at least two home runs in 10 consecutive games, a major league record in a season when a number of home run records are likely to fall.
Severino had four hits for the second consecutive game. He was 4-for-8 in Thursday night’s 16-inning win, and is 8-for-13 in the two games.
“I’m making adjustments, every single day just working with [hitting coaches Don Long and Howie Clark], trying to get my swing to the middle. I don’t try to pull too many balls this year, just try to hit the ball to the right side.”
Severino had four RBIs, and became the first American League catcher with four hits, four RBIs and a stolen base since Ramon Hernandez did that for the Orioles on May 6, 2007.
Hanser Alberto had a two-run single in the eighth inning for the go-ahead runs
Villar had three hits.
Hot Orioles: Richard Bleier got the win. He’s 2-0 this season and 7-1 in his three seasons with the Orioles.
The Orioles have won their first four-game series and their record is 35-69. It’s their third three-game winning streak of the season and they’ve won seven of 10. Since June 28, they’re 13-11.
Last year, they didn’t record their 35th win until the 114th game, putting them 10 games ahead of last year.
Brooks’ night: Aaron Brooks was starting for the fourth time since joining the Orioles, and this start was his deepest. He left after five innings with a 6-5 lead. That lead evaporated when Albert Pujols homered against Miguel Castro.
Brooks allowed five runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out six.
Means hopes IL stay will be short: Pitcher John Means doesn’t think his sore left biceps is terribly serious.
“I felt it in the bullpen before my last outing,” Means said. “I cut that short. I actually felt better during the game. The third, fourth inning I was starting to feel it again.”
Means started on Wednesday in Arizona, and was put on the 10-day injured list before Friday’s game. The move was retroactive to Thursday.
He was on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder strain last month and was out just 10 days.
“It’s the same thing,” Means said. “I’m going to miss one start … I could start again. It’s just one of those things that I don’t want lingering and I want to attack as fast as I can because I want to finish the season strong, and I want to finish the season healthy.”
Means doesn’t think the injuries are related.
“It kind of happened and lingered,” Means said. “It’s one of those things you attack right away.”
He threw before Friday’s game and then the decision was made to place him to the IL.
“I tested it,” Means said. “It felt good, honestly. Just when I let loose a little bit, when I’m feeling max effort … It’s going to be tight if I keep on throwing so you might as well protect it now and not worry about it later.”
Means left the ballpark shortly before the game for an MRI on his biceps. Hyde said initial reports were positive. .
Hyde has not decided on a starter in Means’ place for Monday in San Diego.
Smith injured: Dwight Smith Jr. left the game in the third inning with soreness in his left calf. Hyde says it’s not believed to be serious.
Tate at home: Dillon Tate was in Binghamton, New York with the Bowie Baysox when he found out he was joining the Orioles. Even better, Tate was making his first appearance on a major league roster at a ballpark about an hour from where he grew up.
Tate arrived about a half-hour before Friday’s game.
“It was grab something to eat, lace ‘em up and get out there with the guys,” Tate said.
More bullpen work for Wilkerson?: Now that Stevie Wilkerson has made three successful relief appearances, Hyde isn’t contemplating more bullpen work for him.
“No, we’re going with the pitchers we have,” Hyde said. “I hope I never have to use Stevie again, to be honest with you, , but you never know. It probably will happen. The way this year’s going, probably it will happen at some point.”
Hyde said that Wilkerson has the right personality for relief.
“It takes a really confident person to be able to flip 55-mph cheeseburgers up there and not have any fear with the lead in the 16th inning and enjoy it.”
Wilkerson isn’t campaigning for a bullpen role.
“I think it’s a bit far-fetched, but I’d do anything the skipper tells me to,” Wilkerson said
Wilkerson donated a hat and a cap to the Baseball Hall of Fame after becoming the first position player to record a save.
Trumbo resting: Mark Trumbo, who homered on Tuesday night for Triple-A Norfolk at Rochester, is resting his surgically repaired right knee again.
“He’s taking a break,” Hyde said. “He’s taking a little bit of a breather. I don’t think he’s happy with how everything is feeling.”
Trumbo played two games for Norfolk in his latest rehab stint. He halted his previous rehab stint in mid-June.