Wojociechowski closes his season with strong start; Nunez hits 30th homer, drives in all four Orioles runs - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Wojociechowski closes his season with strong start; Nunez hits 30th homer, drives in all four Orioles runs

Photo Credit; Joy R. Absalon

BOSTON—Starter Asher Wojciechowski closed out his season by showing the Orioles that he deserves to come back for 2020.

Wojciechowski, who spent the second half of the season with the Orioles, got stronger as he went along on Friday night, throwing six scoreless innings, allowing four hits in the Orioles’ 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

The win was the 53rd for the Orioles against 107 losses. Their final two games of the season are Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Wojciechowski allowed a one-out double to Xander Bogaerts in the first, stuck out Juan Centeno with two runners on in the second to end the inning, and was helped out in the fourth when Sam Travis ran through third base coach Carlos Febles’ stop sign and was tagged out at the plate on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s double to end the inning.

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In the fifth and sixth, Wojciechowski retired Boston in order, but he didn’t necessarily think he got stronger as he went along.

“I was just more so really just trying to execute pitches,” Wojciechowski said. “I knew kind of where my pitch count was, in the season, too. I really just tried to focus on just executing a pitch, not overthrowing, getting good bite on my slider, on my cutter. Really just was happy with the way things ended.”

When the 30-year-old journeyman looks back on the season, he’ll likely remember the Red Sox fondly.

On July 21, he allowed just one hit in 7 1/3 innings, which equaled the Orioles’ longest start of the season, against the Red Sox. He had only two scoreless starts, and both were against Boston.

“The ball kind of fell my way today,” Wojciechowski said. “But I was happy, executed pitches well. I was happy with my performance today.”

Tanner Scott worked a 1-2-3 seventh. Mychal Givens struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth, and Richard Bleier allowed a run in the ninth.

Rafael Devers doubled to begin the inning, and Bogaerts singled to score him. Bleier then picked him off first.

“We’ve been kind of waiting for this type of game,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

“They don’t happen very often, where it’s smooth. Our guys, you can forecast what’s going to happen next. Mike had two right-handers in his inning, Tanner had two left-handers in his inning. Richard was going to have three out of four left-handers in his inning.

“So it’s a lot easier to navigate when guys are getting it done and getting guys out when they’re supposed to. And it’s not going to be perfect every night. We’ve just had a tough time this year and tonight we just did a great job out of the bullpen.”

The Orioles  took a 3-0 lead in the third when Renato Nunez hit his 30th home run of the season with two on.

With one out, Austin Hays doubled and Trey Mancini walked. Dwight Smith Jr. struck out, and Nunez hit a long home run to left. Nunez had 28 home runs on August 21.

“What can I say? It was always in the back of my mind,” Nunez said of the 30th homer. “Like I always say, I’m just trying to help my team win. I did that today, and that’s all I want.”

Hyde said Nunez should feel a sense of accomplishment.

“I think Noonie’s really been pressing trying to get that 30th, and I told him he’s going to sleep a lot better tonight knowing he’s got 30 homers,” Hyde said.

“It’s a great accomplishment in his first really full year in the majors. Twenty-five years-old and hitting 30 is impressive, and he hit a big one for us tonight.”

Mancini and Nunez both have at least 30 homers and 85 RBIs. It’s the ninth time in club history a pair of teammates have done that.

In the ninth, Hays led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Nunez’s opposite-field single to right.

“When I’ve got men on second and third, what I want is to bring that guy in,” Nunez said. “I feel like that’s my job. I was just battling in that at-bat. I react well, and I hit that ball to right field. It was amazing. I felt great.”

The Orioles walked nine times, equaling their high for a nine-inning game this season, and left 11 runners on.

“That’s one thing I’ve talked about a lot this year is we make it tough on our bullpen,” Hyde said. “We haven’t had done a great job out of the ‘pen this year, but we’ve also made it tough on them by leaving a lot of runners on base with a lead and not being able to get deeper into their ‘pen or extend the lead to just make it easier on ourselves.

“It seems like we have a tough time getting that big hit to put the game out of reach or to really extend the lead. So for Noonie to get that hit in the ninth to make it a four-run game was huge.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Fareastern89

    September 28, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Always nice to get a win against Boston, especially in Fenway. It’s also good to see Tampa Bay and Oakland in the playoffs instead of the Red Sox. Rich, what’s the mood in the O’s clubhouse as the season comes to an end?

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 28, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      It’s about the same as it’s been all season, pretty relaxed, FarEastern.

  2. CalsPals

    September 28, 2019 at 8:06 am

    I really would be surprised if Bleier is here next yr, he doesn’t seem to have been the same pitcher since his injury…go O’s…

    • Raymo

      September 28, 2019 at 10:10 am

      It seems like he’s been more effective lately. I bet they give him another shot.

    • Jbigle1

      September 28, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      You would have to have a better lefty if you’re going to cut Bleier. You show me this better lefty. Cause he’s not in the organization today. Bleier will be back and I’m willing to bet he’ll be a lot better.

    • CalsPals

      September 28, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      Hope so…go O’s…

  3. Orial

    September 28, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Other than fixing this pitching staff the configuration of Nunez,Davis,Mancini,Mountcastle should be at the forefront of questions facing 2020. That of course is counting on Davis returning as Elias inferred. That’s a lot of DH type. Wojo/Brooks have at least earned looks for the 5th starter next spring.

  4. willmiranda

    September 28, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Thanks, Rich, for tramping up to Beantown to give us a great report on another
    big O’s win. (To my doubters, I say the fewer wins you have, the bigger each one is.)
    Winning games is the first step to winning championships, and each win should
    be appreciated. And thanks to our lads for getting up and fighting to the end.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 28, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      You’re welcome, Will.

  5. Bhoffman1

    September 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I guess Mason Williams is shut down for the season as we have our second baseman in CF today

  6. Bhoffman1

    September 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Hope they give him a chance to be our fourth outfielder next year.

  7. Bhoffman1

    September 28, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Just saw you wrote he won’t play because of sore knee.

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