PHILADELPHIA—In this most unusual season, the unlikely keeps happening to the Orioles. There was an abundance of it on Tuesday night in a roller-coaster ride with the Philadelphia Phillies.
First, the Orioles came back from a three-run deficit to take a 5-3 lead in the seventh. Then reliever Miguel Castro, who’d been reliable so far this season, allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth, including home runs to Bryce Harper and Jean Segura.
Trailing by a run in the ninth, the Orioles scored the tying run on a single by Renato Nuñez. They thought they had won it after Pedro Severino’s popup was misplayed on the first base side of the pitcher’s mound when Segura, charging over from third, called off first baseman Rhys Hoskins, stumbled over the mound and let the ball drop in for a two-run single.
In the bottom of the ninth, Orioles reliever Cole Sulser allowed a two-run single to Didi Gregorius to tie the score at 8 and send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, with Andrew Velázquez starting the inning as a baserunner on second based on the new rule in 2020 to prevent extended extra-inning games, Austin Hays hit a leadoff two-run homer to win it. But it was no ordinary leadoff two-run homer.
Hays hit a sinking liner that Phillies centerfielder Roman Quinn made a diving attempt to catch. No one was backing up Quinn, and Hays raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run — the first for the Orioles since Robert Andino hit one against Boston on September 26, 2011.
“I actually didn’t think he had any chance at all to catch it when I first hit it,” Hays said in a video conference call.
“I thought it was going to be a one-hop line drive to him, and I saw him start to lay out. I thought he was going to catch it. It was actually really close. He almost did, and I dropped there for a second, thinking it was an out.
“I saw the ball go by him, and it was off to the races after that. I was sniffing an inside-the-parker the whole way.”
The Orioles’ 10-9 thrill ride was their third straight victory and followed two wins over the Washington Nationals.
“I think that game had a little bit of everything,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought it was just a gutsy performance by our club, a real grind-out mentality … just a great team win.”
The Orioles have won their two extra-inning games this season, and both were exciting.
“It felt like a boxing match,” Hyde said. “Eighth inning on, it felt like, we gave a blow, we took a blow, we gave a blow, we took a blow and who could get that last out? That was the feeling.”
Sulser, who gave up the tying runs, got the win. With a run in and Philadelphia runners on second and third with two outs in the 10th, Travis Lakins retired Hoskins on a ground ball for the final out and his first career save. It gave the Orioles an 8-7 record.
The quarter point of the 60-game 2020 season was supposed to come after Sunday’s game against the Nationals, but when the grounds crew couldn’t unravel the tarp during a storm, the game was suspended in the sixth inning with the Orioles leading, 5-2. It will be resumed on Friday evening in Baltimore, with the Nationals being the home team.
“This has been a very unusual year,” Hyde said. “We’ve seen some things we haven’t seen in a while, probably won’t be the last time.”
Hays has enjoyed it.
“It’s been a really fun season so far,” Hays said. “When the bats haven’t been there, our pitching staff has stepped up. We just continue to pick each other up, no matter what. That’s what makes the game fun, when you know you can trust the teammate that’s next to you.
“This season has just been crazy.”
Oriole starter Alex Cobb retired the first six Phillies. Leading off the third, Jay Bruce hit a grounder that Chris Davis couldn’t handle at first for a two-base error. Bruce moved to third on Scott Kingery’s infield out. Adam Haseley walked, and after he took off on a hit-and-run, Andrew McCutchen slapped a single to right, scoring Bruce and Haseley from first.
Bruce hit a 447-foot home run to lead off the fifth for a 3-0 lead.
Orioles rightfielder Anthony Santander began the sixth with a double. Nuñez’s single scored Santander, and Rio Ruiz’s double brought in Nunez. With one out, Dwight Smith Jr.’s single scored Ruiz, and the scored was tied at 3.
Cobb pitched 5 1/3 innings, long before the unusual plays became the game’s story.
“When that popup dropped, I was banging on lockers,” Cobb said. “We were all screaming. We had a good group of guys in there. We turned into fanboys. It was awesome, rooting hard for your guys. It was fun watching to be able to watch Lakins finish it off and high-five everybody afterwards.”
The Orioles took a 5-3 lead against Tommy Hunter in the seventh when Pat Valaika led off with a single. Hanser Alberto doubled to score him. Alberto advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on Santander’s single.
Hoskins led off the Phillies’ eighth with a single against Castro, and Harper followed with his fourth home run to tie the score, 5-5. Segura’s second home run of the year put Philadelphia ahead, 6-5.
In the ninth, Nuñez’s bases-loaded singled scored Davis, who led off the inning with a walk, to tie the score at 6. With the bases loaded and two outs, Severino hit the popup that Hoskins initially called for before Segura called him off, stumbled over the mound and allowed the ball to drop untouched.
“I need to be louder,” Hoskins said, accepting the blame. “I called it early. I don’t think there’s a miscue if I call it again.”
The Orioles thought they had won it, but the Phillies scored two runs against Sulser in the bottom of the ninth to tie it and set up the heroics for Hays.
“Last year and the year before, we had a lot of one-run games where we couldn’t find a way to pull through and get a win, but this season has been a very different story,” Hays said. “We seem to find a way night-in and night-out to make sure we’re there at the end of the game. Hopefully, we can continue to keep getting those big hits in late situations.”