PHILADELPHIA—For the first time in nearly three years, the Orioles have a three-game road sweep.
After two taut games, the Orioles spotted the Philadelphia Phillies a 2-0 lead and scored nine unanswered runs on their way to an 11-4 victory on Thursday for their fifth straight win and a three-game series sweep Citizens Bank Park.
It’s their longest winning streak since a seven-game run from August 23-30, 2017. During that streak, they recorded their last three-game road sweep, August 25-27 at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.
The Orioles’ 11 runs equaled their season high set last Friday night against the Nationals. They had 15 hits, three by Pedro Severino, and two each by Hanser Alberto, José Iglesias, Rio Ruiz and Renato Nuñez.
The Orioles are 10-7.
Iglesias said he liked the team’s talent during summer training.
“Regardless if we’re winning or losing, I see potential,” he said. “Very hungry players with a lot of talent that want to get better. I see chemistry. I’ve been around, and I see a good group that wants to compete that gets along and, for me, that has a lot of value.”
In the first four innings, former Oriole Jake Arrieta allowed three singles. Two of the runners, Alberto and Severino, were erased on double plays.
Trailing 2-0, the Orioles scored four against Arrieta, whom they traded to the Chicago Cubs in July 2013.
Nuñez led off with a single, and Severino singled with one out. Austin Hays singled to load the bases.
Pat Valaika hit a shot behind second and Jean Segura made a brilliant stop and shoveled it to Didi Gregorius. Gregorius’ throw to first wasn’t in time, and Nuñez scored with the first run.
Alberto drew his third walk of the season, and Anthony Santander lined a two-out double to right that scored three runs, ending Arrieta’s start, and giving the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
In a game that was delayed at the start by rain for an hour, 39 minutes, Orioles starter Thomas Eshelman gave up a two-run home run to J. T. Realmuto in the fourth.
Eshelman allowed two runs on four hits in five innings for the win.
“I was a little upset with myself with giving Realmuto an opportunity to hit a pitch and drive it out of the ballpark,” Eshelman said. “For our offense to come back and score four runs after doing that, hats off to them. That’s what they’ve been doing this entire season.”
With starter John Means unavailable since the death of his father last week, the Orioles have needed an extra starter, and Eshelman has delivered.
“Half our bullpen I was not going to pitch tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “These guys really needed a break.”
Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens, Travis Lakins and Cole Sulser each pitched in the first two games of the series.
“For [Eshelman] to go five innings, that was huge. [Keegan] Akin was teed up to go after him if the start was short, but he went five innings for us, and left with a 4-2 lead.
“A great job of pitching, keeping guys off-balance, locating his fastball. You never know what he’s going to throw in a count. He pitches to a scouting report.”
Oriole pitching didn’t allow a walk for the fourth time this season. In all of 2019, they had four games in which they didn’t allow a walk.
The Orioles added two runs on Iglesias’ two-out, two-run double in the seventh, and Severino hit a three-run home run in the eighth, his fourth this year.
Severino’s home run came on the first major league pitch thrown by Philadelphia’s Connor Brogdon.
Ruiz’s fifth home run, a two-run shot, made it 11-4. After Andrew Velázquez singled, Neil Walker recorded two outs. It was Walker’s first appearance as a pitcher after 1,295 games.
Evan Phillips pitched a scoreless sixth and Paul Fry a scoreless seventh. David Hess allowed Realmuto’s second two-run homer in the eighth.
Ruiz’s defense improves: Ruiz made a game-saving play at third base on Wednesday night, ranging to his left to glove Andrew McCutchen’s shot and flipping it to Alberto at second for a force on Andrew Knapp that ended the Philadelphia eighth and helped preserve the Orioles’ 5-4 win.
“I take tremendous pride in my defense,” Ruiz said in a pregame video conference call. “I have over the course of the past four of five years of my career.
“Coming up, drafted as a young player, I didn’t think defense was too big an aspect of the game and that was the wrong way to think. I got kicked in the butt later in my career and was told to take my defense more seriously. It started then.”
Ruiz talked about the play with his wife, and agreed he really liked it.
“I think that’s one of my favorite ones, given the situation we were in, the team that we were playing,” he said.
Ruiz has been productive defensively and offensively.
“You see the guy in front of you doing his job, it makes you want to do [your] job,” Ruiz said. “The lineup is all about protecting the guy behind you. [Hitting coach Don Long] is really adamant about that, and really preached that early on last year. As long as you do your job, the guy behind you is able to do his, and it just carries on from there.”
Sitting Davis: Chris Davis, the only current Oriole who was once a teammate of Arrieta, didn’t play.
Hyde said he wanted Iglesias’ bat in the lineup and used him as the designated hitter. Nuñez’s bat is hot, so Hyde wanted him in the lineup at first base.
Davis has made errors at first base in his last two games, but Hyde isn’t worried about him there.
“I think he’s been engaged defensively,” Hyde said “I don’t think that’s a trend. I think he’s still a good defender ,and he helps out defensively.”
Davis has two errors in 11 games at first. In 2019, he made four in 97 games.
Coming up: The Orioles and Washington Nationals resume Sunday’s suspended game at 5:05 p.m. Friday. Hyde said he would use a bullpen arm to pick up the game, which the Orioles lead, 5-2, in the top of the sixth.
The game resumes with the Orioles, who are the road team, having runners on first and second with one out.
Tommy Milone and Stephen Strasburg, who started the suspended game, will pitch in the regularly scheduled game, which begins 45 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.
The teams will add a 29th player for the regularly scheduled game.
Asher Wojciechowski and Patrick Corbin will pitch on Saturday night. The Orioles haven’t decided who will oppose Max Scherzer on Sunday.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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