BALTIMORE—The new extra-inning rule is providing exciting finishes for the Orioles.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the 10th, the Orioles scored two in the bottom of the inning to win it, breaking their six-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox Saturday night at Camden Yards. It was their third win in four extra-inning games.
Rio Ruiz was the runner on second to begin the bottom of the 10th. Cedric Mullins dropped an excellent bunt on the first base side and Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland, a left-hander, tried to throw out Ruiz at third. The throw was late, and the Orioles had two baserunners and no outs.
Boston reliever Matt Barnes threw a wild pitch on a breaking ball to score Ruiz with the tying run. Hanser Alberto, after swinging at a pitch that was neck high, battled back in the count and delivered an infield single. Anthony Santander, who hit a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, was walked intentionally to load the bases.
After Anthony Velázquez was called out on strikes, Boston manager Ron Roenicke summoned centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to play second base as the fifth infielder.
Severino lined a ball to center to score Mullins with the winning run. The Orioles slipped on social distancing in their celebration, although they mostly were bumping shoulders with Severino, including one from Santander that knocked him down.
“I’ve seen that position before, the five guys in the infield, and the only thing in my mind was, just hit the ball on the barrel and see where it’s going,” Severino said in a video conference call.
The win puts the Orioles at 13-14.
“We chased that one a little bit, knowing that we have an offday Monday,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I felt like our guys really needed to celebrate tonight.”
Hyde was referring to his bullpen rotation. He used Tanner Scott, Mychal Givens and Cole Sulser for 3 2/3 hitless innings until the 10th.
Miguel Castro, who recorded the final two outs with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th, got the win.
Red Sox leftfielder Alex Verdugo, who made the final out of the ninth, was placed on second to begin the 10th. Sulser, who pitched a perfect ninth, struck out Rafael Devers. He then walked J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and, finally, Moreland, which brought Verdugo home with the go-ahead run.
Hyde said that he stayed with Sulser because of his effectiveness against left-handed hitters.
“I’d rather have Sulser on Moreland than Castro on Moreland just from a splits standpoint,” Hyde said. “Just because Sulser is so good on left-handers, not knowing he was going to walk two guys in front. He lost command there.”
Pat Valaika gave the Orioles an early 1-0 lead when he hit his third home run in the last three games in the second against Martin Pérez
The Orioles had a chance to add on in the fourth when Renato Núñez doubled with one out, Severino struck out, and Valaika singled to left. Inexplicably, third base coach Jose Flores sent Núñez, who was easily thrown out at home to end the inning.
Orioles starter Alex Cobb allowed three hits in four scoreless innings. In the fifth, Bradley hit his first home run to tie it at 1. José Peraza and Verdugo hit back-to-back doubles, and Boston led, 2-1.
Cobb, healthy and productive again after last season’s hip and knee surgery, allowed two runs on six hits in five innings. He could be a coveted piece for clubs looking for a starter as the August 31 deadline approaches.
“The first three or four innings, I felt all right,” Cobb said. “The whole game I was fighting myself. The offspeed pitches weren’t biting too well and my fastball didn’t really have much life to it. It’s one of those games where you’re just trying to grind through it.”
It was the second time Cobb was the starter in a game the Orioles won in extra innings.
“Extremely exciting when you’re coming off a six-game losing streak,” Cobb said. “Any type of win is going to be exciting now. It was one of those days where you had to force a win out.”
Orioles reliever Shawn Armstrong walked Moreland with one out in the sixth. Christian Vazquez singled Moreland to third, and he scored on Kevin Pillar’s infield single to give Boston a 3-1 lead.
Hyde gave Ramón Urias his first start at second base. He played well in the field and had his first major league hit on a leadoff single in the third.
With one out in the seventh, Severino singled and Valaika walked. Ryan Mountcastle’s dribbler to Pérez moved the runners up, and they stayed there as Bryan Holaday popped to right.
Pérez gave up a run on five hits in seven innings.
Alberto walked with two outs against Red Sox left-handed reliever Josh Taylor, and Santander homered to left, his 10th of the season. It tied the score at 3 and extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 17 games. Santander turned on an inside fastball from Taylor and drove it 426 feet.
Mountcastle’s first major league hit didn’t travel that far. It was a slow roller to third base with two outs in the ninth. He nearly had his first hit on a drive to right leading off the fifth inning, but Pillar leaped in front of the right field wall to catch it.
After Mountcastle’s single, Chance Sisco walked, and Ruiz struck out, sending the game to extra innings.
Yusniel Diaz impresses: Outfielder Yusniel Diaz, who is at the alternate site at Bowie, is another player who has intrigued executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.
“He looks really good, both offensively and defensively,” Elias said in a pregame video conference call on Saturday. “He’s got a great work ethic. His attitude and the energy have been really good every day. Just like Mountcastle did, he’s seeing a lot of really tough pitching, but the performance has been there.
“He’s really close. He’d be a guy, too who’d be at Triple-A for the first time now. He would have been there last year had he not strained his leg. It’s a shame that he’s not getting that experience. He’s not on our 40-man roster yet, so that is something of a consideration when you look at a guy like him. I continue to be excited about him.”
Elias on trade deadline: Elias isn’t making any predictions on the August 31st trade deadline.
“We’re not going to sell to just sell and get more prospects,” Elias said. “But we’re not going to hold on to every single person on the team just because we’re close to a .500 team right now.
“We’re going to look at everything on a case-to-case basis.”
Harvey’s outlook: It’s possible that Hunter Harvey, who has yet to pitch this season, could be activated on the road trip to Tampa Bay and Buffalo that begins Tuesday. Harvey has a right forearm strain.
“He threw really well [Friday],” Elias said. Harvey threw live batting practice.
“The next stop for me will be doing some sim games, not too much of a difference between those two things. We’ve got a full-game environment going on at Bowie, and he’ll do that next. If he feels great, we’re hoping that maybe he’s on the team before the month is over.”
Versatility is the key: Hyde appreciates versatility, and his having Severino and Sisco take ground balls at first base on days they don’t catch. The Orioles don’t have a first baseman that hits left-handed with Chris Davis on the injured list.
“That’s not to have a left-handed hitting first baseman,” Hyde said. “Just to add versatility to them and to create more opportunities to get them in the lineup, not only for us, but for their personal careers also.
“It’s important to be able go somewhere else. You see guys like J.T. Realmuto, Buster Posey. Those guys will shoot over to first base because it keeps their bat in the lineup, and I think Chance and Sevy are along those lines. We’re trying to get them some experience over in case we need to …i t’s always nice from a club standpoint to be able to have a guy play more than one position.”