It was a day to look toward the future, especially when the Orioles dropped their fifth straight game on a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-5 walkoff victory. It was the Orioles’ sixth consecutive loss to Toronto.
However, there were promising signs that better days might be ahead. Rookie leftfielder Ryan Mountcastle hit two home runs — 420 feet and 410 feet — his first in Major League Baseball, and relief pitcher Hunter Harvey returned and was throwing 98 mph.
And, before Sunday’s game, the Orioles made two deals, trading starting left-hander Tommy Milone and their most experienced reliever, Mychal Givens. With the trade deadline at 4 p.m. on Monday, they might not be done.
Their principal remaining trade chip is starter Alex Cobb, who is owed $15 million in the final year of a four-year, $57 million contract. Reliever Miguel Castro, second baseman Hanser Alberto and shortstop José Iglesias also could be on the block.
“We expect the conversations to continue, and we’ll see if anything else takes place,” Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said in a video conference call.
The Orioles promoted left-hander Keegan Akin for the third time this season, and he will start on Monday. Harvey was reinstated from the 10-day injured list.
In exchange for Milone, the Orioles acquired a player to be named later from the Atlanta Braves. For Givens, who struggled as a closer but thrived as a setup man, the Orioles got two infield prospects from Colorado, Tyler Nevin and Terrin Vavra, and a player to be named later.
Nevin and Vavra will join the Orioles’ 60-man player pool, which is at 58. They’ll report to Bowie.
Elias thinks Nevin will be the starting first baseman at Triple-A Norfolk in 2021.
The Orioles haven’t produced many infield prospects in recent years. Not since second baseman Jonathan Schoop in 2013 has a homegrown infielder played regularly.
Elias has loaded up on infielders in his first two drafts, but there aren’t any major league-ready second baseman, shortstops or third basemen in the high minors.
“We’ve been accumulating relievers the last year or so,” Elias said. “The good news for us is that we’ve got young players on the way. We have young relievers that can step in for Mychal Givens.”
Milone, who started for the Braves Sunday night against the Phillies, became a popular teammate in his brief time with the Orioles.
“Tommy’s a guy that gave us some really good starts,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “A guy that was a class act on and off the field. I loved having him on the team.
“I told him I would love to manage him again … I would have liked to get to know him a little bit better. I’d like to see him pitch in a normal season.”
Other than Cobb and Iglesias, the current team is devoid of veterans.
“We were young already, we’re going to stay young, and we’re going to stay inexperienced for this final month,” Hyde said. “We’re going to do the best that we can with the guys we have, to continue to develop them, to give them major league experience. We’re facing really, really good clubs, too these last 20-plus games. It’s tough, but we’re going to do our best.”
Orioles extend losing streak: Teoscar Hernandez hit the two out, two-run ninth-inning single off Orioles closer Cole Sulser that lifted the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo.
The Blue Jays have won the first three games of the four-game series. The Orioles are 14-19 and have lost 11 of 13.
Sulser, who lost for the second time in three games, walked Joe Panik to start the ninth. Panik moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan McGuire, Cavan Biggio popped out, and Oriole nemesis Randal Grichuk was walked intentionally.
Sulser walked Travis Shaw, and Hernandez singled to left. Panik scored the tying run, and Grichuk the winning run.
“Tough time there in the ninth, walked the leadoff hitter,” Hyde said. “We took the lead in the top of the ninth, we just didn’t finish it today.”
Hyde said that several bullpen arms were unavailable and declined to endorse Sulser as his closer.
“I think anything’s open right now,” Hyde said. “I still like Sulser a lot, especially with left-handed hitters.”
Mountcastle hit a solo shot in the second and a two-run homer in the sixth when the Orioles took a 4-3 lead.
“He had two really long home runs, really good swings, nice base hit the other way,” Hyde said. “You saw the raw power potential. He took good at-bats all day.”
Mountcastle also had an infield single, and is hitting .393. His only out came when he couldn’t lay off an inside fastball in his final at-bat.
“To finally be able to live out the dream has really been a cool experience so far,” Mountcastle said. “To have a pretty decent day today was definitely a breath of fresh air.”
Jorge López made his first start for the Orioles and worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits.
Harvey made his first appearance of 2020, retiring the first two Blue Jays batters in the eighth, then gave up a single to Hernandez and walked Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Scott replaced Harvey and gave up a single to Rowdy Tellez to tie the score at 4.
Iglesias’ ninth-inning single gave the Orioles a 5-4 lead
Rio Ruiz led off the ninth with a single. Andrew Velázquez bunted him to second, and Ruiz moved to third on an infield out by Alberto. Anthony Santander was walked intentionally by Anthony Bass, and Iglesias singled to right, scoring Ruiz.
Iglesias, Renato Núnez and Pedro Severino each had two hits.