BALTIMORE—Early in this 60-game season, the Orioles’ offense showed promise. Within a six-game span, they scored 10 or more runs three times.
In recent weeks, the bats have been quiet, and manager Brandon Hyde bemoaned the tepid offense in last weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Couldn’t the offense make things easier on the Orioles’ pitchers, he wondered. And although that wasn’t exactly the case on Tuesday night, the Orioles’ offense did break out in a 9-5 win over the New York Mets at Camden Yards.
The nine runs were the most since August 13th when they scored 11.
“We haven’t had many games where we had a four-run lead,” Hyde said in his postgame video conference call. “I’m happy with our offense today. We had a bunch of guys swing the bat really, really well, and it’s nice to see guys drive the ball in the gap. We’ve been in a little bit of a rut offensively.”
Renato Núñez had two home runs and drove in four runs. Pat Valaika had his first four-hit game, and the Orioles won their second game in a row after losing 11 of 13. They’re 16-19.
Núñez hit a three-run home run, his eighth off the year, against Ariel Jurado in the first. It scored Cedric Mullins, who led off with his seventh bunt base hit, which leads the major leagues, and José Iglesias, who doubled.
“This is what we do when we play the best,” Núñez said. “We bunt, we move runners, we bring them in. That’s what we do.”
Orioles starter Asher Wojciechowski allowed two runs in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Pete Alonso and an RBI-single by Luis Guillorme.
The Orioles padded their lead to 5-2 in the third when Valaika and Andrew Velázquez led off with singles. Mullins bunted them to second and third. Valaika scored on Anthony Santander’s single, and Iglesias’ force play scored Velázquez.
Robinson Canó’s seventh home run in the third trimmed the Orioles’ lead to 5-3.
Andres Giménez hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot against Thomas Eshelman, in the sixth to tie it at 5.
Eshelman (3-0) was awarded the win. He’s the Orioles’ leading winner.
Rio Ruiz walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth against Franklyn Kilome. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Valaika’s double. He singled in the seventh for his fourth hit.
Santander homered to right, his 11th to score Valaika, and the Orioles led 8-5 after six.
Santander has been using Núñez’s bats, and with great success.
“I just have three or four bats left,” Núñez said. “He’s been using all my bats. I was telling him to use them. If they help us win, I don’t mind.”
Paul Fry, Hunter Harvey and Tanner Scott shut out the Mets in the final three innings.
Núñez led off the seventh with his second home run of the night for the Orioles’ ninth and final run.
Wojciechowski’s night: For the fourth time this season, Wojciechowski pitched five innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits.
“I wanted to go deeper,” Wojciechowski said. “I wanted to go out there for the sixth, but given how the second inning went, I really found a good rhythm in the third inning on.”
Wojciechowski threw 32 pitches in the interminable second inning. Hyde had Eshelman warming up in the latter part of the second inning.
“Throwing that many pitches seems to be an issue that I need to correct,” Wojciechowski said. “These last few outings, I’m having one inning where it’s eating up my pitch count. I feel like if I eliminate that, I’ll give us a good chance every time.”
Hyde was getting antsy watching the second.
“I was trying to win the game,” Hyde said. “There were some doubts of how long he could go. Credit to him for battling through and giving us five innings.”
Harvey impressive: In his second outing of the season, Harvey pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing a hit and striking out two.
The Orioles are being careful with Harvey, trying to get him adequate rest between appearances. His first outing was on Sunday.
Hyde is hoping Harvey can turn into a dependable late-inning bullpen piece.
“I want to believe that, but he needs to prove health,” Hyde said. “He’s had some bad luck injuries. He’s a guy that when you watch him pitch, you definitely want him available because his stuff is so good.
“Injuries are part of this game. Some guys have injuries early on in his career and bounce back. I want to believe that he’s going to be able to be a reliable back-end bullpen guy. Still holding out hope for that because the arm is so special.
“I think he’s got a reliever mentality, and I think he’d rather be in the bullpen. I think that’s where he fits best, not only medically, but with his personality.”
Remade bullpen: Miguel Castro, who flew back to Baltimore with his now former teammates after Monday’s game, wasn’t active for the game. He’s expected to be activated by the Mets on Wednesday.
Evan Phillips was sad to see Castro and Mychal Givens dealt at the deadline, but he’s optimistic about what the team has in the bullpen.
“We’re going to see Miguel walking up the ramp going the other way,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be weird for the first few days, but those guys really led us in a great direction as a bullpen. We all felt really close.
“They really left us in good hands. The group that we have down there right now, we’re headed in the right direction.”
Uhlman dies: Longtime Orioles scout Fred Uhlman Sr. died on Sunday at 90. Uhlman, who worked for the Orioles for 30 years, was elected to the team’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
He signed Jeff Ballard, Steve Finley, Gregg Olson, Arthur Rhodes and David Segui, and established baseball academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.