BALTIMORE—After scoring just three runs in 33 innings in a four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, the Orioles took out their frustrations on the Atlanta Braves Monday night.
Just five days before, the Braves set a National League record by scoring 29 runs against the Miami Marlins.
The Orioles didn’t score 29, but they did score nine runs in the third inning and recorded their most lopsided win of the season, 14-1, ending a five-game losing streak. They’re 21-26.
The nine-run third, which gave them a 10-0 lead, was their biggest since April 15, 2016. Twelve batters came to the plate, and three hit home runs — DJ Stewart, Ryan Mountcastle (back-to-back) and José Iglesias.
“I thought our guys took really good at-bats tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Scored a bunch of runs early, which really makes it easy on our pitching staff.”
Stewart hit a three-run homer, his seventh in the past nine games. Mountcastle followed one pitch later with his fifth. Iglesias’ home run, his first with the Orioles, was a three-run shot.
Iglesias, who was removed after five innings, equaled his career high with four hits. He also had an RBI single in the fifth. Stewart had four RBIs as well. Mountcastle drove in three runs with a pair of singles in addition to the home run.
“It was very tough. We had a rough series in New York,” Iglesias said. “We were really able to leave it in the past, nothing we can do about it right now, turn the page and be competitive … tonight, the team showed grit.”
Austin Hays, who came off the injured list on Monday and played left field for the first time in his career, was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Starter Jorge López became the first Oriole pitcher to complete seven innings this season, giving up just five hits.
“It’s a great opportunity, every single start,” López said. “Every outing, I feel more confident. That comes from the work I’ve been doing with the pitching coaches.”
He allowed a run on Freddie Freeman’s sixth-inning home run.
“We were a little short in the bullpen tonight,” Hyde said. “It was extremely helpful to go seven innings for us. He did a nice job pitching with a lead. Pitching with a lead is not always as easy as it looks.”
Pat Valaika homered in the seventh for the Orioles’ 14th run, a ball that tipped off the top of former Oriole Nick Markakis’ glove.
Davis back to injured list: Chris Davis was sent to the 10-day injured list for the second time with left knee patellar tendinitis.
Davis was on the IL from August 21st until September 8th and played in Friday night’s second game at Yankee Stadium, going hitless in three at-bats. He’s batting .115.
“His knee kind of flared up after that game in New York,” Hyde said. “We gave it some time, tried to see how it would respond. Ultimately, put him on the IL.”
Wilkerson’s release: The Orioles decided to keep Mason Williams after the outfielder cleared waivers for the second time in 10 days on Monday.
But their 60-man player pool was full, and they released Stevie Wilkerson, who won’t play this season because of a fractured ring finger suffered in an exhibition game in Philadelphia on July 19th.
Wilkerson was on a minor league contract, and the Orioles would have to release him to remove him from the player pool, making a spot for Williams.
Wilkerson’s ring finger is improving, and the Orioles will continue to oversee his recovery. They could re-sign him to a minor league contract for 2021 after the season ends.
Getting defensive: The Orioles played exceptional defense on Monday night, including two outstanding plays by centerfielder Cedric Mullins and a nifty deflection play at third by Rio Ruiz. They’ve often played sloppily, however, and Hyde offered an explanation.
“I think that we’re playing out of position at times,” he said. “I think that we’re tired. I think not having [shortstop] José Iglesias on the field routinely is a big deal. Not having Chris Davis at first base defensively is tough.”
“We just had a little bit of a problem with the infield being consistent. Losing Richie Martin, a really good defender, that hurt us also.
“It hasn’t been a great few weeks defensively in the infield. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of ground balls these guys are taking or the amount of early work that’s happening, and sometimes too much, and sometimes I need to back off on these guys to let them rest so that they’re ready to play in a game, which I think we’re doing a good job of. With this short season like this, guys are banged up.”