Orioles shortstop Freddy Galvis made a diving stop just behind second base, flipped the ball to Rio Ruiz, who executed a bare-handed snag before completing a dazzling double play with a pinpoint throw to first base.
It was the defensive highlight of a stout defense that backed a solid start from Dean Kremer, who struck out six and allowed just one run in 4 2/3 innings. The Orioles’ offense showed up late but finished strong, scoring six runs in the last three innings and banging out 13 hits in a 6-1 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
It was the second straight win in Texas for the Orioles, who are 7-8.
Galvis also led the offense with a 4-for-4 night, but it was an eighth-inning double by designated hitter Trey Mancini that put the Orioles in front, 2-1, after centerfielder Cedric Mullins had scored Galvis from second with a single in the seventh to tie the game at 1.
“He’s been grinding,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said about Mancini. “That was huge for us and huge for him.”
Ryan Mountcastle, who played his first game of the season at first base, followed Mancini’s double with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1 in the eighth. DJ Stewart extended the lead to 4-1 with a two-out, opposite-field single in the ninth, and Maikel Franco followed with a two-run home run.
Kremer did a solid job of keeping the Orioles in the game and the Rangers off-balance before leaving in the fifth inning to a series of fist bumps from his teammates.
“With Dean, it’s just getting experience up here,” Hyde said. “He’s going to go deeper into games as this continues and he gets older. He’s going to understand how to get guys out earlier in the count.”
Kremer threw 79 pitches, 50 for strikes. The Orioles are trying to limit Kremer’s innings and optioned the 25-year-old right-hander to the alternate training site at Bowie after the game.
Kremer must remain in the minors for at least 10 days unless he is called up for a player going on the injured list. The Orioles are off Monday and Thursday and won’t need a fifth starter until the home series with the New York Yankees starting April 26th.
Kremer relied more on his curveball against the Rangers.
“It was my bread-and-butter in the minors,” Kremer said about the curveball. “I’m glad to see it’s coming back.”
The Orioles’ bullpen entered the game with the sixth-best ERA in the American League at 3.96 and improved on that number. Wade LeBlanc threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Travis Lakins threw his third scoreless inning since being promoted from the alternate site in Bowie. Tanner Scott worked out of a self-induced jam in the eighth, and Shawn Armstrong closed out the Rangers in the ninth.
Oriole relievers have not allowed a run in the last 11 2/3 innings.
Kremer was quick to credit Galvis for his stunning defensive play to turn the double play in the fourth.
“That’s a game-saver there, to turn two,” Kremer said about Galvis’ diving stop and flip to Ruiz. “That would have been a real dagger. [Galvis] had a phenomenal night.”
Galvis has had a phenomenal series, going 6-for-7. Mancini’s run-scoring double and a single to right also were encouraging.
“The whole offense picked me up and the bullpen pitched really well,” Kremer said. “It was a great team win overall. It was great to see Trey have success. It means the world.”
Franco finished with three of the Orioles’ 13 hits, punctuated by his home run.
“It’s so beautiful when you play together, and play as a team,” Franco said. “It’s a great win for us.”