Orioles starter Matt Harvey has been his own worst critic. He wants to go deeper into games and help preserve the bullpen.
Nonetheless, Harvey has put the Orioles in position to win in each of his four starts.
Harvey (1-0) had another workmanlike performance and allowed three runs in five innings in a 7-5 victory in the series opener against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. It was Harvey’s first win since July 13, 2019.
Trey Mancini and Freddy Galvis hit solo home runs, and Rio Ruiz had a two-run double in the first to lead the offense.
“It’s been a while, I can’t remember the last one I had,” Harvey said about the long-awaited victory. “With how last year went — obviously not pitching very well — and getting a chance to come here and play, it means a lot.
“To be honest, I didn’t know if it was ever going to happen again. I think with how I was throwing the ball in spring training and in the last couple of outings, there was some hope that it was coming back. It’s a good feeling. There’s been a lot of hard work put in and it means a lot to get the first one out of the way.”
Rightfielder Anthony Santander had to leave the game in the first inning after rolling his left ankle trying to get back to first base on a pickoff attempt. He had to be helped off the field by manager Brandon Hyde and athletic trainer Brian Ebel.
The Orioles said Santander sprained the ankle, and Hyde confirmed X-rays were negative for a fracture. Santander is expected to have an MRI, and his status is uncertain.
“It was terrible, especially seeing him have to be helped off the field,” Mancini said. “I hope he’s OK and back soon. We all love Anthony so much. He’s the best guy and he’s an amazing player, too, so for many reasons we want him out there every day.”
Austin Hays, who returned from the injured list before the game, replaced Santander and made an impact in the bottom of the first. It came after the Orioles loaded the bases in the top of the inning and took a 3-0 lead on a fielder’s choice by Maikel Franco and a two-run double by Ruiz off Miami starter Nick Neidert.
In the bottom half, Hays fell against the wall on his first outfield play on a hard-hit ball by Miguel Rojas, who wound up on third base and scored on a two-out single by Adam Duvall. Hays then saved a run with a leaping catch against the wall that ended the inning.
Mancini and Galvis increased the margin to 5-1 with solo homers in the third.
The Oriole bats stayed hot, and an opposite-field double by DJ Stewart extended the lead to 6-1 in the fourth.
Harvey ran into a jam in the fifth, allowing a fielder’s choice and an RBI single to Brian Anderson that cut the margin to 6-3. Hyde allowed Harvey to finish the inning.
“It was a gutty performance,” Hyde said about Harvey. “Five innings. He hit traffic in four of them. He pitched out of innings well. I didn’t think his fastball command was as good as it had been. But he made pitches when he needed to.”
Shawn Armstrong took over for Harvey and allowed the first three batters to reach on a single and two walks, ending his night on 18 pitches.
Adam Plutko limited the damage by giving up an RBI single to Miguel Rojas, who had four hits, and a sacrifice fly to Jesús Aguilar that pulled the Marlins to within 6-5. Both runs were charged to Armstrong, whose ERA is 18.00.
Those were the first earned runs the Orioles’ bullpen allowed since the first game of a doubleheader against Seattle on April 15th — a span of five games.
Galvis gave the Orioles some breathing room with an RBI single in the eighth that scored Ruiz, who led off with his second double. Galvis went 2-for-3 and has nine hits in his last 17 at-bats, with three doubles, a triple, two homers and three RBIs.
Tanner Scott and Paul Fry blanked the Marlins in the seventh and eighth. César Valdez got the final four outs to earn his fourth save.
“It wasn’t our best game, but we won,” Hyde said.