Valdez allows 2 runs in 9th, Orioles lose to Mets; Means follows no-hitter with 6 scoreless innings -

Rich Dubroff

Valdez allows 2 runs in 9th, Orioles lose to Mets; Means follows no-hitter with 6 scoreless innings

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK—There wasn’t another masterpiece for John Means, only another effective performance. Six days after Means’ near-perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, he returned and threw six shutout innings, allowing six hits.

However, Means’ continued magnificence was wasted as César Valdez allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth, and the Orioles lost, 3-2, to the New York Mets before 7,930 at Citi Field on Tuesday night.

Valdez entered the game with eight saves and a 1.23 ERA and left it with three blown saves and an ERA that nearly doubled to 2.40.

Kevin Pillar led off the ninth with a long drive to left field that was originally called a home run but, after a conference by the umpires, was called foul.

Pillar then hit a hard shot to third that Rio Ruiz couldn’t come up with, and it was ruled a single. Jonathan Villar followed with a single, but James McCann struck out. Dominic Smith singled to right center on a ball that Austin Hayes tried to catch with a dive, and was backed up by Cedric Mullins. It scored Pillar with the tying run and, when second baseman Ramón Urías made a late relay throw home, he threw wide of catcher Pedro Severino, allowing Villar to advance to third.

Pinch-hitter Patrick Mazeika grounded to first, and Trey Mancini’s throw home was high and not in time to get Villar. It left the stunned Orioles with a 16-20 record.

“He’s been consistent all year,” Means said of Valdez. “He’s been one of the best closers in baseball, and he just left a couple of pitches up, and it happens.”

Jeurys Familia (1-0) worked the ninth to get the win for the Mets (17-13).

Means lowered his ERA to 1.21 after he struck out three and walked none in throwing 74 pitches. He has pitched 15 straight scoreless innings.


“My pitch count was probably limited today anyway,” Means said. “I felt OK. I thought my fastball command wasn’t great. I liked what my changeup was doing, but that was it. I made pitches when I needed to, especially inside. Fastball command, I just left a couple over that got hit pretty hard, but other than that, I felt pretty good.”

Means’ thoughts of a second no-hitter ended quickly. Jeff McNeil singled on the fourth pitch of the game.

“I wasn’t thinking about it too much, to be honest with you,” Means said. “I was just trying to get another good outing out of the way and move on. I wasn’t hanging on it, but after the first one, you almost take a sigh of relief and just go back to not thinking about it and just pitching.”

McNeil had a second hit in the third but pulled up short of second base and left the game with body cramps.

In the fourth, Means allowed two-out singles to Pete Alonso and Pillar, but Villar popped to second to end the inning.

José Peraza, who replaced McNeil, singled to start the sixth. Francisco Lindor followed with a single. Michael Conforto bounced into a force play. Means ended the inning by getting Alonso to pop out and Pillar on a fly to center.

The Orioles did little against Marcus Stroman for six innings. Mullins led off the game with a single. He moved to third when Villar booted Austin Hays’ grounder. Mullins was tagged out in a rundown when Mancini grounded back to Stroman.

After Pedro Severino singled with two outs in the second, Stroman retired 13 of 14 batters. He walked Severino in the fifth.

The Orioles scored in the seventh when Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco began the inning with singles. Franco had been 3-for-43. Ruiz moved them up with a sacrifice bunt. Severino was walked intentionally, and Hyde decided to bat DJ Stewart for Means.

“We’re not scoring a ton of runs, so we’re trying to scratch one across there and try to get the lead,” Hyde said.

“I figured that was probably going to be the move with the bases loaded,” Means said. “We needed the run. It was a close ballgame. I completely understand it. Obviously, the competitor in me wants to go back out there, but logistically, it just didn’t make sense.”

New York manager Luis Rojas replaced Stroman with left-hander Aaron Loup, and Hyde countered with right-handed hitter Pat Valaika, who hit a long drive to right, enabling Galvis to score.

Hays led off the eighth with a drive to center that Albert Almora Jr. nearly caught but dropped when he hit the wall face first going full speed. Hays raced to third as Almora fell to the ground, where he stayed for a few minutes.

Almora finally walked off the field (X-rays on Almora’s shoulder and neck came back negative). Trevor May struck out Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle, who chased a neck-high pitch. Galvis got Hays home, though, with a perfectly placed bunt single that surprised Villar at third. It gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Adam Plutko pitched a scoreless seventh and walked pinch-hitter Tomás Nido to begin the eighth. After he struck out Peraza, Tanner Scott walked Lindor. Conforto singled but Scott got out of the inning when Alonso grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Notes: Matt Harvey (3-2, 3.60 ERA) will face Tajuan Walker (2-1, 2.38) on Wednesday afternoon at 12:10 pm. … Galvis is hitting .367 (22-for-60) over his last 18 games. … The Mets had 10 singles and no extra-base hits.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Bhoffman1

    May 12, 2021 at 7:16 am

    Could be the league is catching up to Valdez slow ball. We got the old Harvey but hopefully the young Harvey can start closing soon if he can stay healthy which is a long shot.

  2. CalsPals

    May 12, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Sorry, with 3 blown safes Valdez is not one of the best closers in baseball, he isn’t a closer, a nice story, he was a gimmick that opponents have easily figured out, best guess is they need matchups for a closer, disappointing ending…go O’s…

    • AZ ORIOLES Fan

      May 12, 2021 at 8:23 am

      I agree very disappointing, also we know Valdez isn’t as effective pitching on back to back days. That’s one we should have won

    • Massmonster

      May 12, 2021 at 9:32 am

      agree this time of the season many closers have 0 or 1 blown save at the most

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 12, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Valdez is meat. NIce change of pace, but not a closer.

  3. Icterus fan

    May 12, 2021 at 8:28 am

    Valdez should stay, but continuing to experiment with him as a closer does seem sketchy.
    Let’s consider him as a set up man or some sort of situational reliever. He has value, but Sulser or Tate seem better suited as traditional closers IMO.
    Means was great once again.
    The rebuild continues.

    • CalsPals

      May 12, 2021 at 9:19 am

      Agree, he should stay, just not as closer, match ups, closer by committee?….go O’s…

  4. Orial

    May 12, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Just the day before Valdez totally baffled the best lineup in baseball(Boston) but tonight against slap hitters he struggles. Did his ball not have that sudden movement it usually does? Would have liked to have seen Fry warming up–when Vadez is not on yank him after 3 batters. Hyde outmanaged Rojas in the 6th but oh that 9th. Pull Valdez after 3 hitters,walk to load the bases(Mancini’s throw home would have been a force out),reshuffling the IF for “defense”(Franco’s been fielding 3rd better than Ruiz and ironically Ruiz has been fielding 2nd better than Urias),and that OF–nwhy were they do deep(Mets announcers were agog over that one). Side notes—is Galvis,other than Mullins,been the O’s best player(sorry Trey?),and Mountcastle still needs to relax at the plate. Tough loss. Get ’em today Dark Knight.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      May 12, 2021 at 9:05 am

      They put a stat up yesterday during the game that Mancini is responsible for 22.7% of the team’s RBI. That leads the majors for RBI% by any player, so he’s responsible for basically 1 out of every 4 runs the O’s have scored. So I’ll ask the question back to you. Is Galvis our best player?

    • Bhoffman1

      May 12, 2021 at 9:40 am

      Laughable that Galvis is our second best player. I only hope they give Mancini a nice contract after CD I know it won’t be long but a few years would make me happy. Hyde’s managing in the 9th was bush league

    • Icterus fan

      May 12, 2021 at 9:40 am

      With Valdez sitting at 79 mph, either his ball has movement, or its batting practice. Pretty simple stuff.

      Once we collectively wake up offensively and start to score some runs, it will take pressure off the bullpen to some extent. Our lineup is pretty good, but still inconsistent.

  5. Massmonster

    May 12, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Do the Orioles rank near the BOTTEM in double-plays turned? Seems every time there is a ground ball on the first base side of second they can’t seem to turn the double-play.(something other teams do routinely

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 12, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      Entering today, Orioles have turned 20 double plays, tied with Arizona for fewest in MLB.

  6. Massmonster

    May 12, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    WHY IS SHAWN ARMSTRONG THROWING( he is not pitching doesn’t know how)

    • CalsPals

      May 12, 2021 at 2:02 pm

      Guys gotta shiver when they see him coming in, not good…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      May 12, 2021 at 2:02 pm

      Like waving a white flag…go O’s…

  7. CalsPals

    May 12, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Armstrong (Arm-weak) has to be on his last leg, sad how they stick with you so much when you have no options…go O’s…

  8. Pure_Positive_PJs

    May 12, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    I had a real good sing along of “Stand By Me” with Ramon and Pedro this morning!

    • CalsPals

      May 12, 2021 at 3:30 pm

      Should’ve let Armstrong join in, definitely not a table of the popular kiddos…go O’s…

  9. Massmonster

    May 12, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    Red Sox,Yankees,Red Sox, Oakland,Yankees,Oakland, Red Sox,Mets now Yankees again does any other team have even close to a harder SCHEDUALE than the O’s!!!! GIVE ME A BREAK!!

    • Beachdogs

      May 12, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      I heard Ben McDonald mention we have the second toughest schedule this year

  10. Massmonster

    May 12, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    p.s. and the Red Sox and Yankees have not even met 1x this year!!!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 12, 2021 at 4:10 pm

      They will. Seemingly every Sunday night of the year on ESPN. Yawn.

  11. dlgruber1

    May 12, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve been a defender of Hyde for a while now just because of the hand he was dealt and his honest assessment and approach but I gotta say I was baffled as to why he didn’t walk that guy in the 9th to set up a force out at home and the possibility of a DP. Although I certainly understand PH for Means I still wouldn’t have done it. It’s decisions like that tho that make me enjoy NL baseball more. I love the chess game part of it.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 12, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      Well I’m sure the Nats would welcome you to join the other half million Ex-Oriole fans. (traitors, one an all)

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