Bullpen helps Orioles complete 3-game sweep of Astros; Franco hurts ankle; Shoulder discomfort for Hunter Harvey - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Bullpen helps Orioles complete 3-game sweep of Astros; Franco hurts ankle; Shoulder discomfort for Hunter Harvey

Photo credit: Troy Taormina USA Today Sports

A four-run first and superb work by the bullpen carried the Orioles to a 5-2 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Made Park on Wednesday night and an unlikely three-game sweep. A week ago, the Astros had outscored the Orioles 26-3 in three games at Camden Yards.

It was the Orioles’ first three-game winning streak since June 1-4, and their third of the season. It was their first series sweep since they began the season with three straight wins at Boston on April 2-4.

“I thought our at-bats were competitive for three games,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought we played solid defense. We made pitches when we needed to. We walked too many guys the first couple of games … We did a lot of things well this series.

“I think we’re continuing to improve. We’re continuing to improve and continuing to get banged up. We got guys with bumps and bruises, but it was a great series.”

The Orioles scored four runs in the first inning against Luis Garcia (6-5).

Cedric Mullins walked, stole second, and Trey Mancini walked. With one out, Ryan Mountcastle doubled to score Mullins and Mancini. After DJ Stewart walked, Maikel Franco singled to score Mountcastle. Pedro Severino’s sacrifice fly brought home Stewart.

Matt Harvey retired the first 10 Houston (48-33) batters but gave up two runs on four singles in the fourth.

He didn’t make it out of the fifth. After consecutive walks to Jason Castro and José Altuve, Tanner Scott relieved him and struck out Michael Brantley and retired Yuli Gurriel on a popup.

Harvey allowed two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Though he pitched well, he hasn’t registered a win in his last 11 starts, dating back to May 1st.


“The last two years have been such a struggle,” Harvey said. “Going through a full season and getting a start every fifth day, there’s a little bit of a learning curve that I unfortunately have to go through. Luckily right before the break, I’m able to put a couple of decent starts together.”

Scott (3-3) struck out the side in the sixth. He was coming off a three-walk outing when he couldn’t command his pitches.

“You see what Tanner can be,” Hyde said. “I mean, he punched out four. They had no chance. It’s electric stuff, and it’s all about strikes. So, when he’s throwing strikes, an upper-90s fastball with a slide-step delivery and a sharp slider, he’s extremely hard to hit. That’s what it was tonight.”

Paul Fry and Cole Sulser were strong, too. Fry recorded four outs, and Cole Sulser got the final two outs in the eighth and three in the ninth for his third save. Scott, Fry and Sulser combined to allow just one hit in 4 2/3 innings.

“Those guys just did a great job,” Hyde said. “I was really pleased with how the three bullpen guys threw.”

The Orioles (27-54) reached the season’s mathematical halfway point on pace for a 54-108 record, which was their mark in 2019. They’ll need to go 36-45 in the second half to avoid a third 100-loss season in four years.

“We need to do a better job to do everything we can to strand runners when we come in,” Sulser said. “Make it as clean as possible, not give away free passes. I think if we continue to do that, make the other team put it in play…I think we’ll continue to see good results and improvement in the bullpen, and hopefully we can keep rolling with that.”

Austin Hays hit his eighth home run in the eighth, and the Orioles led, 5-2.

On the final play of the game, Franco suffered an ankle injury when he was chasing Robel Garcia’s pop fly in foul territory. Leftfielder Ryan McKenna made the catch to end the game, but Franco stayed on the field long after his teammates exchanged handshakes. Finally, Franco, accompanied by Hyde and assistant athletic trainer Patrick Wesley, walked gingerly off the field.

“He’s going to get a precautionary X-ray on his ankle right now,” Hyde said. “He sprained his ankle. We’ll see the severity of it. I was encouraged how he walked off. It scared him at first. It sounded like he rolled it pretty good. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

The Orioles also should know more about reliever Hunter Harvey’s right shoulder. Harvey was warming up in the seventh and stopped abruptly because of discomfort in the shoulder.

Notes: After Thursday’s day off, the Orioles will play three games against the Los Angeles Angels. Keegan Akin (0-4, 7.11 ERA) will pitch Friday night. Jorge López (2-10, 5.92) will pitch Saturday, and Thomas Eshelman (0-1, 6.57) is scheduled to pitch Sunday. Friday’s game will begin at 9:38 p.m., Saturday’s at 10:07 p.m., and Sunday’s at 4:07 p.m. The Angels haven’t named their starters.

Minor Matters: Dean Kremer allowed six runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings as Triple-A Norfolk lost to Charlotte, 7-4. Kremer struck out nine and walked two.

Centerfielder Zach Jarrett had three hits, including his fifth home run. Jarrett hit the home run against former Oriole Mike Wright (5-1).

Blaine Knight allowed a run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings in Double-A Bowie’s 2-0 loss to Akron. The Baysox had eight hits, two by designated hitter Adley Rutschman, who’s hitting .291 with a .947 OPS.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson had his first hit for High-A Aberdeen in the IronBird’s 7-6 loss to Brooklyn in the second game of a doubleheader. Henderson also had his first RBI. He’s 1-for-21 (.048).

Kade Strowd (0-2) allowed four runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Aberdeen beat Brooklyn 2-1 in the first game. First baseman Andrew Daschbach and second baseman A.J. Graffanino drove in runs.

Low-A Delmarva won a doubleheader at Lynchburg. Centerfielder Hudson Haskin had three hits in the Shorebirds’ 8-6 win in the first game. Left fielder Mason Janvrin hit a two-run homer, his fifth.

Brandon Young (3-0) allowed a run on six hits, striking out six and walking one in five innings.

Shortstop Darell Hernaiz and first baseman TT Bowens homered to lead Delmarva to a 3-0 win in the second game.

Ignacio Lopez, Luis Perez (1-0) and Kyle Martin combined on a two-hitter.

Call for Questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions on Friday, so if you have any, please put them in the comment box or email them to: [email protected]

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Ekim

    July 1, 2021 at 8:10 am

    It’s time to “pull the plug” on Hunter Harvey! He is a walking physical disaster… potential be damned. From “can’t miss” in 2013 to a perennial visitor to the IR, Harvey has shown he doesn’t have the physical makeup to be a pitcher. In all the time he’s been in the O’s system (9 years) the cumulative results for his ML appearances is but 26 games with only 23.2 innings pitched throwing 421 pitches. He has almost as many visits to the IR as games played. I can’t fault him for trying… going through all the procedures and rehab… but the end result is the same. The “hype” about his potential has worn thin over 9 years. Right now results are what’s needed and he’s shown he can’t produce them due to his body makeup. Time to move on!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 1, 2021 at 8:47 am

      I concur.

    • Tileman

      July 1, 2021 at 10:54 am

      Exactly – never confuse effort with results

    • Chewy

      July 1, 2021 at 11:06 am

      I disagree. Harvey is showing some trade value as an opener or long reliever. He’s doing really well getting through the batting order the first time and showing some improvement in his past couple starts. Just need to keep him for one more month and see what the O’s can get in return. If he can’t get traded, then either release him or ask him to change his role. I could see him being an opener every 4th day where you ask him to just get through the lineup once. He could be very effective in that role and give some prospects a chance to get some innings behind him without the pressure of starting.

    • Buzz1979

      July 1, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Man of glass!

      • The Bird1

        July 1, 2021 at 9:51 pm

        right…make him pitch, til his arm falls off! Then he can be on IR until he hits social security.

    • Liamandcarolinesdad

      July 1, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      Chewy, wrong Harvey sir

    • CalsPals

      July 1, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Agree, Hunter has roots in Texas doesn’t he, trade him…go O’s…

    • DcOsfan

      July 1, 2021 at 10:21 pm

      Agree, Hunter has become another roster spot preventing us from seeing someone who could be part of the future

  2. Orial

    July 1, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Don’t know where to begin on this “all’s good” moment. O’s gave up a ton of walks but NO HRs,I’ll say it again–unintentional/intentional walking-the new way to attack a good offense. Bringing Leyba/Urias/McKenna up sure put a fire under this team–especially Franco. Franco played 3rd with zeal 3 hits in each of the last 2 games THEN the ankle sprain. Nothing goes perfect I guess. Maybe Hyde finally learned that when somebody’s hot(Hays)you don’t rest him. Btw anybody see DJ’s face in the dugout after Hays’ HR? Kinda sad–I think he realizes he’s being “squeezed” out. Notice the offensive explosions in baseball? Hmmm. And finally–good to see Gunnar get that first hit. All’s good folks.

  3. afterp

    July 1, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Rich, is the team predisposed to trading pieces even if they are at the bottom of their value, or will they hang on to some even if they aren’t expected to be around when the team is ready to compete? Galvis would’ve been a good trade piece until he was hurt – not happening. Santander would have to get hot the rest of July despite the nagging ankle to get anything close to what he’s worth. Harvey hasn’t yet established he can get through 5 on a consistent basis. Mancini looks like the best chip, but he’s beloved and may be worth more the O’s than any other team. Is there anyone who would generate anything more than cash or a rookie league dart throw in return?

    • WorldlyView

      July 1, 2021 at 8:16 pm

      afterp, I’ll bet that newly promoted Spenser Watkins would reap a bonanza if we traded him. On the one hand, he was signed after being released following many lackluster years in the Tigers’ farm system and has no major league experience. On the other hand, many of the more astute MLB GMs will assume that eagle-eyed Elias found another diamond in the rough, and they should be eager to give up an established front-line player to add him to their pitching staff. The rebuild is accelerating.

  4. NormOs

    July 1, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Tanner Scott strikes out the side in the 6th so, of course, Hyde goes into his normal overmanging mode and Scott does not come out for the 7th. Is this another “great” change in the “New Baseball”? I’ll bet Palmer can’t wait for his “sentence” to end when Mac the Mouth comes back.

    • Icterus fan

      July 1, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      I like both Jim Palmer and Ben McDonald as analysts.
      Palmer is infallible, overly serious and brings historical context.
      McDonald is blue collar, energetic and relatable.
      Both very different, but have good observations to share.
      Frankly Scott Garceau is the one who seems overwhelmed at times.

  5. Orioles20

    July 1, 2021 at 9:36 am

    This team played the best baseball that have all year. Why did Hays not start yesterday? Get rid of Stewart he’s had his chance. As far as Hunter Harvey is concerned is there something he doesn’t hurt? I mean I guess it’s just another pitcher that either can’t stay healthy or can’t be developed. Franco’s ankle looked bad but he walked on it some. Who would even get called up for Franco? Triple a barely has an infielders.

    • CalsPals

      July 1, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Agree, I said that & was told Hyde was trying to keep players healthy…wth…go O’s…

  6. Birdman

    July 1, 2021 at 10:39 am

    Seeing some encouraging signs with this team … but the most glaring need going forward is to develop (or acquire) starters who can go more than 4 or 5 innings.

    • willmiranda

      July 1, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      The manager seems committed to yanking pitchers in the fifth inning at a rate that seems
      to indicate a deliberate policy rather than an ad hoc decision based on the game situations.
      One possibility: they are auditioning as many relievers as possible and want to test them
      with men on base. It’s kind of disingenuous, though, to use so many pitchers every game
      and then complain about an overworked bullpen. And the Norfolk shuttle has disoriented
      pitchers on both staffs, and their performances show it. Pitchers, like most people, need a
      stable routine to perform well over a period of time.

      • Birdman

        July 1, 2021 at 3:14 pm

        I understand your point … but I think Hyde is yanking his starters in the 4th or 5th inning in an attempt (usually futile) to preserve a chance at winning the game. By just about any measure, the Orioles have the worst performing starting staff in the AL. With the exception of Means, and sometimes Zimmerman, there is a pretty consistent pattern of the starters unraveling by the 4th or 5th inning, if not before.

    • CalsPals

      July 1, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      The minor leagues are doing the same thing, I was told they’re “Piggybacking” their pitchers, how about manning up & pitching 6 or heaven forbid 7 innings, funny their best two pitchers, Means & Zim are hurt, maybe they don’t know what they’re doing with their pitchers…go O’s…

  7. Bman

    July 1, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Today’s break and all star break coming at a good time for this team. Rest up some of these guys who are banged up. Hunter Harvey should stay in the org as a bullpen piece for sure. It will be interesting when trades start dropping. No one safe on the roster probably except a few guys like mountcastle, Mullins, hays. Mancini, Santander, fry, severino, may all get traded possibly. Almost draft week which will be exciting and another step forward for the organization. Davis would be great, but still thinking they’re going under slot to Cowser, Frelick or McLain.

  8. 33d St

    July 1, 2021 at 11:03 am

    I know Franco hasn’t had a great year in many ways, but at the beginning of the season he was the only guy knocking in runs for us. Back when the O’s were still doing decently. Hope he won’t be out long. Otherwise, great win! Love to see it – go O’s!!

  9. BenSch

    July 1, 2021 at 11:19 am

    What about calling up Jahmai Jones and putting Valaika at 3rd?

    • 33d St

      July 1, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      Nevin’s on the 40 man and can maybe still play 3rd? Plus he’s batting 1.000 from his one at bat earlier in the year.

  10. Buzz1979

    July 1, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Valaika? LOL!!!

    • Shamus

      July 1, 2021 at 12:59 pm

      I think Stewart is next man out… he has played himself off the team

    • 33d St

      July 1, 2021 at 5:46 pm

      Shamus – Agreed. And I looked up and saw that Diaz is on the 40 man now. So there’s no reason not to bring him up at this point. Stewart is a guy who would probably hit 20+ home runs and have a .365 on base if he played for the Yankees or the A’s or the rays. Somebody could want him as a 1BDH corner outfield platoon guy. I’d love to see us trade him for whatever we can get and just see what we have in Diaz. I think Diaz is going to be 25 in the fall. It’s way past time to call him up and see what he can do

  11. Baltimore Castaway

    July 1, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Hunter Harvey is in the now famous words of the late NFL Head Coach Buddy Ryan; “a wasted draft pick” when he was referring to William “the Refrigerator” Perry for the Chicago Bears, except would argue that Perry was a much better and more productive player than this goofball.

    Harvey is one of those “Trust Fund Babies” who really has no deep-seated motivation to prevail over his mostly minor physical injuries. Have referred to him also as a coddled Hill Billy–which is exactly what he looks like. He is a candy-ass regarding his “want to”….. Elias needs to trade him for whatever he can get for him or package him w whomever else he trades in another week or so….

    Oh—and one more thing about this man-child…..where does he get off telling Orioles that he wanted to pitch out of the Bull Pen rather than as a high-ceiling Starting Pitcher which was why he was drafted so very high….

    Oyyyy… I’m tired of reading and talking about this chump…he is in the Kevin Gausman loser category as an Oriole…

    • CalsPals

      July 1, 2021 at 3:28 pm

      Agree about Harvey, Gausman is having a great yr for a first place team…go O’s…

      • Buzz1979

        July 1, 2021 at 5:48 pm

        He was a bust here.

      • The Bird1

        July 1, 2021 at 9:48 pm

        He has had basically 1 or 2 good years out of 10.

    • CalsPals

      July 1, 2021 at 8:32 pm

      So was Yastrzemski…wow, also on a first place team…go O’s…

      • The Bird1

        July 1, 2021 at 9:45 pm

        Hitting .223 this year. yeah, he is great.

  12. PhillyPhan

    July 1, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    I remember an injury Franco had in 2018 under fairly similar circumstances. Trying to hustle his way back into the good graces of Gabe Kapler (that was “never” going to happen) he chased a foul pop into a camera well and, flipping over, sprained his neck – landing on the IL for a bit. When he came back it was toward the end of the season and he was only used sparingly, as I recall. Brandon Hyde seems to have more confidence in him than Gabe ever did, hitting slumps and all. The good news, he heals quickly. And in truth, while I know he just wants to make a good impression he should’ve slowed down and let McKenna make the play. (Now as for Freddy Galvis, another ex-Phillie who the franchise gave up on .. grumble, grumble)

  13. Buzz1979

    July 1, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Losing 2 trade chips in less than a week, ouch!

    • CalsPals

      July 1, 2021 at 3:29 pm

      Trade chips or Buffalo Chips?…go O’s…

  14. Orial

    July 1, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    Trade chips? There are no real trade chips. Mullins/Means are going nowhere. Mancini is a chip but would never get decent enough value back( plus a Fan-base that BARELY cares would care that much less after losing him). Franco has none. Galvis limited. His value is being a brother to these players. AND Santander? How about we try him next year at this time. As for Hunter Harvey–he’s now in that “whatever” category. How about that Sulser though?

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 1, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Think that Tanner Scott is the best they have. The player w the most value is also their best player Cedric Mullins, and he is just about un-tradeable..

      There isn’t much to be cheery about this team right now, but things will get better..

      I am much more interested in who Elias is going to pick in the Amateur Draft shortly. I like the Catcher from Louisville, but Elias always seems to like to play games w Slot Values…. who am I to question him?

      • Buzz1979

        July 1, 2021 at 5:51 pm

        Forced to by penny pinching Grinchalos!

  15. Bhoffman1

    July 1, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Three ex O’s starting for Syracuse Mets. Williams hitting 404 , Sisco batting fourth and Drew Jackson remember him.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 1, 2021 at 9:31 pm

      You left out Jonathan Villar, Bruce.

    • Bhoffman1

      July 2, 2021 at 8:38 am

      You’re right he’s rehabbing at Syracuse now and

      is liked in New York.

  16. PC in OC

    July 1, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    Wow, I’d like to hear what you all have to say, When your really Pissed Off!!!

    • CalsPals

      July 2, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      Seriously, just swept the Astros…wow…new blood making their marks….go O’s…

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