McKenna paces Orioles to walkoff win over Nationals and 3-game sweep; Means hits 3 batters - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

McKenna paces Orioles to walkoff win over Nationals and 3-game sweep; Means hits 3 batters

The Orioles were 0-51 when trailing after eight innings, and the Washington Nationals had closer Brad Hand, who’d saved two games against them in May.

Down 4-3, Hand (5-4) hit Maikel Franco with a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth. Ryan McKenna, who’d earlier hit his first major league home run, singled to right-center, sending Franco to third. Pinch-hitter Austin Hays walked to load the bases. Pat Valaika’s sacrifice fly to right scored Franco to tie the score, 4-4.

Ramón Urías pinch-hit for catcher Austin Wynns and grounded sharply to third. McKenna broke for home on contact. Carter Kieboom fielded the ball cleanly and threw home to catcher Tres Barrera. McKenna’s speed and a headfirst slide just beat the tag by Barrera. After a brief review, McKenna was ruled safe and the Orioles (34-64) had a three-game sweep over the Nationals (45-53) before an announced crowd of 15,690 at Oriole Park on Sunday.

“I was going on contact there,” McKenna said after the Orioles’ 5-4 comeback victory. “It was the right play, right read.”

Cole Sulser (3-1) retired the only batter he faced in the ninth for the win.

In addition to their first win when trailing after eight, it was the Orioles’ third three-game sweep, and the team’s sixth three-game winning streak.

“It’s something we haven’t done,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s nice to get a sweep. It’s nice to have a come-from-behind win. We haven’t had that very much in the last few years. It’s fun to watch our guys celebrate like that.”

It was the first three-game sweep at home of the Nationals since June 25-27, 2010.

In the first, starter John Means loaded the bases. He hit Alcides Escobar with a pitch, the first of three he would have on the afternoon. Trea Turner singled, and Juan Soto walked. Josh Bell popped to short. Ryan Zimmerman grounded to third, and Escobar scored with Soto out at second.

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Means retired nine straight before Bell singled to lead off the fourth, but Zimmerman hit into a double play.

Escobar was hit by Means again to begin the sixth. Turner singled, and with two outs, Zimmerman homered to center, and Washington led, 4-3.

Trey Mancini slammed a 455- foot home run with one out in the first against Paolo Espino. It was his 18th and second in as many games.

Franco led off the second with his 10th homer, his first since he broke up the Houston Astros’ combined no-hitter in the eighth inning on June 21st.

McKenna, who was briefly optioned earlier in the week to make room for Means’ return, hit his first major league homer in the fourth, and the Orioles led, 3-1.

“He’s an energetic player,” Hyde said of McKenna. “I like his baserunning ability. He’s been fun to have on the club because there’s a lot of life in how he plays, energy in how he plays.”

Cedric Mullins and Mancini singled to begin the eighth against Daniel Hudson, but Mountcastle hit into a double play, and DJ Stewart struck out.

Means allowed four runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one, striking out two and hitting three batters. It was his second start since returning from the injured list after missing six weeks beause of a strained left shoulder. The Orioles hadn’t won any of Means’ starts since his no-hitter on May 5.

“I felt a lot more in control today,” Means said. “I felt like I was hitting my spots a little better. The changeup felt a lot better than it did. It felt less firm

“I felt more in control. The only thing I felt was that I wished I could have done better was throw some inside fastballs better.”

Notes: The Orioles are off on Monday. … Spenser Watkins (2-0, 1.65 ERA) and Jorge López (2-12, 5.84) will be the starters when the Orioles face the Miami Marlins in a two-game series beginning on Tuesday. … Hyde said he wasn’t sure if Keegan Akin would get a start or be in the bullpen when he returns from Covid-19 protocols. Hyde said Alexander Wells will get a start when the Orioles are in Detroit for a four-game series next week. … Ravens coach John Harbaugh threw out the first pitch, using a football that he threw to Hyde … Means was the first Oriole starter to hit three batters since Miguel Gonzalez on July 25, 2012.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    July 25, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    Big congrats to McKenna, great all round game for him, at least Means only gave up 4 runs this start…go O’s…

    • OhMy!

      July 25, 2021 at 6:47 pm

      The ole CP formulaic comment, begins positive, but has to end negative with a swipe at someone…
      Never disappoints!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 25, 2021 at 7:57 pm

        Says Annie Savoy.

    • CalsPals

      July 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm

      Isn’t it time to change your name, again, how about GetLost!….go O’s…

  2. dlgruber1

    July 25, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    I had NO problem with Means plunking 3 batters, whether any were intentional or not. O’s hitters have been like target practice some games this year it seems. What can I say, I’m old school and I was a pitcher for 15 years.

    • OhMy!

      July 25, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      O’s hitters hit by pitch 35 times coming into today’s game.
      O’s pitchers hit 38 batters coming into today’s game.

    • dlgruber1

      July 25, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      Made you look.

  3. 5brooks5

    July 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    I think McKenna is the perfect fourth outfielder. Can play all three spots. Hits some what. And speed doesn’t go in a slump. That’s how you build a team

    • Bhoffman1

      July 25, 2021 at 7:35 pm

      Some what he’s hitting a buck 83. He needs to do some more some what but today was a beginning I hope

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 25, 2021 at 10:12 pm

      I envision someone more like a Junior Griffey as being a perfect 4th outfielder.

    • Tileman

      July 26, 2021 at 9:21 am

      I love McKenna’s attitude. He crushes minor league pitching. Hopefully with a little time to get used to MLP he can start hitting up here. I’m hoping Hyde sees the benefits of McKenna vs DJ who brings no value if he’s not hitting the ball

  4. EkimC

    July 25, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    I did a bit of a double-take when I saw the line up with four batters below the “Mendoza Line”. Unbelievable! I’m old enough to remember Mendoza (he played for the Pirates). I lived on LI and saw about a dozen Mets games a year. I’d try to see as many different teams as I could each year and remember the Newsday sports writers making a point of his low batting average when the Pirates were the opponents. Just saying…

    • CalsPals

      July 25, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      Funny how much the game has changed in regards of what is acceptable today, ERA, BA, .250 almost seems the new .300, I liked the older game better, kind of see Cedric being pretty close to the older prototypical lead off hitter…go O’s…

    • dlgruber1

      July 25, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      Could t agree more CP. The Star I have the biggest problem with is “quality start”. Back in the day if your ERA was 4.50 you were looking for another line of work.

    • dlgruber1

      July 25, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      Shoulda proofread-the stat, not Star.

    • Buzz1979

      July 25, 2021 at 9:28 pm

      Mendoza line can also be called the Flaherty line, seeing as though they both finished with a career batting average of .216!

      • willmiranda

        July 26, 2021 at 10:59 am

        You don’t know what the Mendoza Line is. Obviously.

  5. Buzz1979

    July 25, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Gotta love McKenna’s energy! In the photo at the top, I can just hear Mancini saying “I would have been out by 10 feet!

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