Pitcher Matt Harvey continued his second-half renaissance and won his third straight game. Harvey threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just six hits, as the Orioles survived an eighth-inning scare and defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-3, at Comerica Park on Friday night.
Harvey, who had a 7.70 ERA in the first half, has thrown 18 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up just eight hits in his last three starts. Harvey (6-10) has lowered his ERA to 6.20. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
“It’s amazing for me,” Harvey said. “It’s tough to go out there, knowing it’s in there and not have the results.”
His 18 1/3 scoreless innings are a personal best. He’s the first Oriole with three straight starts of six scoreless innings since Kevin Gausman in 2016.
“Now it’s about pitching and pounding the zone and getting guys off-balance and that’s really been the biggest difference,” Harvey said.
In the last two months of the season, Harvey’s goal is simple.
“Just keep this going,” Harvey said. “In a perfect world, you don’t give up a run, but that’s probably not realistic or maybe it is, you never know.”
Catcher Pedro Severino homered twice, in the third and fifth, his seventh and eighth, and Ryan Mountcastle hit a home run, his 17th, in the fourth. All three were hit off Tarik Skubal (6-10).
Severino has homered three times in his last two games.
“I’m just trying to be more relaxed,” Severino said. “I’m trying to see the ball and hit the ball on the barrel because I have the power to hit the ball out.”
The Orioles (36-66) are 8-5 since the All-Star break.
Ramón Urías, who is the everyday shortstop after the Orioles traded Freddy Galvis to Philadelphia, drove in Trey Mancini on an RBI single in the sixth for a 4-0 lead.
Paul Fry recorded two outs in the seventh in relief of Harvey, who had given up two hits, to preserve the scoreless streak
The Orioles nearly blew a four-run lead in the eighth. Derek Hill led off with a triple against Tanner Scott and scored when Scott threw a wild pitch.
Akil Baddoo was awarded an infield hit when he outran Scott to to the bag on a ground ball to first baseman Ryan Moiuntcastle. Scott hit Jonathan Schoop with a pitch and, after he walked Robbie Grossman to load the bases, manager Brandon Hyde removed Scott for Dillon Tate.
Baddoo scored on a Miguel Cabrera 420-foot fly ball to center on which centerfielder Cedric Mullins made a nice running catch in front of the wall. Jemier Candelario forced Grossman at second. Eric Haase walked to load the bases, and Tate escaped when Zack Short lined out to Urias at short to end the inning.
“It wasn’t real easy. No doubt about that,” Hyde said. “It was a little stressful.”
Cole Sulser was sharp in the ninth and retired the Tigers (50-56) in order for his fifth save.
“We held on tight,” Hyde said. “I thought we swung the bat really well early. I’d like to see us add on, but we hit some right at them.”
Notes: The Orioles optioned left-hander Ryan Hartman, whom they claimed on waivers from Houston on Friday, to Triple-A Norfolk. … John Means (4-3, 2.94 ERA) will face Matt Manning (2-3, 6.00) on Saturday at 6:10 p.m.
Elias on contention: After Friday’s trade deadline passed, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias addressed the Orioles’ decision not to part with any of their relievers.
“A lot of the relievers that are young and having success are very interesting now, they’re very interesting in the second half, and they’re interesting next year. They’re also interesting for the next three or four years. We’ll see where the team goes.
“The team’s going to go up. The team’s going to get better every year. I think they can continue to help us in that regard.
“You have to look at opportunities and players come and go. We will continue to do that and assess it. It needs to be a worthwhile trade because these guys are talented, and we want to continue betting on them.”
Elias thinks the team is moving in the right direction.
“I think it’s getting closer. We’ve seen some very good individual developments this year,” Elias said. “Some of the core impact talent in the minor leagues is inching closer … the organization is in much better shape, but I continue to be daunted by what I see in our division, what I see around the league, and you see ‘super teams’ on both sides of the league right now, American League, National league. There are some very loaded rosters.
“We have a very long way to go. We have a lot of work to do. It’s hard for me to forecast. I just know the direction we want to continue to push in. I know there’s talent on the way, and I know the deficit between the Orioles and the AL East that we’ve seen the last few years is closing. That’s important. We’re going to get more competitive in this division real soon, and I know that.”
Minor league update: In his first start for Triple-A Norfolk, Mike Baumann allowed two runs on four hits in the Tides’ 8-2 win over Durham in a game that was shortened by rain to 4 ½ innings. Baumann (1-0) struck out four and walked none in five innings.
Second baseman Jahmai Jones hit his seventh home run, a two-run shot in the fourth inning. The Tides scored six runs in the first.
Malquin Cañelo hit a two-run pinch-hit homer and rightfielder Kyle Stowers hit a three-run homer, his eighth, as Double-A Bowie beat Richmond, 5-3.
Grayson Rodriguez allowed a run on one hit, walking three and striking out three in two innings before he was removed after a rain delay.
Shortstop Jacob Westburg homered for the third straight game in High-A Aberdeen’s 10-9 loss to Bowling Green in 10 innings. Westburg’s seventh homer was a three-run shot.
Garrett Stallings started for the IronBirds and allowed six runs on nine hits in four innings.
Houston Roth pitched five shutout innings, giving up just two hits, as Low-A Delmarva beat Fredericksburg, 7-3. Roth (6-1) struck out four and walked three. Third baseman Willy Yahn drove in four runs.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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