Sulser allows 2 runs in 8th in Royals' 3-2 win over Orioles; Lowther pitches well; López injures ankle - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Sulser allows 2 runs in 8th in Royals’ 3-2 win over Orioles; Lowther pitches well; López injures ankle

Photo Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE—The Orioles received an outstanding start Monday from rookie left-hander Zac Lowther, whose first major league start on May 8th wasn’t pleasant. His second one was.

Lowther, who allowed just three hits, including former Oriole Hanser Alberto’s home run in six innings, looked to be in line for his first win. However, the Kansas City Royals scored two runs against Cole Sulser in the eighth for a 3-2 come-from-behind win before an announced Labor Day crowd of 11,973 at Oriole Park.

Sulser (4-4) came in trying to protect a 2-1 lead and gave up a leadoff double to Whit Merrifield. He moved to third on a sacrifice by Nicky Lopez and scored on a bloop single to right by Salvador Perez.

With two outs, Carlos Santana singled, and a single by Andrew Benintendi scored Perez to give the Royals a 3-2 lead.

Domingo Tapia (2-0), who recorded five outs, was the winner. Scott Barlow picked up his 11th save, but not before some dramatics.

Anthony Santander hit a long fly to left that could have been a home run had Benintendi not caught it at the wall. Jorge Mateo flied to center, and DJ Stewart singled to left before Jahmai Jones struck out to end the game.

The Orioles (43-93) were seeking their third straight win. After two one-run wins at Yankee Stadium, they were seeking their fifth three-game winning streak. After the All-Star break, they won two of three at Kansas City (62-76).

It was their fifth straight one-run game.

“You want to play competitive games, and I’m disappointed when we only score two runs,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’d like to help out our pitchers there.

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“I was really impressed with our at-bats in the ninth inning. A really good arm in Barlow. We drove the ball three times. Good to see us fight there in the ninth … I’d like to see us score some runs to take some pressure off the pitching. I’d like to win these close games, especially when we have the lead there late.”

Lowther was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game. Hyde said he’ll get more starts this month as the Orioles look at prospective starters for 2022.

“I just want to show them there was a reason I was put on this team,” Lowther said. “Just being able to go out and do everything that got me to this point and being able to execute going forward.

“The beginning of the season wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to go from my standpoint, whether it be performance-based or health-based. Being able to finish this year strong is my main point and being able to show them, this is what I’m able to offer.”

Lowther strained his left shoulder in July.

“It’s been really different, for sure,” Lowther said. “Going from a starting role to a relieving role. I wasn’t really used to that, but I thought I took it in stride as much as I could, and then the injuries, I wasn’t able to give everything thing I had, and my stuff wasn’t as crisp as I would like to [be]. I think that the injury gave me a good reset.

“I was able to go down to Florida and get my body right, get my mind right, and then as I worked my way back up, I was able to feel out what I needed to work on and what would get me back to Baltimore. I was able to do that pretty quickly.”

In Lowther’s start against the Red Sox four months ago, he allowed seven runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.

On Monday, Lowther pitched six innings, the longest he has thrown in the majors or the minors, allowing a run on three hits. He walked two and struck out two.

“He left with a lead, and he was a lot sharper than he was when he was up here previously,” Hyde said.

A third-inning single by Austin Hays drove home Austin Wynns to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead against Kris Bubic. Hays extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

“I think my luck has increased a little bit,” Hays said. “I’ve gotten some balls to fall,”

Alberto, in his return to Baltimore, where he played in 2019 and 2020, hit his second home run of the season in the fifth to tie the score, 1-1.

Cedric Mullins’ 26th home run, which gave him the team lead, put the Orioles in front, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth.

Jorge López replaced Lowther in the seventh and turned his right ankle after he caught Ryan Mountcastle’s toss to first base on Benintendi’s grounder to begin the inning. López left the game, and the Orioles said they were waiting for diagnostic testing.

“He rolled it pretty good on the base there,” Hyde said. “We won’t know that until later tonight, maybe tomorrow.”

Conner Greene finished the scoreless inning, and Hyde said that he was reluctant to use some of his relievers. Marcos Diplán and Tanner Scott had worked the last two games, and he said he didn’t want to use Tyler Wells, if possible.

“I was hoping Lopie could go into the seventh, possibly into the eighth,” Hyde said. “It definitely affected how things lined up at the end.”

Notes: Right-handed pitcher Dusten Knight was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Lowther. … Infielder Ramón Urías, who left Sunday’s game because of upper leg soreness, sat out Monday’s game as did Trey Mancini, who had “general soreness,” according to Hyde. … Eddie Murray, who celebrated the 25th anniversary of his 500th home run, threw out the first pitch to Mancini .… Diplán got his first major league win and Tyler Wells his first save on Sunday. It was the second time this season and the 11th time since 1969 that Oriole pitchers had their first win and saves in the same game. … Mullins was the designated hitter for the first time in his career. … Zack Burdi, who pitched a scoreless ninth, is the 56th player used by the Orioles, two short of the franchise record, set in 2019. … Ryan McKenna, who started in center, struck out twice and has struck out 10 times in his last 14 at-bats. … Alexander Wells (1-2, 7.71 ERA) will face Jackson Kowar (0-2, 8.18) on Tuesday night.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. The Bird1

    September 6, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    We know how sprained ankles go on this team….see you in spring training Jorge.

  2. Buzz1979

    September 6, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Like Zimmermann and Harvey and the 10 day?!?!?!?! DL! LOL!!!!!!!!!

  3. Buzz1979

    September 6, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Akin and now Lowther, is there a glimmer of hope?!

    • EkimC

      September 6, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      Don’t hold your breath… remember, these are the Orioles… just saying…

  4. Orial

    September 6, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    An uninspiring game after a VERY inspiring weekend–predictable. Sulser coughing it up after lights-out work lately–also predictable. Ruined the Yankees weekend but still showed they have that ability to grab that first overall pick. Mullins is ok after all. How frustrating is Santander? What to do with Mckenna? Proved he dominates AAA pitching but useless at this level. Slap me for saying this but that DJ might just have the best plate work on this team–just falls victim to that damn high fastball too much. Young pitching and bullpen(generally) are coming into shape just too many holes and warning track power on offense. Agree Orioles handling of ankle injuries is not things medical books are made of. Good luck Mr. Lopez you’ve found your niche(relief)now hurry back–but cautiously.

  5. dlgruber1

    September 6, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    So, I’m not saying this to stir up a hornets nest, I’m just making a point. I think most, if not all, of us agree that winning begins with pitching, and more so starting pitching. While I admire the job Elias has done drafting hitters, it’s time he starts finding some pitching for this team. EVERY pitcher the O’s are relying on for future success was put on this team by Duquette. From GR to Hall to Akin to Lowther to Baumann to Sedlock and I’m sure I’m missing some. I’m not sure what his plans are. Maybe he’ll hope some of the guys he acquired in trades will pay off. Guys like Kremer, Pinto and others. I’m saying this because a team full of good infielders and outfielders but bad pitching isn’t gonna win many games. I’m already hearing chatter about the O’s, if they have the top pick yet again, possibly taking the next “generational talent” prospect next year, and he’s NOT a pitcher.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 6, 2021 at 10:34 pm

      You’re spot on. Problem is that if you’re relying on drafting some pitchers, that puts you back at least another 2-4 years.

      It’s time to poney up some $$ this winter for the pitching staff. Do that, and the team will be cookin’ with Crisco.

      But you’re right DL … it starts with the starting pitchers.

      • NormOs

        September 7, 2021 at 11:25 am

        Agree Boog, It all starts with pitching and right now it seems the O’s may have some starters, MAYBE. The Pen is another story…….Lopez and Wells and then nothing. Time to $$’s up! You’ve got to spend to make! That means FREE AGENT PITCHING, no more waiver wire (untradeable) pitching. It don’t work! Oh, and let’s not forget 2nd, short, and 3rd, it don’t work there either. Winning, I’m afraid, is generated in today’s baseball, by spending so Elias, let’s do your job. A rebuild can’t work without a base of major league players.

        • Hallbe62

          September 7, 2021 at 6:31 pm

          Pitching, pitching,…..,& MORE pitching

    • Baltimore Castaway

      September 7, 2021 at 9:42 am

      DLG & BRR

      This has been something that I’ve thought about for some time. It is striking to me also that Elias has shied-away from taking top-rated Pitching in his three first Drafts.

      Leaving this aside for a moment though–he has done remarkable work in getting hitters who have contact/barrel of the bat, strike zone awareness, and strong plate discipline skills. He has loaded-up on these type players. His ability to get these high-upside guys is most impressive to me.

      So where does this leave them for pitchers? I now believe that Elias’s plan is to:

      1) find “diamonds-in-the-rough” Pitchers further down the Draft Board
      2) trade for more established young pitchers with other teams
      3) sign higher-upside pitching in the International Markets, and
      4) acquire more highly established pitching from the (expected) surplus of skill players in the system

      This is my guess…. I DO trust his plan…it is counter-intuitive, but it seems that they are much more confident in getting highly-skilled hitters who play skill positions and are thus highly valuable to other teams. If you look at the injury and failure risk in drafting amateur Pitchers it does make some sense to me….he is saying get solid hitters and trade for more established players who are much better bets when they need them.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 8, 2021 at 3:58 pm

        BC I trust his plan as well. It’s just that his methods are sooooo dirty, and in my opinion, unnessary.

        Although there a few bright spots pitching-wise on the minor league horizon, it’s time to buy a pitching staff.

        • Baltimore Castaway

          September 8, 2021 at 4:30 pm

          BRR,

          Good corresponding w you, as always. We have an honest difference of opinion on this matter. I confess that I can’t get my brain around how a team that was so-far-gone could rebuild in a strong and sustainable manner y signing a FA here and there on a piecemeal basis.

          As John Taffer from Bar Rescue would say “SHUT IT DOWN!!!” when he got here. EVERYTHING had to be torn-down and rebuilt; new Systems, new structures, new playbooks, new people, replace the established minions, new technologies, new mindsets, new disciplines, and new thinking.

          It is not possible to do what was required to do without hitting the reset button..

          The “fix is in” and is now beginning to play out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign some better stand-ins this Winter.

          Hoping that all is well for you in Texas.

          P.S.

          You have many people on this site who enjoy your commentary and personae. Don’t take anything here personally..

  6. CalsPals

    September 7, 2021 at 7:09 am

    Not sure what you get when Alka Sulser comes in, but know what my belly needs…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      September 7, 2021 at 11:46 am

      CP, that’s great. I actually did LOL. Let me continue the Jr High humor with Dillon Pectate.
      Oh gosh…

      • NormOs

        September 7, 2021 at 12:13 pm

        Is this one? A bad Abad

    • CalsPals

      September 7, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      Funny fellas, anyone else?…go O’s…

    • dlgruber1

      September 7, 2021 at 2:02 pm

      I’m not taking credit for this one. If I remember right Buzz1979 said it, although if I’m wrong I apologize to whoever did say it, but I really got a kick out of “look boss, Diplan, Diplan!” They’re all worthy of Chris Berman back when ESPN was watchable.

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