Lowther gets 1st major league win as Orioles beat Rangers, 3-0; Hays, Mountcastle homer; Zimmermann starts for Norfolk - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Lowther gets 1st major league win as Orioles beat Rangers, 3-0; Hays, Mountcastle homer; Zimmermann starts for Norfolk

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA Today Sports

BALTIMORE—After 13 days of playing teams in playoff contention, the Orioles received a respite in the schedule and played the first of four games with another rebuilding team, the Texas Rangers, on Thursday night.

Behind a string of solid pitching performances, the Orioles beat the Rangers, 3-0, before an announced crowd of 6,328 at Camden Yards.

It was the Orioles’ fifth shutout of the season and their second in the last four games. It’s their first shutout at home since July 21, 2019. They are 49-104 with nine games to play, the same record as the Arizona Diamondbacks in the battle for the top pick in the 2022 draft. Texas is 55-98.

Zac Lowther pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He walked two and struck out seven, including five in the first two innings. Lowther (1-2), who recorded his first major league win, hadn’t struck out more than four in any of his previous four starts. No runner reached third.

“I got my fastball established inside, and I was able to get some offspeed pitches over for strikes and being able to put them away was a big focus this week,” Lowther said. “My ability to do that got me the strikeouts and fastball command put me in those positions to get the strikeouts, so I was happy with that.”

Lowther probably will have one more start before the season ends.

‘Every year you try to just finish strong and be able to end on a good note,” Lowther said. “This being one of the last outings of the year for me, going forward it’s a good learning moment for me to take into the offseason and put towards my work, and then just the confidence boost, having a good outing this late in the season after some struggles.”

Lowther had a strong start on September 6th when he allowed one run on three hits to the Kansas City Royals, but the Orioles lost that game, 3-2. He was also the starting pitcher on September 12th when he allowed the first seven of the 22 runs the Orioles gave up in a 22-7 loss to Toronto.

“Being able to do what I am good at consistently over and over is going to give me good results and we’ll trust that and go out and do that.” Lowther said

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Mike Baumann replaced Lowther and pitched a scoreless sixth. In the seventh, Baumman left after Nick Solak’s single and a one-out walk to Jonah Heim. After the game, Baumann was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

With runners on first and second, Cole Sulser relieved Baumann and got two grounders to end the inning.

“Sulsey cleaned that up very nicely,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “The biggest outs of the game.”

Sulser pitched a perfect eighth, and Tyler Wells a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.

The Orioles played three tough games in Philadelphia, winning the first, 2-0, and then losing two one-run games, 3-2 and 4-3.

“I think guys are attacking a little bit better right now and really pitching with some confidence,” Sulser said. “Going out there and throwing their best stuff. I don’t know if it’s just things clicking a little bit late in the season, but I think guys are throwing the ball really well, and they’ve been looking really good.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Ryan McKenna doubled with one out. Jahmai Jones singled and, with McKenna on third, Richie Martin brought him home with a bunt.

Glenn Otto (0-3) allowed a home run to Ryan Mountcastle, his 31st, with two outs in the fifth to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Austin Hays hit his 22nd home run with one out in the eighth.

Cedric Mullins, who hit his 29th home run on September 11th, was hitless in three at-bats. He has nine games to hit his 30th home run and become the first Oriole to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season.

Notes: Alexander Wells (1-3, 7.96 ERA) will face Spencer Howard (0-4, 6.86) on Friday night. … Hays has eight home runs in September.

Minor league update: Bruce Zimmermann allowed two runs on four hits in four innings in a rehab start as Triple-A Norfolk beat Charlotte, 8-4, in the first game of a doubleheader. Zimmermann is on the 60-day injured list because of a sprained right ankle and could return to the Orioles next week. He struck out six without walking a batter.

Centerfielder Zach Jarrett drove in three runs. Rightfielder Zach Stowers had three hits, and second baseman Willy Yahn hit his first home run. Ofelky Peralta (4-1) allowed two runs on four hits in three innings.

Designated hitter Adley Rutschman hit his fifth home run, a three-run shot, in the second game.

Trailing 2-0 in the best-of-five series, Bowie plays at Akron on Friday in the third game of the Double-A Northeast Championship Series.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    September 24, 2021 at 7:59 am

    That Rutschman guy seems to be playing pretty well…go O’s…

  2. Icterus fan

    September 24, 2021 at 8:24 am

    So…..in terms of top draft pick…….what would happen if we have the identical record as Arizona at the conclusion of the season?

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 24, 2021 at 8:29 am

      Marty, I believe the Orioles would get the pick because they had a worse record than Arizona in 2019. The Diamondbacks and Orioles both were 25-35 in 2020.

      • Bman

        September 24, 2021 at 10:30 am

        The remaining schedule for the diamondbacks looks tough against LA and SF. Os still have three more against TX. I’m guessing AZ inches them out for first pick. #2 isn’t too shabby though. Who are their top draft prospect considerations or too early to know? I think Mountcastle has leapfrogged Garcia in ROY considerations. 19 Pts higher batting average, more HR and RBIs, better OPS. Love the way Hays is finishing out the year too!

  3. Orial

    September 24, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Nit-pick time. Did Hyde really have to replace Jones with Valaika for defense in the 9th? Talk about confidence destroying. I know-nit-picking. I guess Mullins plays every day until he hits number 30. He’s a shell of his former self at this point. Best defensive OF the O’s have had in many a year on the field last night. Is this really improved pitching or just an apparition that will come back to earth next week(Boston/Tor)? Sure does seem to be a sudden abundance of talent at Norfolk lately. Wasn’t long ago that Stevie was their star. Good to see. Interesting that the 2 worst teams(O’s/DBacks) play in the 2 best divisions. Kinda self explanatory.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 24, 2021 at 9:07 am

      Al, Mullins is batting .263 in September with an .896 OPS. For the season, he’s still batting .300.

    • Buzz1979

      September 24, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      Jones is already better than Valaika, move made 0 sense!

  4. Orioles20

    September 24, 2021 at 8:47 am

    Lowther pitched well. Had good breaking stuff. But I’m not sold on him and Alex Wells. There best starts have been against bad teams. They did terrible against the blue jays and Red Sox. Hays is proving they he can hit righties when needed. Please let this be the last year of Stewart. Hays could be a legit thirty thirty guy like Mullins if he could stay healthy early in the season. Mountcastle has to be rookie of the year. But according to Yonder Alonso on MLB network he has played enough games. But he’s played more then Garcia of the rangers. Mountcastle Mullins and Hays are legit pieces of the future. Add in Rutschman and Rodriguez with the rest and you have a solid core coming next year and the following year.

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2021 at 9:17 am

      I said that a few days ago, was disagreed with, still feel he deserves it, leading in almost every major category, plying for a losing team like the O’s just plan hurts him, someone said he might not even be the O’s best rookie, siting WAR, said Uranus could be, seriously…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2021 at 9:31 am

      Also playing in AL East & not getting to bat against the O’s, he sees ALL playoff caliber teams, unlike many of the other ROY candidates…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 24, 2021 at 9:44 am

      There is an unusually excellent group of rookies. Randy Arozarena, who also plays in the AL East and has a 3.7 WAR is probably the leading contender. Mountcastle’s -1.4 defensive WAR will surely cost him, though in many other years, he’d probably be the favorite.

      Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland’s excellent reliever with a 1.35 ERA and 24 saves, should also get lots of votes.

      Houston’s Luis Garcia deserves support, too. Mountcastle has a good case, but it’s a great year for rookies.

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2021 at 9:56 am

      Point, Arozarena gets to bat AGAINST the O’s, Mountcastle doesn’t, if Arozarena gets it it will be because he was pretty much handed it during the playoffs last yr when the media said it was his to lose for the 2021 season…go O’s…

      • Bman

        September 24, 2021 at 10:44 am

        Mountcastle has better offensive numbers than arozarena on a much worse team. Difference between first place and last place team. How much more production would Mountcastle have had on the Rays? I guess WAR is the most important stat they consider.

    • willmiranda

      September 24, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      I think Mountcastle is beyond being treated as a rookie. He’s a bona fide major league slugging first baseman.
      I think of him as a veteran already, who had his sophomore slump at the beginning of this year and came through it very nicely. Yes, he’s technically a rookie, but I think he’s better than that. Awards are nice and recognition feels good, but I’ll take performance on the field any day.

  5. CalsPals

    September 24, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Congrats to Lowther, making NEO proud…go O’s…

  6. Icterus fan

    September 24, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Lowther’s breaking ball against righties last night was a thing of beauty. That slow back door break was enjoyable to watch.
    Was he successful only because he was facing another “rebuilding” club? I doubt it. When you’re breaking pitches are working and your hitting your spots like that, you’re gonna get guys out.

  7. NormOs

    September 24, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Is it my imagination or are The O’s getting very good starting pitching of late? Of course, they have to drag that bullpen everywhere…..too bad!

    • EkimC

      September 24, 2021 at 4:48 pm

      The “Doomsday Squad”… just saying…

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