BALTIMORE—The Orioles are using the final days of the season as auditions for some of their lesser-known players, and unknowns.
On Saturday night, manager Brandon Hyde had to piece together a game largely using pitchers who hadn’t appeared in an Orioles game before early August and three position players who are also new to the team.
The patchwork Orioles beat the Texas Rangers, 3-2, before an announced crowd of 10,645 at Camden Yards.
“We had quite a few guys down today,” Hyde said. “It was going to be a game with a lot of guys that were just acquired that were new to us, and I was impressed with how they pitched. They did a great job, kind of pieced it together.”
Chris Ellis, who came to the Orioles on waivers from Tampa Bay on August 20th, started and pitched three scoreless innings but was removed because of arm fatigue. Ellis was supposed to start on Tuesday in Philadelphia but couldn’t because of the tired arm.
“It started feeling a little bit better since my last time around,” Ellis said. “It just kind of was ongoing, and as the game went on, kind of got worse. It get to the point where I felt I wasn’t doing myself or the team justice by pitching anymore, so I came in, talked to Hyder and told him I was feeling a little bit of tightness in my shoulder.
“I don’t think it’s anything too serious. I’ll probably see over the next couple of days. I’m hoping I can bounce back pretty quick from it.”
Ellis was followed by Marcos Diplán, who joined the team on August 6th and pitched two shutout innings.
Joey Krehbiel, who was claimed on waivers from the Rays earlier in the week and was recalled on Friday, recorded five outs. Brooks Kriske (2-1), another recent waiver claim, allowed a leadoff home run by José Trevino in the eighth.
Dillon Tate, one of the few bullpen mainstays remaining on the roster, gave up a leadoff home run to Nathaniel Lowe in the ninth and recorded a four-out save against the Rangers (56-99).
Jordan Lyles (9-13) kept the Orioles (50-105) scoreless through six. Trey Mancini walked and scored on a double by Pat Valaika to left in the seventh. After pinch-hitter Cedric Mullins grounded to second, Kelvin Gutiérrez, who was purchased from Kansas City in early July, hit a two-run home run to right-center, his first with the Orioles, to give them a 3-0 lead.
“I was anxious to hit one with the Orioles, so finally I’m able to hit one,” Gutiérrez said through a translator. “Hopefully, I’ll get some more.”
Since Maikel Franco was released in late August, Gutiérrez has gotten most of the starts at third base. He’s batting .218 with a .573 OPS in 78 games with the Royals and Orioles, and has been solid on defense.
“I see this as a huge opportunity for me,” Gutiérrez said. “This is something I’ve been working pretty hard at and now it’s time for me to work hard and take advantage of the situation.”
The inexperienced pitching staff had a new catcher to throw to. Nick Ciuffo, who was often on the taxi squad during road trips, started a day after his contract was purchased from Norfolk. He doubled in the sixth inning.
Notes: Anthony Santander, who missed three games because of a sore left hamstring, returned and was hitless in four at-bats, although he did make a good running catch. … Austin Hays’ eighth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 11 games. … John Means (6-7, 3.25 ERA) will face Dane Dunning (5-9, 4.34) on Sunday afternoon.
Minor league update: Designated hitter Adley Rutschman had three hits in Norfolk’s 6-5 loss to Charlotte. Dean Kremer started and pitched three hitless innings, striking out five and walking two. Paul Fry pitched a perfect inning, and centerfielder Yusniel Diaz hit his third home run.
While the seasons of Aberdeen, Bowie and Delmarva have ended, Norfolk’s season continues through October 3rd.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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