After a strong start to the season, Dean Kremer struggled in his second consecutive start for the Orioles. And this time, there was no magic to climb out of a huge hole.
Kremer allowed two home runs and the Orioles’ offense stalled in an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
The Orioles fell short of winning their 52nd game of the season, which would have equaled their win total from 2021.
Nonetheless, Baltimore (51-50)will try to win the series on Sunday before heading to Texas.
“I just thought he was a little bit off from the start,” manager Brandon Hyde told reporters in Cincinnati about Kremer. “He didn’t look real comfortable. It was kind of a struggle for him tonight.”
Kremer (3-3) suffered his second straight loss, allowing season highs in runs (six) and hits (10) with three strikeouts and one walk in 41/3 innings. It was the first time Kremer suffered a road loss since June 24th, 2021, at Toronto.
Kremer has not completed six innings in five consecutive starts, allowing three or more runs in four of those appearances.
Rightfielder Anthony Santander went 1-for-3 and extended his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games. Catcher Adley Rutschman had two hits and set a rookie franchise record reaching base multiple times for the ninth consecutive game.
The Orioles scored twice in the first against Reds (39-61) starter Tyler Mahle (5-7), who was making his second appearance since an 18-day stint on the injured list because of a right shoulder strain. Rutschman, Trey Mancini and Santander had consecutive singles. Mahle then balked in the second run when he slipped off the mound attempting to pitch to Austin Hays.
However, that was the only offense the Orioles would manage against Mahle, who won his second consecutive start with six strong innings and seven strikeouts.
The Orioles did not reach base again until Rutschman singled off Ryan Hendrix in the ninth, which ended a string of 19 consecutive outs.
Cincinnati pulled to within 2-1 in the second on a run-scoring single by Michael Papierski. The Reds had a chance to tie the game but Santander threw out Jake Fraley at home attempting to score on a fly ball by Jonathan India. It was Santander’s third outfield assist on the season.
The Reds scored three times in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead when Fraley had an RBI single and India connected for a two-run homer.
Joey Votto boosted the lead to 5-2 with a home run in the fifth that ended the night for Kremer.
Beau Sulser entered and was involved in one of the odder plays of the season. Nick Senzel hit a ball off the left-field wall that ricocheted into Hays’ glove. Hays then threw the ball to the infield and the umpires ruled that Senzel was out for passing the lead runner.
Fraley followed with a two-run homer that boosted the lead to 7-2.
The Reds scored another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Brandon Drury.
Sulser allowed two runs on three hits and had three strikeouts and one walk in 3 2/3 innings. He retired the final seven batters he faced.
“The MVP tonight is Beau Sulser,” Hyde told reporters. “That was huge for us. We stretched way longer than we wanted to. However, he gave the bullpen a much-needed night off, which is hopefully good for us down the road and good for us tomorrow. We were stretched really thin from our starters not going really deep in games.”
Terrin Vavra got his first major league start for the Orioles as the designated hitter and went 0-for-3. Vavra, 25, is ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the Oriole system by Baseall America and MLB Pipeline.
Notes: Ryan Mountcastle was rested because he was banged up, Hyde said. … The Orioles signed right-handed pitcher Zach Showalter, their 11th-round draft pick. They’ve signed 17 of 22 draft choices. … Hyde told reporters that Tyler Wells, who’s on the 15-day injured list, has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain. There is no timetable for his return. … Austin Voth (1-1, 6.15) will face Nick Lodolo (3-3, 4.73) on Sunday at 1:40 p.m. … Right-hander Denyi Reyes and catcher Anthony Bemboom were added to the taxi squad.
Minor league update: Garrett Stallings (4-8) allowed a run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings as Double A-Bowie beat Altoona, 2-1. Stallings struck out four and walked one. Jensen Elliott, Shelton Perkins and Clayton McGinness combined for 3 1/3 hitless innings. McGinness recorded his second save. Catcher Maverick Handley hit his eighth home run.
Second baseman Luis Valdez and third baseman Frederick Bencosme each had three hits as Single-A Delmarva beat Lynchburg, 5-4. Shortstop Noelberth Romero drove in two runs and Valdez stole his 53rd base. Dylan Heid (2-2) allowed a run on four hits and struck out seven in five innings.
High-A Aberdeen’s game at Asheville was rained out.