BALTIMORE—While the Orioles’ streak of scoreless innings pitched ended in the ninth inning on Friday night, another impressive mark remained intact until Kyle Gibson allowed a home run with one out in the seventh inning.
In their last five games, Oriole starters threw 30 scoreless innings, and Gibson allowed just two hits and equaled a career high with 11 strikeouts as the Orioles won their fifth straight and ninth in their past 11 games, 5-1 over the Detroit Tigers before an announced crowd of 12,194 at Camden Yards on Saturday night.
An unfavorable weather forecast and afternoon rain may have kept many away from the ballpark, but the rain stopped and the game began on time and was played without interruption.
Gibson (4-0) allowed a single to Javier Baez, who stole second, before walking Riley Greene and Kerry Carpenter. Gibson struck out Spencer Torkelson and got Zach McKinstry to fly out to right to end the first.
“Any time you walk two guys and you get bases loaded and one out, there’s always a little bit of concern,” Gibson said. “When fastball was the only pitch I was able to throw in the strike zone, that’s probably the biggest concern because the hitters obviously see that as well.
“Each inning is its own inning. I just really felt uncomfortable out of the stretch that whole first inning. Every inning after that I threw almost every warmup pitch from the stretch because I needed to feel comfortable. I needed to feel a rhythm out of the stretch.”
Gibson felt comfortable working with backup catcher James McCann.
“I can’t say enough about how the game started and how he settled in and went into cruise control,” McCann said. “The first inning could have been real rough and he found a way to get out of it.”
Gibson didn’t allow a second hit until a home run by McKinstry in the seventh, and he retired 18 of 19 after Carpenter’s first-inning walk.
“It was amazing to be able to go into the seventh after how the game started for him,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Didn’t really have his command early … and then nothing until the seventh.”
The streak began when Grayson Rodriguez pitched four scoreless innings after allowing four runs in the first against Chicago on April 16th. It continued with 6 2/3 innings from Dean Kremer, six more by Kyle Bradish in two wins at Washington and seven by Tyler Wells on Friday night.
“We’re going to have good moments and not-so-good moments and good starts and not-so-good starts,” Hyde said. “Right now, we’ve been rolling off some really good starts … The bullpen has been pitching absolutely outstanding, just really throwing the ball well the last four or five games.”
Yennier Cano retired the five batters he faced in relief of Gibson. None of the 17 batters he has faced has reached base.
The Orioles (13-7) scored four runs in the third against Detroit starter Joey Wentz (0-3). A soft single to left by Adley Rutschman scored Gunnar Henderson, and Ramón Urías doubled to right to score Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander.
McCann, Rutschman’s backup, homered to lead off the fourth, his first with the Orioles.
“Very satisfying. To come up with a big hit against a former team in a spot that opened the game up, that’s a good feeling,” McCann said. “The talent here is incredible. The chemistry from the young guys that have been together is very apparent from the moment that you walk in the clubhouse, and now they’re learning how to win and win together.
“Every night it’s a different guy. There’s been a lot of guys that have come up with big hits in big moments … That’s what a good team does. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Urías was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza after he was called out on strikes to end the fifth. Terrin Vavra made his first major league appearance at third base, taking over for Urías.
“That bummed me out,” Hyde said. “He doesn’t show a whole lot of emotion normally. Pretty surprising.”
Rodriguez will try to keep the streak of strong starts intact on Sunday.
“A good starting rotation adds a lot of consistency to a team,” Gibson said. “That’s really the job of the starting rotation. Make sure that these offensive guys know we have a chance to win every single day and if you can do what we’ve done … they know not only that we’re going to be in the game that they don’t have to do a whole lot to win the game.”
Notes: Rodriguez (0-0, 6.91) will face Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 3.00) on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. … The 30-inning streak by Oriole starters was the longest one since a 42-inning streak in 1995. … Cano’s streak is the longest since Fred Holdsworth retired 24 straight to begin his Orioles’ career from July 17th-24th, 1976. … Hyde said that Rutschman, who has played in all 20 games as either the catcher or the designated hitter, would not play in all 162 games.
Minor league update: Centerfielder Colton Cowser hit two home runs and designated hitter Josh Lester hit his seventh homer as Triple-A Norfolk beat Rochester, 9-2, in a game shortened by rain to five innings. Cowser hit a two-run homer and a solo shot. He has three homers this season.
Drew Rom (3-0) pitched the rain-shortened complete game, allowing two o runs on seven hits. He struck out five without walking a batter.
Single-A Delmarva’s game with Fredericksburg was suspended in the second inning because of rain with the Shorebirds ahead, 2-1.
Double-A Bowie at Altoona and Jersey Shore at High-A Aberdeen were rained out.