The Orioles’ 11-7 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night put them 11 games over .500. Their 20-9 record equals the second best 29-game start in team history.
In 1970, the Orioles began the season, which ended with their second World Series title, 21-8, and for the fourth time, they’re 20-9. In 1969, they went to the World Series. In 1997, they led the American League East throughout the season, and in 2005, they ended the season with a 74-88 record.
They’re 11 games over .500 for the first time since May 10, 2017 when they were 22-10.
Since beginning the season 4-5, the Orioles have won 16 of 20.
Mountcastle’s big night: Much has been made of first baseman Ryan Mountcastle’s hard-luck hitting. In 2022, Mountcastle hit .250 and, according to FanGraphs, his expected batting average was .277.
This year, it has been even more extreme. Entering Tuesday’s game, Mountcastle was hitting .244 with an expected batting average of .308.
Mountcastle hit a pair of two-run home runs and a run-scoring double. His five RBIs gave him 26 this season.
Since he hit two homers and drove in nine runs, which tied the Orioles’ club record on April 11th, Mountcastle had hit just one home run and had only three RBIs before Tuesday’s game.
Rutschman’s four-hit day: Catcher Adley Rutschman had four hits, the third time this season he’d had at least four hits. In the March 31st opener, Rutschman went 5-for-5, and on April 9th, he was 4-for-4.
Whenever the Orioles play the Royals, the comparison between Rutschman and Kansas City shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who was selected immediately behind him in the 2019 draft, is unavoidable.
There was much debate about whether the Orioles would take Rutschman or Witt, and it’s obvious that they’ve made the right choice.
Witt led off the Kansas City first with a home run against Oriole starter Tyler Wells, his fifth this season. He’s hitting .221 with 11 RBIs and a .264 on-base percentage.
Last season, Witt hit .254 with 20 homers and 80 RBIs and finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. Rutschman finished second.
Santander’s mastery: Rightfielder Anthony Santander fouled off an amazing 12 straight pitches in an epic eighth-inning at-bat against Kansas City’s Taylor Clarke. He ended the 16-pitch at-bat with a single and scored the 11th run.
Santander’s 16-pitch at-bat is tied for the second longest in team history with Albert Belle, who had a 16-pitch at-bat in April 2000. Chris Hoiles’ 17-pitch at-bat on May 5th, 1991 is the longest in team history.
According to the MASN telecast, the at-bat took seven minutes, 53 seconds, and included an injury to Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who was struck on his left hand by Santander’s bat on his follow through.
Cano finally allows a hit: After relief pitcher Yennier Cano retired his first 32 batters without allowing a hit, setting a club record, he allowed an infield single to Maikel Garcia, leading off the ninth. Cano then retired his next three hitters, ending the game.
Bryan Baker struck out the side in the eighth, lowering his ERA to 1.76.
Wells’ start: Wells allowed four runs on three hits—all home runs—in six innings. He walked three, which equaled his season total in his first 29 innings.
He’s 2-1, tying Baker, Mike Baumann, Félix Bautista and Dean Kremer for second most wins on the club. Kyle Gibson (4-0), who’s scheduled to pitch Wednesday night against Zack Greinke, is the Orioles’ leading winner.
Minor league update: Shortstop Joey Ortiz drove in four runs and hit a three-run home run, his first of the season, as Triple-A Norfolk beat Durham, 12-8.
Centerfielder Colton Cowser drove in three runs and hit his fifth home run, a two-run shot. Designated hitter Shayne Fontana hit his second homer.
Bruce Zimmermann allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings.
The Tides are 20-7.
Mychal Givens retired all three hitters he faced in the fifth inning while Dillon Tate allowed two runs on three hits in 11/3 innings in Double-A Bowie’s 6-2 loss to Erie.
Givens, who’s recovering from a left knee injury, has thrown two perfect innings in his rehab. Tate has an 8.10 ERA in three games. He’s recovering from a right elbow injury.
High-A Aberdeen lost at Brooklyn, 4-3, in 10 innings.
Rightfielder Stiven Acevedo hit two home runs, driving in four runs in Single-A Delmarva’s 9-7 loss to Carolina.