The Orioles had an excellent chance to secure their eighth straight series win against the Atlanta Braves, who have the best record in the National League.
Kevin Pillar, a longtime Orioles tormentor, hit a two-run home run against Danny Coulombe (1-1) in the eighth inning to carry Atlanta to a 5-4 win at Truist Park on Saturday night.
The game, which was broadcast as FOX’s secondary game, allowed viewers who may not have seen the Orioles their first look at them in 2023.
They saw the Orioles take a 4-3 lead in the sixth on an RBI double by Anthony Santander, who later scored on an infield out by Adam Frazier.
Frazier drove in the Orioles’ first two runs in the fourth with a single.
Bryan Baker allowed a double to leadoff batter Austin Riley in the eighth, and with one out, Coulombe gave up the home run to Pillar, and the Braves led, 5-4. Pillar, a lifetime .259 hitter in 11 seasons, is batting .323 against the Orioles with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs.
Raisel Iglesias, who was just activated off the injured list, retired the Orioles in order in the ninth.
The Orioles were attempting to go 13 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2016 season. Instead, they’re 22-11, tying for the second best 33-game start in club history. It’s their first 22-11 start since 2017.
In order to take the series from the Braves, they’ll play before a national TV audience on Sunday at 11:35 a.m. That game will be broadcast on NBC/Peacock.
Kyle Bradish started and allowed three runs on five hits in five innings.
Tyler Wells (2-1, 3.34) will face Bryce Elder (3-0, 1.75) in the unique Sunday morning start.
Urías debuts at first: Ramón Urías won the American League Gold Glove at third base last season despite starting just over half the Orioles’ games at third.
This year, with Gunnar Henderson getting lots of time at third, Urías has been invaluable as a utility player, starting games at third, shortstop, second base, designated hitter, and on Saturday night at first base. It was his first major league appearance there.
Urías played first base flawlessly and made a nice tag on Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna after a throw from Bradish pulled him off the first.
Pérez is perfect: While the Orioles’ bullpen lost the game, Cionel Pérez delivered his best outing of the season. Pérez, who had an outstanding 1.40 ERA last year, came into the game with a 5.25 ERA.
In relief of Bradish, Pérez retired all four batters he faced, striking out one and he reduced his ERA to 4.73.
Minor league update: Ryan Watson, Nick Vespi and Chris Vallimont combined on a five-hit shutout as Triple-A Norfolk beat Durham, 5-0.
Watson allowed three hits in four innings, Vespi (1-0) gave up a hit in the fifth, and Vallimont pitched four innings, allowing just one hit. The three combined to strike out 13.
Third baseman Jordan Westburg hit his eighth home run.
Garrett Stallings (0-2) allowed six runs on seven hits in the third inning while retiring just two batters in Double-A Bowie’s 10-4 loss to Erie.
Dillon Tate continued to struggle in his rehab assignment. He walked two and both runners scored, and he retired only one batter as his ERA with the Baysox rose to 21.00.
Rightfielder Zach Watson and centerfielder Billy Cook homered.
Alex Pham (1-1) allowed one hit in five scoreless innings as High-A Aberdeen beat Brooklyn, 7-2. Pham struck out six and walked three.
Shortstop Jackson Holliday drove in two runs. Third baseman Max Wagner and first baseman Isaac De Leon homered.
Catcher Samuel Basallo drove in three runs and tripled as Single-A Delmarva beat Carolina, 5-2.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB