BALTIMORE—For the first time this season, Ryan Mountcastle began the game on the bench. Mountcastle was 0-for-11, and manager Brandon Hyde decided to start Ryan O’Hearn as the designated hitter, batting ninth, but said he expected Mountcastle to play.
O’Hearn hit a home run, his first as an Oriole, in the second inning, and by the time his position in the batting order came around again, the Angels had removed their right-handed starter Chase Silseth and brought in Tucker Davidson, a left-hander. Hyde inserted Mountcastle, who doubled in the fourth and hit a long two-run home run in the sixth, and the Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels, 7-3, before an announced crowd of 13,244 at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.
“We got a lot of production out of the number nine spot tonight,” Hyde said. “Not by design. I wasn’t anticipating hitting Mounty that early in the game. A couple of things happened, and I thought it was the right spot to use him there.”
It was the first time the Orioles had two players hit home runs batting ninth since Chris Hoiles and Jeff Tackett did it on April 18th, 1992.
“It’s working. You can’t argue with it,” O’Hearn said of the Orioles’ strategy. “Pretty fun to have production like that. Him and I were joking all night about the best nine-hole duo in the league.”
Dean Kremer (5-1) allowed a leadoff home run on the game’s fifth pitch to Mickey Moniak. O’Hearn’s homer against Silseth (0-1) tied it in the second.
“I want to contribute. I want to help. Every time I see my name is in the lineup, I get excited,” O’Hearn said.
It was O’Hearn’s first home run since May 13th, 2022.
“I get an opportunity to get out there and make a positive impact on the game, on the team. It was only one [at-bat] tonight, but I’ll take it. Pass the baton over to Mounty, and we get a lot of production of the nine-hole tonight.”
After throwing 31 pitches in the first inning, Kremer settled in and completed 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
“I struggled through the first and escaped it and tried to eat as many innings as I could after that,” Kremer said. “We had a long day for the bullpen [Monday].”
Kremer has won three straight starts for the first time in his career.
“His strike-throwing ability and the working ahead in the count,” Hyde said. “Building confidence. A couple of good starts against really good teams.”
The Orioles (27-15) scored three runs in the fourth as third baseman Gunnar Henderson, who has hit in four straight games for the first time this season, doubled with one out. Terrin Vavra’s first run batted in of the season, a single, scored Henderson.
After Vavra moved to second on a wild pitch, Jorge Mateo broke an 0-for-19 streak with an RBI single to right. Mateo scored on Cedric Mullins’ infield single.
Kremer allowed an RBI single to Zach Neto in the fifth, and after Matt Thaiss singled with two outs in the sixth, Bryan Baker allowed singles to Brandon Drury and Urshela, which scored Thaiss and narrowed the lead to 4-3.
Davidson hit Adam Frazier with a pitch to begin the sixth, and Ryan McKenna lined a ball off Davidson’s leg that bounced into left field for a double. Davidson left the game, and Mateo’s sacrifice fly to center made it 5-3. Mountcastle’s 433-foot home run to center gave the Orioles a 7-3 lead.
“I was sitting on the bench. I thought I had a pretty decent day off,” Mountcastle said. “All right, I may need it. Name got called in the fourth, and I was like, ‘whatever.’”
Mountcastle has never started a game in the nine-hole and was hitless in three at-bats when batting ninth. O’Hearn batted ninth for the sixth time this season.
“I haven’t done it much, but when you have a lineup as talented as this, I don’t mind it at all,” O’Hearn said. “I just want to see my name in the lineup, contribute in any way possible.”
Cionel Pérez retired all six batters he faced. Yennier Cano continued his mastery with a perfect ninth inning. He has allowed four hits in 20 2/3 scoreless innings.
“We’ve got great hitters, one through nine,” Mountcastle said. “Even guys on the bench have been swinging it really well, too. To have that flexibility with our pitching staff, too. Every guy in the bullpen has been doing great. Hopefully, we keep it going.”
Note: Kyle Bradish (1-1, 4.56) will face Griffin Canning (2-1, 6.38) on Wednesday night.
Minor league update: Dillon Tate allowed four runs on six hits and retired just one batter while Mychal Givens pitched a spotless 1 2/3 innings in their rehab assignments for Triple-A Norfolk in the Tides’ 9-7 win over Syracuse.
DL Hall pitched three innings, allowing two runs on two hits, walking one and striking out three.
Third baseman Josh Lester hit his 10th home run, and centerfielder Daz Cameron’s three-run home run in the ninth was the game-winner.
Catcher Mark Koloszvary hit a two-run home run in Double-A Bowie’s 4-3 win over Altoona.
Justin Armbreuster pitched six innings, allowing three unearned runs.
Shortstop Jackson Holliday drove in six runs and finished a single short of the cycle in High-A Aberdeen’s 8-7 loss to Winston-Salem in a game shortened by rain to five innings. Holliday’s batting average is .345, and his OPS is 1.093.
Charleston defeated Single-A Delmarva, 5-1. Shortstop Carter Young and rightfielder Elio Prado each had two hits.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions later this week. Please email yours to: [email protected]