CHICAGO—The Orioles haven’t been swept this season, and after losing a one-run game to the Chicago Cubs, must win on Sunday to prevent their first sweep since May 2022. They’ve lost their last two road series.
The Cubs got only four hits but managed to score three runs in a 3-2 win over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 40,605 at Wrigley Field on Saturday.
Oriole starting pitcher Kyle Gibson retired the first seven batters he faced and thought he’d struck out the eighth, Yan Gomes, but threw a wild pitch, allowing Gomes to reach first. With two outs, Mike Tauchman walked, and two runs scored on Nico Hoerner’s double.
“Obviously, it ended up turning into two runs,” Gibson said. “A tough bounce there. Who knows what that inning would have been like? Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”
Adley Rutschman hit his 10th home run against Justin Steele (7-2) in the fifth. The two-run home run tied it at 2.
The Orioles could have led, but, in the fourth, with Gunnar Henderson on first with a single and two outs, Aaron Hicks’ hit caromed off the wall in short left directly to Ian Happ, whose throw held Hicks at first and Henderson at third. James McCann hit into a force play to end the inning.
“That was a run, too. We didn’t have the breaks go our way,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I rarely have seen the ball carom like that. The ball goes in the corner, that’s a run, some unfortunate things.”
Gomes led off the fifth with a double and moved to third on a bunt by Miles Mastrobuoni. He scored on Tauchman’s sacrifice fly, and the Cubs led, 3-2.
Gibson (8-4) allowed three runs on three hits in six innings, his eighth quality start in his first appearance at Wrigley Field. Oriole starters haven’t allowed more than three runs in nine straight starts and 18 of 19.
“I think our guys continue to learn, get better and are able to make adjustments on the fly and they’re just really competitive when they go out there,” Rutschman said.
The Orioles had runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth, but Jorge Mateo flied to left. They had runners on first and second in the seventh before Anthony Santander was called out on strikes and Gunnar Henderson grounded to second.
“Just a frustrating game offensively,” Hyde said.
James McCann turned an ankle running to first base in the second inning but remained in the game until he was pinch-hit for in the sixth. He’s day-to-day. If the Orioles decide they need another catcher, José Godoy, who was recently acquired from the New York Yankees, is with the team on the taxi squad.
Mark Leiter Jr. and Adbert Alzolay, who picked up his fourth save, registered the final eight outs. Alzolay walked Austin Hays with two outs in the ninth before Rutschman grounded to second for the final out.
“I think we’re playing really well,” Gibson said. “We haven’t gotten a couple of hits here and there, haven’t put up a zero here and there. Except for the game yesterday, it feels like they’ve mostly been pretty close. Kind of the story of our year. We’ve been playing really good ball. You’ll take your chances on the road in a pretty fun environment to play in. If you’re playing solid baseball on both sides, you’ll take your chances.”
Notes: DL Hall, who’s on Triple-A Norfolk’s roster, is going to Sarasota to intensify a deliberate physical training phase while also continuing to keep his arm going in back field and live game situations. … Right-hander Spenser Watkins was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk while right-hander Reed Garrett was optioned to the Tides after Friday’s game. Watkins was recalled in April for three games when the Orioles were also playing in Chicago against the White Sox in April but wasn’t used. … Hyde said first baseman Ryan Mountcastle who’s on the 10-day injured list with vertigo, continues to be monitored. He’s taking batting and fielding practice. “We’re reevaluating every day to see what we’re going to do,” he said. Hyde said he hit a few balls on Waveland Avenue, above the left-field stands. “Hopefully, he does that again today and feels good. We’ll reassess it.” … Cedric Mullins continues to work out in Sarasota. He’s on the 10-day injured list with a strained right groin. “Baseball activity in Florida, going really, really well,” Hyde said. There’s no timeline. “He’s still doing the running progression. He’s running well right now, so making positive steps every day…It’s all good news,” Hyde said. Mullins could see the team when the Orioles play at Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday. … Reliever Dillon Tate’s next rehab appearance was moved to Sunday because the Tides had their Friday game rained out. … Dean Kremer (7-3, 4.74) will face Jameson Taillon (2-4, 6.70) on Sunday. Game time is 1:05 p.m., and it will be only available on Peacock.
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