Peter Schmuck: Bradish, Santander carry Orioles to another bounce-back series win - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Peter Schmuck: Bradish, Santander carry Orioles to another bounce-back series win

Photo Credit: Reggie Hildred USA TODAY Sports

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By the end of another high-suspense victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde wasn’t terribly interested in reflecting on the 13-1 loss Friday that opened the three-game series at Oriole Park on a very sour note.

The O’s have made a habit of shaking off the occasional embarrassing defeat and coming back with tight, clutch performances to pile up series victories and hold their place among the winningest teams in the sport. So Hyde reminded everyone after the 3-2 win that this kind of thing is old news.

“Those nights happen,’’ Hyde said during his postgame press conference. “I think people don’t understand the way Major League Baseball works. It’s not football where it’s once a week and you’re getting blown out. Things happen in a game and sometimes you get beat by a lot of runs. Our guys and major league players in general don’t really let that carry over – the good ones. It’s about the next day’s starting pitcher and it’s about continuing to play and you’re going to have bad games.

“I’d like to have some of those on the other end for us. Feels like it’s 2-2 in the sixth inning 95 percent of our games. I guess the entertainment value is high when it’s 2-2 in the sixth every night, but yes, I think our guys have played so many close games the last two years, I think they’re used to it.”

Indeed, those kinds of games lend themselves to big plays and magic moments, like the leaping catch that Anthony Santander made to rob Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez of a home run in the top of the first inning on Sunday. Santander chased down the towering fly ball and went full-arm over the roof of the groundskeeper shed to help starting pitcher Kyle Bradish get off to a good start on the way to one of the best performances of his young career.

It was a highlight-reel play for Santander, who would also hit another big-game home run a couple of innings later and Bradish also claimed it as one of the highlights of a game in which he allowed just two hits over seven innings and retired 13 or the last 14 batters he faced.

“That was almost the highlight of my game right there,” Bradish said. “He (Santander) had a great game but just to have that in the first inning kind of fired me up.”

The only smudge on what Hyde rated as the second-best start of Bradish’s career was a long two-run homer off the bat of Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh in the second inning – but Santander came through with another assist with his two-run game-tying home run in the third. He was asked afterward which was the bigger moment, the catch or the scorched line drive onto the flag court – his fifth home run in the last six games.

“It depends,’’ Santander said. “I would say the first one is good because I was able to keep the score at zero for my pitcher so he can do his stuff, and the homer tied the game, which was awesome to come through in that situation.”

The game actually was decided, however, on a shallow fly ball off the bat of fill-in catcher Anthony Benboom in the fifth that landed near the right foul line and was inadvertently kicked into the right-field corner as Seattle second baseman Jose Caballero tried to make an over the shoulder catch. Jorge Mateo circled the bases after accepting a one-out walk to break the tie. Bradish and relievers Danny Coulombe and Félix Bautista did the rest.

Benboom became the latest injury replacement to come up big as the Orioles have managed to stay on course in spite of losing several key players – most notably first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, catcher James McCann and recently reactivated Cedric Mullins – to the injured list.

The Orioles also have gotten big offensive contributions from veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks and Ryan O’Hearn, but Hyde seemed more pleased with Benboom’s performance behind the plate.

“For me that’s the No. 1 job,’’ he said. “His job today was to control the game and for me that’s a Kyle Bradish/Anthony Benboom two-hit, seven innings and hold onto that foul tip in the ninth inning. The way he  controls the game is really impressive, especially for someone who’s not back there all the time. He can throw. He receives really well. He caught the shutout in Texas in his other start.”

That other start was the game in which Tyler Wells delivered five innings of no-hit relief after Bradish was hit on the shin by a sharp comebacker.

“So he’s caught two really tough wins and done an incredible job behind the plate,’’ Hyde said.

Bradish echoed his manager’s comments about the way the Orioles have been able to shake off tough losses this season.

“I think it just shows that as a team, we don’t let a loss like that or any loss really affect us,’’ he said. “We know we’ve still got a lot more games to play. One less, it hurts, but you’ve got to move on.”

Notes: According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Orioles are recalling infielder Jordan Westburg from Triple-A Norfolk. … Right-handed pitcher Reed Garrett was claimed off waivers by the New York Mets. … The Orioles open a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night. Cole Irvin (1-3, 7.71) will face Brandon Williamson (1-0, 5.40).

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