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BALTIMORE—The 2023 season reached its mathematical midpoint on Saturday, and the Orioles are 48-33, which would translate to 96 wins.
That’s the good news.
Until now, the Orioles hadn’t lost four straight games this season. Their 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins before an announced crowd of 40,012 at Oriole Park was their fourth in a row. On this homestand, they’ve lost consecutive series to Cincinnati and Minnesota (42-42) after winning two of three against Seattle.
The Orioles had just three hits and were shut out for the sixth time.
Oriole starting pitcher Kyle Bradish (4-4) allowed one run, Joey Gallo’s 15th home run, a 439-foot shot to right, on seven hits in six innings.
“I gave up that solo shot to Gallo, and that was the difference in the game,” Bradish said. “I think we’re a really good team, so hard luck, no, just part of it.”
Bradish had runners on in every inning but the fifth.
He was helped out by a spectacular play by leftfielder Austin Hays in the third. With Carlos Correa on first and one out, Byron Buxton his a line drive to left that Hays ran after, dove and caught for the second out. The play looked bigger when the next batter, Alex Kiriloff, singled. Royce Lewis grounded out for the third out and left the game because of a left oblique injury.
In the sixth, with Farmer at second and two outs, Christian Vazquez grounded to third baseman Jordan Westburg, but Farmer interfered with Westburg’s attempt to field it, and Farmer was called out, ending the inning.
“I thought it was a really well-pitched game, both ends, but Ober was a little bit better,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We didn’t have many hard-hit balls. Just really kept us off-balance with really good command.”
Twins starter Bailey Ober allowed just two hits in seven inings, a one-out single by Gunnar Henderson in the second and a leadoff single by Anthony Santander in the seventh. Ober (5-4) struck out eight and hit a batter.
Griffin Jax pitched a perfect eighth. After Adley Rutschman reached on an infield single against Jhoan Duran with one out in the ninth, Jorge Mateo ran for him. He was called out on an attempted steal of second but was ruled safe after a challenge.
Rightfielder Max Kepler made a diving catch on Santander’s foul in the right field corner for the second out. Ryan O’Hearn bounced out to first, and Duran had his 12th save.
“They have some really nice arms in their bullpen,” Hyde said. “It’s tough when we’re behind those guys. We had a runner there in scoring position in the ninth … We didn’t have enough offense today and they had a solo homer.”
The Orioles have just one run in their last two games. O’Hearn is 2-for-23 on this homestand. Aaron Hicks is 2-for-21 on the homestand, and Cedric Mullins is hitless in his last 11 at-bats.
“I think this team is really capable of doing a lot of great things,” Mullins said. “We’ve kind of shown that already this year. A four-game losing streak, I don’t think it worries us too much. Come back and compete the next day.”
Notes: The Orioles’ four-game losing streak is the longest in a year. They last lost four straight from June 28th-July 2nd, 2022. … Rutschman threw out Michael A. Taylor trying to steal in the seventh, snapping a string of 13 successful steal attempts against him. … The Orioles purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Chris Vallimont from Triple-A Norfolk. Vallimont is with the Orioles in case they need a long reliever. He’s 2-5 with a 5/02 ERA in 14 games with Norfolk. Bruce Zimmermann, who pitched two innings on Friday night, was optioned to the Tides. To make room for Vallimont on the 40-man roster, the Orioles transferred right-hander Mychal Givens to the 60-day injured list. … Cole Irvin (1-3, 7.18) will face Sonny Gray (4-2, 2.67) on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. The game will be shown exclusively on Peacock. … The crowd was the second largest of the season.
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