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PHILADELPHIA—The Orioles proved that there was no letdown after their emotional series at Tampa Bay where they won three of four against the Rays to take a two-game lead in the American League East.
Colton Cowser’s ninth-inning double scored Gunnar Henderson, and the Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-2, before a sellout crowd of 44,045 at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.
The Orioles (62-38) increased their lead to 2 ½ games over the Rays, who didn’t play.
Henderson walked with one out against Phillies reliever Craig Kimbrel (6-2). Henderson advanced to second on a wild pitch by Kimbrel, went to third on Ryan O’Hearn’s ground ball to second, and scored on Cowser’s double down the left-field line that eluded a diving Kyle Schwarber.
With the Orioles’ top relievers, Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista, unavailable, Cionel Pérez allowed a two-out single to Alec Bohm and walked J.T. Realmuto before Johan Rojas grounded into a force. It was Pérez’s first save of the season.
“I was going to ride Pérez until we won or lost,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He got through it. We can’t pitch Cano and Bautista every single night. Pérez got through it tonight.”
Jordan Westburg hit his first major league home run to right field in the second inning against Phillies starter Christopher Sánchez.
“I’ve been waiting for it for a while,” Westburg said. He’s been in the major leagues for exactly four weeks.
“It’s been a lot. It’s been a lot of things,” Westburg said. “There’s been some emotional ups and downs for me. I feel like I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself in the opportunities that I’ve been getting. It’s just hard to play that way, so it’s been fun, first and foremost. It’s been awesome.
“This is something I’ve always dreamed about doing. I couldn’t be happier to be part of this club, couldn’t be happier to be part of a winning club. I’m trying to play my role right. I’m trying to give up a little bit of myself for the betterment of the team, the betterment of the organization. I’m looking forward to what that brings in the future.”
Ryan Mountcastle hit his 12th homer, and his first since May 24th, to center field, a shot measured at 451 feet, leading off the sixth, giving the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
“We had two good swings against [Sánchez],” Hyde said. “Besides that, we were really empty offensively.’
Centerfielder Aaron Hicks left the game in the bottom of the third as he dove and appeared to make a spectacular catch of Rojas’ line drive. Replays showed the ball falling out of Hicks’ glove, but he was called out by second base umpire Dan Merzel.
“We’re hoping that it’s a cramp in the hamstring. It’s going to be reevaluated [Tuesday],” Hyde said. “It could be a strain. It could be a cramp. We’re going to get it checked out and make a decision on it.”
Hicks, who was replaced by Cowser, was diagnosed with a left hamstring cramp.
Philadelphia (53-47) tied the scored on a sacrifice fly by Schwarber in the fifth, which brought home Garrett Stubbs.
Trea Turner, who signed an 11-year, $300 million contract last December, made two errors in the first five innings and was ejected by home plate umpire Will Little after he objected to a called third strike to end the fifth.
It was the 10th quality start for Dean Kremer ,who allowed a run on three hits in seven innings, walked two and struck out three.
“We’re in every game,” Kremer said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”
Rojas singled and stole second against Danny Coulombe, who started the eighth. Schwarber walked, and Edmundo Sosa lined into a double play. Bryce Harper singled, and Bryan Baker (4-3) allowed a single to Nick Castellanos that scored Schwarber, but Harper was thrown out trying to score, ending the eighth in a 2-2 tie. Cowser threw to Jorge Mateo at short, who threw home to James McCann.
“The ball was hit to my right,” Cowser said. “I was trying to get it in, something that Jorge could handle. He had a great pick. I short-hopped him. The coach was sending him [Harper] all the way. It ended up being a really close play, but I’m glad we got him.”
The Orioles are 19-9 in one-run games.
“I feel like we’ve played quite a bit of these types of games, so our guys are used to craziness in the last few innings,” Hyde said.
Notes: Kyle Gibson (9-6, 4.76), who was presented with his National League Championship ring on the field before the game, will start against Taijuan Walker (11-4, 4.11) on Tuesday night at 6:40. … MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported the Orioles are among the teams that have inquired about the availability of the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani. The trade deadline is August 1st at 4 p.m.
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