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BALTIMORE—The Colorado Rockies had set a modern record by holding the lead in the sixth inning or later in six straight games and losing each of them. On Sunday, they held a 3-1 lead in the eighth against the Orioles, and despite losing the lead, regained it in the ninth.
The Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the Rockies before an announced crowd of 30,773 at Camden Yards broke their four-game winning streak and cut their lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East to two games after Tampa Bay beat the New York Yankees, 7-4.
Rockies starter Ty Blach, who had an 11.32 ERA in five starts with the Orioles in 2019, allowed just one run, on Cedric Mullins’ 12th home run in the fifth, on three hits in seven innings. Blach retired the first nine Orioles to face him before Adley Rutschman singled, Ryan Mountcastle walked and Anthony Santander singled to load the bases in the fourth.
Austin Hays grounded to third baseman Ryan McMahon, who stepped on third to force Mountcastle and threw home in time to get Rutschman.
“I wanted to get something to elevate there, but I grounded into that double play,” Hays said. “Felt like I killed some momentum.”
Blach didn’t look like the pitcher who allowed 13 walks in 20 2/3 innings for the Orioles four years ago.
“Give Ty credit. I thought he threw the ball real well,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Changed speeds, got the cutter and slider into our right-handers and the changeup away. We didn’t adjust very well. We had that one opportunity with bases loaded and nobody out and didn’t get anything out of that. He gave us fits changing speeds.”
After Mullins’ home run, Blach retired the final six Orioles (81-49) to face him.
“He stayed out of the middle of the plate today,” Hays said. “Used three different pitches to different parts of the zone. Got some calls. He just didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes today.”
Jake Bird relieved Blach to start the eighth, and walked Mullins with one out. Ryan O’Hearn hit a two-run, pinch-hit home run to tie it at 3.
It was O’Hearn’s 11th home run, and the Orioles’ first pinch-hit home run since Rutschman’s on July 16th, 2022 at Tampa Bay.
“O’Hearn hit that home run late, and we were like, ‘Here we go again. It seems like we always find a way,’” Hays said. “He comes off the bench and does it.”
In the top of the ninth, Hunter Goodman, who earlier singled and drove in a run in his first major league game, reached second when he grounded to shortstop Gunnar Henderson, whose wild throw on the infield single allowed Goodman to take second.
Goodman took third on Michael Toglia’s grounder to second against Yennier Cano (1-3) and scored on Elias Diaz’s tapper to third base.
“That’s four ground balls,” Hyde said. “Take your chances with some ground balls.”
Justin Lawrence (4-6) retired the four Orioles to face him.
Oriole starter Jack Flaherty, who was scratched from Wednesday’s start because of what Hyde had referred to as “general soreness,” bounced back, allowing three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“The extra days were good to get some things ironed out,” Flaherty said. “I felt good touching the mound on Friday and then throwing yesterday as opposed the way it did on Tuesday. Just progressively throughout the week got better. I felt like I didn’t have a very good bullpen pregame session, but as the game went on, I was able to execute pitches better and put the ball in good spots.”
Brendan Rodgers’ RBI single in the fourth, Toglia’s fourth home run in the fifth, and Goodman’s first major league hit, a run-scoring single in the sixth gave Colorado a 3-1 lead.
“A couple of two-strike pitches that could have been put in a lot better spots,” Flaherty said.
Austin Voth, who hadn’t pitched since June 13th, relieved Flaherty and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.
The game was halted for five minutes because a swarm of honey bees attacked Colorado leftfielder Nolan Jones in the top of the first, but the bees quickly left.
“We won the series. We had a chance to sweep today,” Hays said. “We would have liked to have done that. Overall, it was still a good series for us. We’ll try to come into this next series and do the same thing again.”
Notes: The Orioles open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Monday night. Grayson Rodriguez (3-3, 5.38) and Michael Kopech (5-11, 4.95) are scheduled to start on Monday. Dean Kremer (12-5, 4.31) and Jesse Scholtens (1-6, 4.15) will pitch on Tuesday, and Kyle Gibson (13-7, 4.89) and Dylan Cease (5-7, 4.87) are scheduled for Wednesday at 1:05 p.m.
Hyde on getting an extra reliever: The Orioles will add a 14th pitcher on Friday when the rosters expand from 26 to 28 players.
“It’s going to be a relief,” Hyde said. “It’s going to be one more, which is good. We’ve been short out of the bullpen for the last couple of weeks because of the six-man rotation, which is really helpful to our starters.
“There’s no doubt about it. Our rotation has done a good job of giving us some innings to help out with our bullpen. That’s gone extremely well. Let’s hope that continues. To add another guy to our bullpen, that’s always going to be helpful. I just wish we could have more.”
Minor league update: Second baseman Billy Cook drove in two runs and hit his 19th home run in Double-A Bowie’s 5-4 loss to Erie. Connor Gillispie threw five scoreless innings, allowing four hits.
Logan Rinehart, Yaqui Rivera (1-1) and Antonio Velez combined for six hitless innings in relief as High-A Aberdeen beat Hudson Valley, 4-2. First baseman Jacob Teter hit a two-run home run, his sixth.
Third baseman Anderson De Los Santos drove in all three runs for Single-A Delmarva in its 4-3 loss to Lynchburg.
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