What they're saying about Rutschman's home runs, Burnes' start and Orioles' 3-2 loss to Blue Jays - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Rutschman’s home runs, Burnes’ start and Orioles’ 3-2 loss to Blue Jays

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE—What happened? Adley Rutschman hit two home runs, but the Orioles had just one other hit in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

Rutschman homered in the fourth and sixth innings, his first two-homer game. The only other Oriole hit was a first-inning single by Ryan O’Hearn.

Oriole starter Corbin Burnes allowed one run on six hits in six innings. In the eighth, Yennier Cano allowed a home run to Daulton Varsho, who took away a home run from O’Hearn following Rutschman’s in the fourth by snatching O’Hearn’s drive as it was headed over the center-field fence.

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Varsho’s ground ball in the 10th scored the winning run.

“Their record isn’t toward the top like ours is and some other teams are, but that’s a tough team,” Burnes said. “Every [at-bat] felt like a tough out … Kind of what you sign up for when you play in division games.”

The Orioles have lost two straight for the third time this season and for the first time since April 13th.

How did Burnes feel about his start? In Burnes’ last four starts, he’s gone six innings three times and 6 1/3 once. He threw 85 pitches, his second fewest of the season.

“Eighty-five pretty stressful pitches tonight,” Burnes said. “I felt like every inning we were kind of grinding through it. They were tough outs from the very first outs of the game. Would I have liked to go farther? Yeah, but I was at the point where I was fatigued.”

Burnes pointed to a nine-pitch strikeout to Alejandro Kirk to end the fourth.

“I felt like after that, I was kind of struggling to catch my breath, and the fatigue just set in a lot faster than it has been. That’s just due to a little more traffic, a lot more stress innings, but I was still pleased to get through six.”

“After the sixth inning, he felt like he emptied the tank there,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “The bottom line is we didn’t score enough runs.” 

The Orioles have scored just four runs in Burnes’ last four starts, two losses and two no-decisions.

“That’s what he does. He’s kept us in every game that he’s pitched,” Hyde said. “At some point, it’s going to turn, and we’re going to score some runs for him.”

“He looked amazing,” Rutschman said. “He’s been impressive all year. I thought he was able to locate his stuff well and do a really good job tonight.”

What did Rutschman think of his first two-homer game? “I’d rather win,” Rutschman said. “I think everyone is just focused on the team stuff. Obviously, the individual stuff is always great. I think everyone here is just focused on the next day.”

Rutschman’s home runs came against José Berrios, who’s 10-1 against the Orioles. Rutschman is 12-for-19 (.632) against him.

“I take the same approach that I always do.” Rutschman said. “Get my swing off on good pitches. I was able to do that two times tonight.”

How was the bullpen? The Orioles’ bullpen allowed two hits in four innings. One was Varsho’s homer. The other was Ernie Clements’ bunt single that moved automatic runner Cavan Biggio to third.

Craig Kimbrel worked a spotless seventh, striking out two. He has three hitless innings since being removed as the team’s closer.

“That’s three in a row of him looking really, really sharp,” Hyde said. “That’s a great sign. We’ve been pitching well out of the bullpen this year. We just gave up a homer there. Our bullpen’s done a nice job.”

How does Stowers feel about being back? The Orioles recalled outfielder Kyle Stowers from Triple-A Norfolk, optioned Heston Kjerstad to Norfolk activated Austin Hays from the 10-day injured list and designated Ryan McKenna for assignment before Monday’s game.

“I’m getting better at hitting different types of pitches,” Stowers said. “If you look at the homers this year, it’s been some on fastballs, some on breaking balls, some on changeups. I’m getting a good barrel on different pitches.

“I feel ready. I feel ready to help this team win, whatever my role is, whatever I’m called to do, just go out there and give it my all, have a good time and play with a lot of gratitude.”

Stowers’ promotion came after earlier ones to Kjerstad and Jackson Holliday.

“I’m so happy for those guys, guys who are so deserving, so talented,” Stowers said. “As their friend, I’m super happy. Obviously, I want to be here, too. I want to compete at this level. I don’t want to say disappointing or frustrated or anything like that.

“You look at this clubhouse, it’s a fun group to be around.  A lot of guys I came up with. It’s just a culture you want to be a part of, the team’s winning. What else would you want to do in this game but being on a team going on a playoff push, hopefully this year the World Series.”

What are the plans for Rodriguez? Hyde said that Grayson Rodriguez, who’s on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, is close to coming back.

“He’s got one more side [session], and then he’s getting close,” Hyde said. “There’s no ‘for sure’ date back. He’s getting close.” Hyde said it was possible Rodriguez could pitch this weekend. 

What’s the word?  “I think anyone who’s gotten a taste of the big leagues, this is where you want to be. When you’re not here, you do everything you can to get back.”-Stowers on returning to the Orioles.

What does it mean? Kjerstad was sent down after hitting 2-for-14 (.143) in seven games. He needs consistent at-bats, and he’ll get them at Norfolk. Stowers, who’s had more major league experience, can probably react better to irregular play than Kjerstad.

What’s the stat of the day? Cedric Mullins was hitless in his four at-bats and made the last out of the game on a first-pitch ground ball. He’s 0-for-14 and 5-for-57 and hitting just .185.

What’s next? Kyle Bradish (0-0, 1.86) will make his third start of the season against Toronto’s Chris Bassitt (3-5, 5.06) on Tuesday night at 6:35 at Camden Yards.

Call for questions: Each weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles’ question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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