What they're saying about Rutschman's homer, Orioles' sweepless streak and 3-2 win over Blue Jays - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Rutschman’s homer, Orioles’ sweepless streak and 3-2 win over Blue Jays

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE—What happened? Ever since Adley Rutschman joined the Orioles on May 21st, 2022, he’s never seen his team suffer a regular-season sweep.

With the Orioles down by a run in the ninth inning after wasting scoring opportunities in the seventh and eighth, Rutschman’s home run that just cleared the wall in right field scored Jordan Westburg and prevented a sweep for the first time in exactly two years. The dramatic 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday extended the Orioles’ regular-season sweepless streak to 105.

Entering the ninth, the Orioles were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and had left 11 runners on base. They were on the verge of not only being swept for the first time since May 13th-15th, 2022 but losing three straight games for the first time this season.

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“You normally don’t win games like that when you leave that many guys on base and have that many scoring opportunities, but we did because of our pitching today,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

Rutschman has homered four times in three straight games.

“Adley’s having a nice stretch of hitting right now and put a great swing on a tough closer,” Hyde said about Rutschman’s home run against Jordan Romano.

“I was running out of the box, I got around the bases pretty quick,” Rutschman said. “It snuck out.”

What did Rutschman think of the home run that preserved the sweepless streak? While the rest of the offense has cooled, Rutschman has heated up. He’s hitting .314 with an .859 OPS.

“It feels good to win,” he said. “Our guys are really resilient. They have been all year. I think it’s always the next guy up, and we never think we’re out of it.”

This was the Orioles’ 12th comeback win and their third game-winning home run.

“I think it says a lot about our team,” Rutschman said. “It’s always guys just picking each other up, continuing to progress and having each other’s backs. It’s a fun group to be part of. Guys bring it every single day.”

Rutschman and his teammates are aware of the sweepless streak

“I think we take every game pitch-by-pitch. We try to compartmentalize stuff,” he said. “I think we’re focused on the long-term picture and getting where we want to be, but I think it’s a cool testament to our team.”

What was going on with Anthony Santander and Austin Hays? Santander left the game with a bruised right knee, which doesn’t appear to be serious.

Santander bruised his knee when he hit the right field wall trying to catch Bo Bichette’s two-run double in the third inning. He aggravated it when he slid headfirst into second in the top of the eighth and was taken out of the game after he was called out at the plate on another headfirst slide on a bunt by James McCann with two strikes.

“It sounded like it got progressively worse when he slid into second on that squibber double that we caught a break on .. and even more so on the slide to the plate,” Hyde said.

With runners on first and third, McCann tried to bunt throughout his at-bat and bounced to Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who threw home for the out.

“I think that was his strategy,” Hyde said. “I had it on early, and then I took it off, and then Mac wanted to try to get then run scored, but I don’t think he knew, and I didn’t know at the time, that Santander’s knee blew up on the slide at second base. It was a little bit of a surprise for everybody. Almost a heck of a play. He’s a total team guy, but he’s trying to get the run in any way he can.”

Hays, who hadn’t played since April 20th because of a strained left calf, doubled as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and was removed for pinch-runner Kyle Stowers.

“He’s still got lingering effects there in the calf,” Hyde said. “When he was activated [on Monday] that morning there was some soreness. That’s why he didn’t start today [against left-hander Yusei Kikuchi] , and we wanted to give him an extra day, and today was a little bit sore, but better. With an offday tomorrow, hopefully, he’s ready to go after the offday.”

How was Kyle Bradish’s performance? In his third start since returning from the injured list, Bradish allowed two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out three. He threw 85 pitches.

“They did a good job fouling a lot of good pitches off, but I’ve got to work on getting deeper into games and creating early contact and early outs,” Bradish said.

“I thought Kyle Bradish really battled through four innings,” Hyde said. “I thought they did a great job fouling off a bunch of pitches, but he got through four innings and he only gave up a couple of runs. The bullpen was absolutely fantastic and won us the game.”

Jacob Webb, Cionel Pérez, Mike Baumann and Danny Coulombe combined for five shutout innings, allowing one hit and walking four.

Had the Orioles taken the lead in the eighth, Craig Kimbrel would have had the opportunity for a save.

What did Bradish think of the Orioles’ offense? “It’s tough to hold this offense down,” he said. “They did a good job early. It was only a matter of time before we got some runners across.”

In his previous start on May 8th, Bradish allowed a run on four hits in five innings and watched as the Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals, 7-6, in 12 innings. Two straight thrilling wins.

“When we’re winning, it’s great to watch, no matter where I’m at, whether I’m in the dugout or inside,” he said. “No matter what happens, they’re exciting wins.”

How did Jordan Westburg do as a leadoff hitter? Westburg hit a leadoff home run. In the Orioles’ first 40 games, Gunnar Henderson had led off. Hyde knows what he likes in a leadoff hitter.

“High on base with some speed, contact, a guy that can put the ball in play, a guy that works an at-bat, keeps an at-bat alive,” he said. “They’re hard to find, the ideal leadoff hitter. We have a bunch of good hitters that can hit leadoff. Combine a little bit of everything, high OPS, high on-base with some speed, that would be ideal.”

Three right-handers are scheduled to pitch for Seattle, so Hyde said that Henderson will resume leading off.

What’s the word? “We don’t make it easy on ourselves sometimes, and we’d like to start cashing in some of these runs and getting some leads and not play so many of these types of games.”-Hyde on the Orioles’ struggling offense

What does it mean? The Orioles also extended their streak of not having lost a series to an American League East team to 17, the longest in team history since division play began in 1969.

What’s the stat of the day? 105. With the win, the Orioles are tied with the 1903-1905 New York Giants for third place with 105 sweepless series.

What’s going on in the minor leagues? Five Double-A Bowie pitchers combined on a shutout in the Baysox’s 4-0 win over Binghamton. Trace Bright started and allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Third baseman Collin Burns homered.

Triple-A Norfolk was swept by Lehigh Valley, 4-3 and 5-3. Heston Kjerstad homered in Game 1.

High-A Aberdeen’s game at Wilmington was rained out.

Triple-A left-hander Andrew Suárez, who’s no relation to Orioles right-hander Albert Suárez, was released from his Triple-A Norfolk contract.

Single-A Delmarva outfielder Braylin Tavera was placed on the injured list with a right shoulder sprain.

What’s next? The Orioles have an offday on Thursday. The Seattle Mariners play three games here this weekend. Bryce Miller (3-3, 2.86) will start for the Mariners on Friday night at 7:05. The Orioles have yet to name their starter.

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

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