What they're saying about the strange end to the game, Mateo's home run and Orioles' 8-6 win over White Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about the strange end to the game, Mateo’s home run and Orioles’ 8-6 win over White Sox

Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports


CHICAGO—What happened? Fresh off the end of their two-year streak of not being swept in a series, the Orioles had a potent offensive night against the Chicago White Sox, winning 8-6 on Thursday.

Ryan Mountcastle had the second four-hit game by an Oriole this season. Jorge Mateo hit a three-run home run, and Anthony Santander homered.

The Orioles had a six-run lead entering the ninth inning, but Jonathan Heasley, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, allowed four runs, and manager Brandon Hyde called on closer Craig Kimbrel with runners on first and second and one out.

Andrew Benintendi popped to shortstop Gunnar Henderson for the apparent second out, but Andrew Vaughn at second base was called out by third base umpire Junior Valentine for interfering with Henderson, ending the game.



“The ball was hit and infield fly was ruled on the play. [third base umpire] Junior [Valentine] came in with interference on Andrew Vaughn, the runner on second base. Actually the shortstop made contact with him, so with the interference, that’s an out. And you still have the infield fly, and that’s an out also,” crew chief Adrian Johnson told a pool reporter.

“So there doesn’t have to actually even be contact,” Valentine told the pool reporter. “If he hinders the fielder in the attempt to field a batted ball, intent is not required and it’s interference … If you see the interference, you call it.”

Hyde said he hadn’t gotten an explanation and he hadn’t seen a game end like that before.

“I saw the umpire point right to the runner with an interference call,” Hyde said. “With the infield fly [rule], there was a lot of confusion about it. We escaped there.”

How did the offense come alive? After their dreary performance in St. Louis, the Orioles had 13 hits and continued an interesting pattern. Twelve of the 16 runs scored in the first four games of the road trip belong to the bottom three hitters in the order.

“We swung the bat really well,” Hyde said. “A lot of guys that have been scuffling put some really good swings on the baseball tonight. I would have loved to see us tack on a little bit more, but I thought our offense was really good tonight.”

Mountcastle had been 2-for-25 until his four-hit night. He batted seventh for the first time since September 1st, 2022.

“The last couple of days have been good, made a couple of adjustments, did some early hitting and stuff like that, and felt pretty good,” Mountcastle said. “Definitely a big relief and hopefully we can keep it going.”

“It’s been a tough few days for him, and he swung the bat great,” Hyde said.

Besides the homer, Mateo walked twice and stole two bases.

“Truthfully, I feel really good. I feel really good because I’m able to contribute and go out there and help the team win,” Mateo said through an interpreter. “As long as I’m able to do that, I’m going to be happy.”

Why did Grayson Rodriguez struggle? Rodriguez had a career high five walks in five innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and struck out seven.

“That was nowhere near where I wanted to be,” Rodriguez said. “That was atrocious. I obviously wish I could have limited the walks there and pitched deeper in the ballgame and done a little bit better job of saving the bullpen.”

“Really a lack of fastball command,” Hyde said. “He just didn’t have his fastball command tonight.”

Why did Hyde need to use his closer? Danny Coulombe and Jacob Webb pitched scoreless innings and Heasley pitched a spotless eighth before issuing consecutive walks and two hits to begin the ninth. All four runners scored.

Yennier Cano hit Vaughn, and after Gavin Sheets singled, Zach DeLoach struck out, Kimbrel got the bizarre double play and his 427th career save.

“You’d expect with a six-run lead, you can try to finish it there without using a couple of guys and having three guys up that inning. I’m glad we won the game,” Hyde said.

What does Heasley think about being back? Heasley is back with the Orioles after a stint at  Norfolk.

“It’s always an exciting time, no matter how many times it’s happened,” he said before the game.

Heasley was 0-1 with a 12.46 earned-run average in three games with the Orioles last month and allowed just one run in 20 innings for Norfolk with an 0.45 ERA.

“I felt like I got into a good little rhythm,” he said. “Cleaned up some things I felt I needed to, just some small mechanical things, repeatable, making things a little more consistent.”

On Sunday, Heasley threw five scoreless innings for Norfolk.

“That’s why we got him back because of the ability to throw multiple innings for us,” Hyde said. “We felt like he was the right option to pick.”

What’s the latest on Tyler Wells? Wells remains in Sarasota. He’s on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation.

“He is starting to play catch this week,” Hyde said.

What’s the latest on Mike Baumann? Baumann, who was traded to Seattle on Wednesday night, retired two batters and walked two in his first game for the Mariners in a 5-0 loss to the Yankees. The Orioles thought they had no choice but to trade him because otherwise they would have lost him on waivers.

“I would have loved to have kept him, but we all thought that was a real slim chance,” Hyde said. “The numbers he’s posted the last couple of years and the stuff that he has. He want to a really good pitching organization in Seattle. I’m wishing him the best.”

What does it mean? While the umpires explained the controversial end to the pool reporter at the end of the game, they needed to communicate to the fans an explanation. Umpires now explain challenges, but also need to explain unusual plays, as they do in the NFL.

What’s the word? “I think we’re still playing our game. I don’t think there’s much pressure or anything. We went out there and did what we do. It was a great win tonight.”-Mountcastle on the Orioles’ offense

What’s the stat of the day? Mateo’s home run was hit 434 feet, the longest of his career. Just before the at-bat, Santander and Mateo were discussing White Sox starter Mike Clevinger’s pitching pattern.

“We were talking about how his heater was sinking a little bit today, so it wasn’t going as straight as usual,” Mateo said. “I was trying to stay on that sinker a little bit.

What’s going on in the minor leagues? Rightfielder Heston Kjerstad hit his 13th home run, second baseman Jackson Holliday hit his fifth and centerfielder Daniel Johnson hit his ninth as Norfolk beat Worcester. 6-3.

Trey McGough (1-0) made his Norfolk debut, allowing a run on a hit in 2 1/3 innings.

Samuel Basallo’s eighth-inning single drove in the go-ahead run as Double-A Bowie beat Richmond, 2-1. The Baysox had just two hits. Four Bowie pitchers combined to limit the Flying Squirrels to four hits. One of them, right-hander Carlos Tavera, was removed from the game with a right ankle injury.

Levi Wells, Preston Johnson and Ronald Guzman combined on a four-hit shutout as High-A Aberdeen beat Jersey Shore, 4-0.

Centerfielder Scott Etzel homered and leftfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. had two hits and stole two bases. Bradfield has 21 steals.

Aberdeen right-hander Teddy Sharkey had season-ending lumbar surgery on Wednesday.

Leftfielder Stiven Acevedo homered and drove in four runs in Single-A Delmarva’s 11-5 loss to Columbia.

What’s next? Corbin Burnes (4-2, 2.41) will face Chris Flexen (2-4, 5.48) on Friday night at 7:40 in the second game of the four-game series. The game will be shown exclusively on Apple TV+.

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

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