What they're saying about Rutschman's pinch-hit, Orioles' defense and 6-4 win over White Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Rutschman’s pinch-hit, Orioles’ defense and 6-4 win over White Sox

Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports


CHICAGO—What happened? Adley Rutschman’s two-run pinch-hit single in the eighth inning gave the Orioles a 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

Rutschman had been given the night off since he was going to play in three consecutive day games, manager Brandon Hyde said.

“Especially with close games like that you never know when you’re going to get called on,” Rutschman said. “Just try to stay as ready as you can.”

Rutschman faced Michael Kopech, who came into the game with Ryan O’Hearn on second and Anthony Santander on first and two outs.



“You’re not playing in the game. You get that adrenaline rush when you step in there for the first time,” Rutschman said. “Big situation usually. Trying to ease your mind a little bit and prepare as much as you can in the cage so you’re relaxed as possible going in there.

“Trying to get a pitch over the middle that I can do damage on. Trying to stay locked in and see what I can make happen.”

Leftfielder Andrew Benintendi tried to make a diving catch, but he could only trap the ball in his glove.

“To be able to get on top of a fastball like that shows you how special of a player he is,” Hyde said.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson hit a two-run home run, his 17th, and Jordan Westburg and Ryan Mountcastle had run-scoring doubles.

How good was the Orioles’ defense? Colton Cowser leaped and caught Tommy Pham’s drive to center, taking away a home run for the game’s final out, to preserve Craig Kimbrel’s 428th save, which ties him with Boston’s Kenley Jansen for fifth place on the all-time saves list.

“Everyone was ecstatic,” Rutschman said. “You see him go up and everyone knows it’s going to be kind of a close play. I loved the fact that he was miked up for that, so I can’t wait to hear what it comes out as.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing the replay on that,” Hyde said. “I kind of got blocked on that. Colton’s a great athlete.”

In the fourth inning, second baseman Jorge Mateo made an excellent stop on Korey Lee’s grounder, holding him to a single and preventing Andrew Vaughn from scoring. In the ninth, he made a fine play on Nicky Lopez’s grounder for the second out.

“How about Mateo’s play?” Hyde said. “Two plays — the play to save the run in the four-hole deep, the angle he took and the speed to be able to get to the ball and not having the run score, and that play in the ninth inning, he made that look much easier than it was.”

How bad was the weather? The Orioles have had weather delays in four of their last seven games. The start of Friday’s game was delayed 41 minutes by the threat of rain, and the teams played through rain in the last three innings.

“It’s a tough team,” Hyde said. “We’re used to playing in tough conditions. Tonight’s rain was annoying. It’s not easy to hit. It’s not easy to keep your spikes clean. I think our team shows a lot of toughness. We’ve gotten tougher over the last few years because of the environments we play and the games we’ve played in. That was a fun dugout tonight.”

“I feel like our guys are kind of getting used to it now,” Rutschman said. “You deal with it, and I think our guys are mentally tough. They do a good job of staying in it and not letting it affect them. Definitely not ideal.”

How did Burnes pitch? Corbin Burnes allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six.

“I think we did a good job early on of trying to keep them off balance and getting some weak contact,” Burnes said. “I think we did a good job of limiting hard contact on pitches when I needed to.”

Burnes allowed three runs in the fifth after the Orioles had taken a 4-0 lead. “Unfortunately in the fifth inning, we got a little too predictable. A couple of knocks led to the runs there.”

How hectic was the week for Vespi? On Wednesday, left-hander Nick Vespi took a flight from Boston to St. Louis to serve as the 27th man for a game that was played after Tuesday night’s game was suspended by rain. He threw a scoreless inning and returned to Triple-A Norfolk, which was playing in Worcester. He returned to the Orioles on Friday.

Starting pitcher Dean Kremer was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right triceps strain. Jonathan Heasley was optioned to Norfolk after allowing four runs in the ninth in Thursday’s 8-6 win, and Vespi and Dillon Tate returned to the Orioles.

“I try not to focus on the whole travel thing and going up and down,” Vespi said. “I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can up here. If I’ve got to get on a flight at 4 a.m., I’ll do it. Whatever it takes to get up here and get the opportunity to be able to show this team that I can stick.”

Is Irvin ready to return to rotation? Cole Irvin will presumably replace John Means in the starting rotation. Means is on the 15-day injured list with a strained left forearm. Irvin had been pitching well in the starting rotation before being shifted to the bullpen.

“We’ve got a long season. You can never predict what’s going to happen,” Irvin said. “You’ve got a lot of guys here that can get the job done. It’s a good problem to have when you have a lot of solid pitching.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re down two guys this week. At the end of the day, we’ve still got a job to do. We still have a goal in mind. At some point, we’re going to be healthy again. Hold the torch until you need to pass it.”

What does it mean? The Orioles have played in tough conditions, cold in Pittsburgh and Boston last month, rain, and several lengthy rain delays this week. Powering through those games can only help.

What’s the word? “Got a lot of travel points. It’s good. I’m here. That’s the end goal.”-Vespi on his hectic week

What’s the stat of the day? Henderson became the third player in Orioles history to hit 17 home runs in their first 49 games. Brady Anderson, who had 20 home runs in 1996, and Frank Robinson, with 17 in 1967, were the others.

What’s going on in the minor leagues? Shortstop Terrin Vavra hit a grand slam and drove in five runs as Norfolk beat Worcester, 9-5. Second baseman Jackson Holliday and centerfielder Billy Cook had two hits.

Double-A Bowie starter Alex Pham allowed nine runs on seven hits, walking five in four innings in the Baysox’s 17-10 loss to Richmond.

Catcher Samuel Basallo hit a three-run home run, his seventh. Designated hitter Silas Ardoin hit a three-run homer and drove in four.

Centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. had three hits, and second baseman Tavian Josenberger drove in two runs as High-A Aberdeen lost to Jersey Shore, 9-5. Aberdeen right-hander Moises Chace  (1-1) was removed from the game after he collided with a baserunner, taken to a local hospital. CT scans were negative for concussion and fractures and he was released from the hospital this morning.

Kevin Guerrero’s 10th-inning single scored the winning run in Single-A Delmarva’s 1-0 win over Columbia. Trey Gibson, Jacob Cravey, Harif Frias and Isaac Solano combined on a six-hit shutout.

Right-handed pitcher Nathan Webb, who was in spring training with the Orioles, had surgery to repair a rupture in his left Achilles’ tendon.

What’s next? Albert Suárez (2-0, 1.78) will replace Kremer and face Erick Fedde (4-1, 3.10) when the Orioles play the White Sox at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday.

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

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