The Orioles followed their successful weekday series against the Tampa Bay Rays by winning two out of three games this past weekend against the Pirates at Camden Yards. As discussed below, it was an exciting and successful series for the Orioles, but Sunday's loss to the Pirates left fans wanting more.
1. Game 1: Orioles 6, Pirates 3
Simply put, Friday night was awesome. Looking sharp as always in the Friday night black jerseys, the Orioles rallied from a 2-1 seventh inning deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3. The highlight of the night was undoubtedly Cedric Mullins' cycle, the first of his career and the seventh since the Orioles moved to Baltimore in 1954. Despite Mullins' heroics, the Orioles trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, despite a strong start by Kyle Bradish.
But Mullins and Adley Rutschman connected on back to back doubles, and Ryan Mountcastle singled in Rutschman later in the inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, Mullins added much needed insurance, completing the cycle with a three-run blast to give the Orioles a 6-2 lead. The three runs were not just icing on the cake - they were necessary.
Austin Voth struggled in the ninth, allowing an RBI single to Pittsburgh's Jack Suwinski without recording an out. At that point, it became Mountain Time. When it's Mountain Time, you can expect strikeouts. Felix Bautista delivered, striking out Connor Joe (who homered earlier in the game), Rodolfo Castro, and Ji Hwan Bae (both of whom did not homer earlier in the game) to earn his ninth save.
The Orioles also debuted the "Birdbath" on Friday night, where a man called "Mr. Splash," donning scuba gear, water wings, and a pink raft, sprays fans with water after extra-base hits. This sounds like a lot of fun in May and the upcoming summer months, but I'd recommend bringing a poncho to Camden Yards when it gets cold in September and October.
2. Game 2: Orioles 2, Pirates 0.
The Orioles relied on a relatively simple formula on Saturday night to earn stand-in manager Fredi Gonzalez his first win of the season, while Brandon Hyde was in upstate New York celebrating his daughter's college graduation. "I’m just making sure that everything’s OK, nobody gets hurt, Hyder comes back tomorrow and I say, best-case scenario, Tyler Wells threw nine innings and the bullpen is fully rested. 'Go get ‘em,’” Gonzalez said before the game.
Not quite, but close enough. Wells threw seven scoreless innings, aided by an incredible, leaping catch by Anthony Santander to rob Miguel Andujar in the seventh. Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista finished the game off to preserve the 2-0 shutout. The shutout featured solo home runs from Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, more waterworks from the birdbath, and the continued scoreless streak of Yennier Cano. It also put the Orioles 13 games over .500, their high watermark for the season.
3. Game 3: Pirates 4, Orioles 0.
The Pirates salvaged the final game of the three game series, defeating Kyle Gibson and the Orioles 4-0 on Mother's Day Sunday. Pittsburgh righthander Mitch Keller was dominant, throwing seven scoreless innings and racking up 13 strikeouts. Ji Hwan Bae capped a three-run third inning with a two-run single to put Pittsburgh ahead 4-0, which was the final score.
Kyle Gibson was not at his best on Sunday, gutting out 5 innings and allowing 4 runs. The Orioles had a few chances in the game but could not push a run across. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Gunnar Henderson doubled into the right field corner (the only birdbath spray of the day) chasing Cedric Mullins to third. But Ryan Mountcastle struck out on three pitches to snuff the rally. The Orioles did not sweep Pittsburgh, but will take a stout 26-14 record into Monday's series opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim