The Baltimore Orioles travelled to Phoenix on Friday for the beginning of a six-game trip out west. Despite a disappointing first game, the Birds came back to win the final two games and top Arizona in the desert. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay dropped two out of three against Cleveland, allowing Brandon Hyde's ballclub to grow their lead in the AL East.
Orioles continue winning ways as team wins road series
Game 1: An opening loss
Cole Irving took the mound on Friday night, and his uninspiring performance earned him his fourth loss of the year. Four runs in five and two-thirds and a lack of sufficient run support had the Orioles trailing from the bottom of the 1st inning through the rest of the game. Joey Krehbiel and Shintaro Fujinami came out of the pen to each pitch an inning of two-strikeout baseball.
Ryan O'Hearn and Gunnar Henderson provided the little spark the lineup could muster. Each had two hits, with Henderson scoring both runs, and O'Hearn getting the RBIs. Despite their 4-2 loss, though, the Rays fell to Cleveland, and Birdland was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Game 2: Great pitching and a big 4th inning
Kyle Bradish started for the Birds on Saturday night. Arizona opened the scoring in the 3rd, but after that, Bradish shut down the Diamondback's offense. Bradish pitched six innings and only gave up two runs, bringing his season ERA down to 3.03. Baltimore's bats came alive in the top of the 4th to give the star pitcher his tenth win.
Cedric Mullins opened the scoring in the 4th with a three-run-homerun. Adam Frazier and James McCann later produced RBI doubles, and the run tally reached six before the Orioles were retired that inning. DL Hall came in to relieve Bradish, and the rest of the matchup was quiet for both sides.
Adley Rutschman hit a solo home run in the top of the 7th to secure a 7-3 win. Earlier that day, Cleveland walked it off against Tampa Bay, growing the Birds' lead over the Rays in the division back to two-and-a-half games.
Game 3: 6th-inning surge saves series
The Orioles put Jack Flaherty up against Zac Gallen for Sunday's rubber match. Flaherty failed to make it out of the 5th, replaced by Danny Coulombe after giving up four runs. The bats gave the Birds enough to cover the runs they allowed, but with Arizona scoring twice in the bottom of the 5th to cancel O'Hearn and Henderson's 2-RBI singles, it looked like the momentum had swung towards the Diamondbacks.
Kyle Nelson relieved Gallen in the top of the 6th, and the Orioles went to town on the 27-year-old. Mullins and Westburg contributed the first two runs thanks to clutch hits, as the four-run inning was capped by Rutschman's two-run double. It would prove to be more than enough for the Orioles' bullpen, who through the combined efforts of Coulombe (W, 5-1), Cionel Perez, newly resigned Jorge Lopez, and Yennier Cano saw the game out for an 8-5 win.
Cano would give up a home run in the bottom of the 9th, but another crucial series win was achieved. Tampa Bay avoided getting swept against Cleveland, but their Saturday night loss still had them lose ground to the Birds, who will travel to Anaheim for a three-game series against the Angels starting Monday night.