Orioles keep historic streak alive with furious rally against Jays

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

"Well, it had to end sometime." "Sometimes, it's just not your day."

These are the phrases Orioles fans were muttering to themselves during Wednesday's frustrating matinee against the Toronto Blue Jays, a game that, due to Tuesday's rain out, became the finale of a two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. With the Orioles dropping Game 1 Monday night against the upstart Jays, it seemed bad luck (Tuesday's rain out) combined with a suddenly anemic offense would put the Orioles on the wrong end of a sweep for the first time in exactly two years, when the Tigers swept the Orioles in three games on May 13-15, 2022.

It's those pesky two-game series that seem to give the Orioles fits. Just last week, the Orioles' historic sweep-free streak was pushed to the brink in a two-game series with the Washington Nationals. And on Wednesday, with everything seemingly going against Baltimore, Adley Rutschman - who else but the streak starter? - rescued the Orioles and helped the Orioles extend their sweep-free streak to an incredible 105 straight series.

Orioles' Sweep Streak survives tough test vs. Blue Jays

Wednesday's win marked the third time this season that the Orioles had to salvage the final game of a series to keep their historic streak alive. The first instance occurred on April 12-14, when the Milwaukee Brewers came to Baltimore and rather easily won the first two games. With the park energized with Corbin Burnes facing his former team, the Orioles took an early lead before the Brewers went ahead in the top of the seventh. But these are the Orioles we're talking about. And they don't get swept. Gunnar Henderson tied the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, and Adley Rutschman put the Orioles ahead when he hit into a double play.

As was the case last week in Washington, the Orioles called on Kyle Bradish to try to salvage a split against Toronto. Things started off promising; Bradish pitched a 1-2-3 first, and Jordan Westburg, leading off after his amazing start for the Orioles, homered to right to lead off the game.

But a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Bo Bichette put the Jays ahead in the top of the third. Bradish labored through four innings, allowing only two runs but throwing 85 pitches. It just was not his day.

On the other side, Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi also could not make it through five innings, though he struck out nine Orioles and outpitched Bradish overall. The game turned into a battle of the bullpens, with Toronto's pen stubbornly refusing to give up their lead.

The Orioles had their chances. James McCann led off the bottom of the seventh with a base hit, and went to third on Austin Hays' (welcome back!) pinch-hit double. With the tying run only 90 feet away and no outs, however, the Orioles could not bring McCann home. Jordan Westburg struck out, and after an intentional walk to Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle and Gunnar Henderson were retired.

The Orioles tried again in the bottom of the eighth. Anthony Santander grounded a double into the left field corner and took third on a Jorge Mateo sacrifice. After an intentional walk to Colton Cowser, James McCann bizarrely attempted a safety squeeze with two strikes, and although he got the bunt down, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. cut down Santander at the plate. The Orioles' chances to stave off a sweep dwindled further when pinch-hitter Ramon Urías struck out on three pitches.

Again, it just did not look like the Orioles' day. Until it was. Until the sweep-free streak magic came out to play, and Adley Rutschman powered a walk-off home run just over the out-of-town scoreboard in right, and lifted the Orioles, shockingly, to victory.

The streak will eventually end. It has to. The Orioles are going to be playing baseball in Baltimore for at least another 30 years. But for the second straight week, a Wednesday game in May took on added importance, and fun, for fans who do not want to see the streak die. And for the second straight Wednesday, the unsweepable Orioles moved a little closer to St. Louis' once seemingly untouchable number of 125. Enjoy it, O's fans.