The Orioles might have allowed Tampa Bay to pick up a game on them when they lost Sunday afternoon's contest at Fenway, but the high-flying Birds won another series and reached 90 wins for the season.
Three very different games, but Brandon Hyde and the Orioles got it done in Boston
Baltimore travelled back from their trip out West to play three games against their divisional rivals the Red Sox. After winning the first two, the Birds would lose Sunday's game following a mid-game rain delay. That loss, coupled with the Rays' victory over Seattle, brought Tampa Bay within three games of the O's during a tight battle for a coveted America League East crown. Still, a seventh straight series win highlights how dominant the Orioles are playing right now.
Game 1: A blowout
By far the fans' favorite game in the series, Baltimore won with a resounding 11-2 scoreline. Kyle Bradish pitched six innings of impressive baseball. Nine strikeouts, four hits and only two runs allowed. In fact, coming into the bottom of the 6th, Bradish had only allowed one baserunner. Jacob Webb, DL Hall, and Jorge Lopez all pitched a hitless inning in relief.
Meanwhile, the bats supported the stellar pitching, combining for 14 hits and drawing nine walks. Ryan O'Hearn and Adley Rutschman hit home runs, and leading American League Rookie of the Year candidate Gunnar Henderson fell just short of the cycle. In total, the Birds tallied 14 hits while containing the Red Sox to only four.
Game 2: Hold your breath
The middle game of the series gave Orioles and Red Sox fans equal amounts of anxiety, and the heartbreak could have almost been suffered by the Birdland faithful. Baltimore won 13-12 but were out-hit 23-14. Both starting pitchers, Jack Flaherty and Chris Sale, were shelled out of the matchup by the 5th inning. Jacob Webb and Mauricio Llovera each gave up three earned runs in their inning of relief. Boston never held the lead after the bottom of the 1st, but they were never truly put away by the O's bullpen.
Aaron Hicks, Jordan Westburg and Gunnar Henderson all hit home runs, while James McCann smacked two to tally three RBIs. Baltimore scored a crucial run in the top of the 9th to go up 13-9. Yennier Cano came in to close out what looked to be an easy win, but four hits and three runs later made the smile on his face after the final out show his and the whole team's relief that the slugfest was finally over. Win number 90 did not come easy for Brandon Hyde and the Orioles
Game 3: Don't hold your breath
A rain delay in the middle of the game made the loss at the end of it even worse for the O's and their travelling fans. Grayson Rodriguez faced Brayan Bello on the mound, with the latter coming away with a win thanks largely to a critical throwing error by Ramon Urias. Of Rodriguez's four runs put up on him, only two were earned. Cole Irvin came in, and after initially pitching well, gave up a three-run home run to Henderson's main Rookie of the Year rival, Triston Casas.
The biggest spark for the Birds was Adam Frazier, with two hits including a triple, and two of their three RBIs. Also, on a day where Baltimore produced no offense after the second inning and two of their three pitchers were unable to toss anything untouchable, Joey Krehbiel produced a hit-less bottom of the 8th to take his ERA down to 1.8. Up next the O's face St Louis at Camden Yards, with John Means expected to make a return appearance somewhere in the series.