Orioles beat Rangers 7-2 as Rutschman has big night at home plate
On the day the hearts of this year’s Orioles were traded, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see this team playing quietly.
Hours before the game, news broke that Trey Mancini was heading to the Astros. The players expressed their disappointment at losing so much of this year’s surprisingly complete squad, but then took to the pitch and destroyed the Texas Rangers.
Scoring started immediately with Cedric Mullins’ closing scratcher to left field for his ninth homer of the year. When the Orioles got the next two hitters (Adley Rutschman single, Anthony Santander HBP) but didn’t participate either, it looked like it might be one of those games. But it was not one of those games!
The start of the second inning saw Terrin Vavra land his first major league hit. He didn’t leave the infield but he got the job done. After a Ryan McKenna strikeout, Jorge Mateo absolutely burned a through ball to second base that Ezequiel Duran couldn’t handle. It was flagged as an error, which was the right call, but the ball left the bat at 109 mph, so I’ll leave Duran some slack.
The table was set for Mullins, who returned. A simple save from midfielder Vavra for the second set. Rangers challenged the tight game but were disallowed. After Rutschman walked to load the bases, back-to-back singles from Santander and Ryan Mountcastle brought two more runs. It’s especially nice to see Mountcastle join in the fun as he’s been mired in a pretty bad slump.
The bases remained loaded but neither Rougned Odor nor Ramón Urías could extend the rally further.
One thing to note is that between Rutschman’s walk and Santander’s single, Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray had to come out of the game with an injury. It was later announced to be left side discomfort. I wish Gray the best for a speedy recovery.
After a 1-2-3 third inning, the offense was back in action for the fourth. This time it was Mullins’ turn to walk and Rutschman doubled him for the fifth inning of the game. Mountcastle followed up his previous RBI single with a double RBI to score Rutschman, his first extra hit since July 15.
The Mullins-Rutschman-Mountcastle trio had a great evening. All three had multi-hit plays with at least one extra hit. Mullins homered, singled and walked in the game; Rutschman had three hits including two doubles, plus a walk; and Mountcastle had a single RBI and a double RBI.
Odor and Urías weren’t so great, crashing the rally again in round four. Tough night for the duo who combined to go 0 for 10 with 13 LOB men.
The Bats calmed down for a few innings before adding their seventh and final run in the seventh inning. The bottom of the lineup got in on the action with a McKenna single followed by a double that was smoked by Mateo in left field. McKenna went home for the race while Mateo took second place.
The knock on Mateo is that he doesn’t hit enough to be an everyday player, even with his exceptional defense. But that has not been the case in recent weeks. From July 10-31, Mateo had an OPS of .919 with nine extra hits. Tonight he added a single and a double on top of the 109mph smash that resulted in a defender’s pick/error. He also stole a base, because of course he did.
All of that offense was in favor of starting pitcher Spenser Watkins, who had a great game. In five innings, Watkins allowed just three base runners. All three reached via singles and all in different innings. The lead the Orioles built never felt in jeopardy.
After making a few loud outings in the fifth, Rangers finally broke through in the sixth via a solo homer. Corey Seager’s 24th of the year broke the shutout, and a single two batters later from Nathaniel Lowe made the sixth inning the first the Rangers had multiple runners.
Watkins finished the sixth inning with a strikeout from Adolis Garcia, his fifth of the game. Final throw line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Great job, Spenser! It was the first quality start for the Orioles in 14 games.
Keegan Akin replaced Watkins in the seventh inning and finished the game with three innings pitched. He allowed just two hits in three innings, the first being a solo home run. Nick Solak hit his third of the year as a pinch hitter to make it 7-2. The second came as the first single in the bottom of the ninth, but Akin immediately got his best friend, a double play.
Victory for the Orioles! Some days you just need a nice stress free win and today was one of those days. They’re back to a game over .500.
Everyone will miss Trey Mancini, but if the team he just left continues this kind of game, it will help to make things better.
Who is the most Birdland player for August 1st?
Adley Rutschman (3 for 4, 2 doubles, walk)
Ryan Mountcastle (singles and doubles, possibly coming out of this crisis)
Cedric Mullins (RBI singles, home run, walk)
Spenser Watkins (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K – first team QS in 14 games)
197 voices in total