Orioles outlast Rangers ace to fabricate bold team win and series sweep at Texas, 6-3
In a post-Trey Mancini world (by the way, this past in Mancini’s second game as an Astro), the Orioles will have days like today when they struggle to score points. Especially when you’re up against Martín Pérez, a AL Cy Young contestant who is 9-2 with a 2.47 ERA in 21 starts.
“How do you beat a guy who’s won nine in a row?” asked Jim Palmer rhetorically at one point.
Answer: You do not have. Hold on until he leaves.
After six dominating innings from Pérez, and with the score tied at one, Texas brought in live-armed left-handed reliever Matt Moore to take on Robinson Chirinos, hitting every .162 bit this season. Bringing his hometown back to the stadium he played in for six and a half seasons, Chirinos got a fastball to the middle of the plate and did this with:
One of the Orioles’ most unlikely home runs of the season, Chirinos’ second-deck bombshell broke the 1-1 tie and helped push the O’s across the line for a season-high 6-0 against the Texas in 2022, plus a series sweep here for the first time since 2013.
Don’t be fooled by the final score of 6-3. It was a 1-1 pitching duel in six innings, a tight 2-2 tie after the seventh, and it was only out of sheer annoyance that the Orioles managed to survive an ace and win a victory against a rickety pen from Texas.
Big credit must be given to O starter Kyle Bradish, who showed up to work today with little control, but plenty of determination. Perhaps the exact opposite of soft pitcher Martín Pérez, Bradish has plenty of fastball speed but far less finesse, and he’s struggled majorly with the economy of the pitch. Today was no different: he threw 28 in the first inning, 26 in the second, 12 in the third, 14 in the fourth and 13 in the fifth.
But boy, did he fight. For Bradish to come out with below average stuff and throw another five innings in a run was a huge achievement. Today’s outing showed, if not a lot of control, great focus and the mental toughness that at times eluded the rookie earlier in the season.
Texas scored its one and only run against Bradish in the first inning after hitting a Ranger in the leg and allowing back-to-back singles, the last after a nine-pitch battle. This was the Rangers’ first starring role on the show. It was also extremely short-lived.
Martín Pérez baffled O’s first five batters, sniffing out Ryan Mountcastle and Ramón Urías in order to start the second. So of course the first batter to face each other anything against Pérez was… Ryan McKenna, who hit a nice home run in the bullpen to tie the game. Jim Palmer and MASN’s Melanie Newman didn’t believe it either. Respect Ryan McKenna!
McKenna Bombing McCannon, the Orioles continued to attack Pérez, but their luck continued to fizzle, as the fifth- and six-inning rallies died on the bases. Run support for the struggling Bradish? Sorry, kid, you’re all alone.
But Bradish dug deep to protect the tie, pulling himself out of two big traffic jams. He loaded the bases on walks in the second (infuriatingly, two of them to the Rangers’ No. 8 and No. 9 hitters). But with an out and an RBI chance, Rangers’ $175 million man Marcus Semien hit a ball straight at Cedric Mullins, and Jonah Heim hit a chopper back to the mound. Bradish jumped up, got a major air, grabbed it and shot first to catch Heim and ground three runners. It was a great pitching defense and a huge break for the O’s.
Bradish navigated yet another jam in the fourth: A staggered infield couldn’t correlate a ground ball by Josh Smith, who took second on a very wild skies above Chirinos’ head and third on a sack bunt. With one out and Semien, the Rangers’ best hitter, Again at the plate, Bradish dug deep, locating a perfect inside fastball to feel Semien before Corey Seager obligingly retired.
During the briefest of stretches, as his pitch count increased, it looked like Bradish was improving. Step into the fifth, and all of a sudden, he could eliminate people! The change suddenly seemed to fool Jonah Heim. Dirt. Then a curveball to put down Nathaniel Lowe!
Too bad, because Bradish was out after five and Bryan Baker was in. Baker couldn’t finish the sixth, facing three batters and allowing two of them to reach on a walk and a tricky single. The talented but risky Dillon Tate immediately allowed a 91 mph grounder to short. Proving yet again why he needs to be there even on days when he’s not kicking, Jorge Mateo grabbed the ball with a slippery backhand grip to kick off a brilliant double play that kept the score at 1-1.
That’s where things went until the seventh, when the Birds took a break as Texas lifted Pérez and Matt Moore gave up the go-ahead on that unlikely outburst from Robinson Chirinos. When Chirinos came to be decorated with his string of home runs, it was one of the happiest Orioles dugouts I’ve seen this season.
With a mere 2-1 lead, getting nine more outs from a bullpen now bereft of Jorge López seemed like a big ask. And it was a little too big. Facing Tate, former Oriole Jonah Heim hit a home run to the right field wall to tie the game at two.
Forced to start from scratch, Brandon Hyde started tweaking his roster. “Mr. Happy” Brett Phillips wasn’t the answer, calling out for McKenna. But after a two-out Jorge Mateo “double” – a walk + the inevitable steal – Terrin Vavra has been the right button to press. The southpaw netted a nice brace on the opposite court, his first RBI in MLB, marking Mateo as the go-ahead. Robinson Chirinos – there in his defense, right? – quickly picked Vavra to make it 4-2.
“Sort of an Oriole sleeve,” concluded Jim Palmer. With Trey Mancini now gone, the Orioles will have to make runs at times.
And today they made some manufacturing runs: two more scored in ninth on an Adley + Santander double walk, 110mph under Marcus Semien’s glove, plus a series of wild throws to Brett Phillips that allowed Santander to go home.
In the process, the Orioles also manufactured a victory. With Tampa Bay, Seattle and Cleveland all winners today, the O’s aren’t gaining ground in pursuit of the Wild Cards. But after an emotional trade deadline and stuck against a starting ace, they kept doing what they’ve been doing all season: proving they can compete.
Who was the most Birdland player on August 3?
Kyle Bradish (5 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 SO)
Terrin Vavra (1 for 1, pinch 2B, 1st MLB RBI)
Robinson Chirinos (3 for 4, 2 RBI, HR in his hometown back)
Jorge Mateo (BB, SB, DP who saved the tie, started the rally which marked O’s 3rd run)
528 votes in total