Orioles sweep series against Tigers on wild terrain

BALTIMORE — The Orioles went from a near-perfect game against them … to winning again in walk-off mode. It was yet another early symbol of how well things have been going in Baltimore lately.

“These kind of wins, at the end of the season, they add up,” said Frazier, who was doused in Gatorade for the second time in three days after previously collecting a walkout RBI on Friday night. “That’s how we make the playoffs. A lot of good teams can win streaks, but sweeping a streak is hard to do.

That might seem a bit early for playoff talks, especially when the Orioles have much tougher stretches ahead. Over the past two weeks, they’ve racked up wins against the A’s, White Sox, Nationals and Tigers – four teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year and aren’t particularly strong on the paper.

But Baltimore’s roster is brimming with confidence, which has carried over from its 83-win 2022 season. The O’s have had only two best starts in team history (since 1954) – in ’66 (16-5) and ’68 (15-6), the former resulting in the inaugural World Series championship in franchise.

“I said it from day one of spring training – the talent here is amazing,” receiver James McCann said. “The chemistry of the young guys who have been together is very evident from the moment you walk into the clubhouse, and now they are learning to win and win together.”

Win together – even on a day when Baltimore’s top 20 batters were ranked in order. It was the accomplishment Sunday of Detroit southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez, who has often been a thorn in the side of the Orioles since they traded him to the Red Sox in July 2014.

The only flaw in that outing for Rodriguez (who has a 1.56 ERA in his last 12 starts against Baltimore dating back to 2018) was a two-out single in the seventh by Ryan Mountcastle, which ended the offer. perfect left-handed game. The other 21 Rodriguez batters faced all outs.

However, the game was still scoreless after seven innings due to another outstanding performance by the Orioles’ pitching staff. Grayson Rodriguez (the club’s No. 1 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 5 overall prospect) had his best outing yet in his fourth major league start, striking out six in five scoreless innings.

Over the past five games, Baltimore’s starters have allowed just one earned run in 31 innings (a 0.29 ERA).

“We have a lot of special pitchers in this clubhouse,” Rodriguez said. “I think good things are just starting for us, so it’s going to be exciting to see how we go as pitchers from now on.”

Several players came off the bench to fuel the Orioles victory. Anthony Santander delivered an RBI double for sure with two outs in the eighth, tackling Jorge Mateo, who scored from the first. Terrin Vavra pinch hit to open the 10th and dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Frazier, who started the inning as an auto-runner at second, to third.

Then Frazier, who entered the game as a pinched runner, raced home for the winning run when Tigers right-hander Mason Englert’s first pitch to Mateo, an 81.9 mph curveball, hit the ground and went to the left of home plate.

Much of the credit for Baltimore’s hot stretch, however, should go to the pitching staff, who posted a 1.15 ERA during the six-game winning streak. Teams don’t lose many games in which they give up less than two points, and the O’s have done so in each of their last five games.

“The pitch is starting to go, and the pitch is definitely contagious,” said southpaw Keegan Akin, who picked up the win with a scoreless 10th. “It helps a lot when other guys set the standard.”

Speaking about Baltimore’s good April, manager Brandon Hyde spoke about last season. The Orioles were 7-14 at this point last year and still came close to making the playoffs, finishing three games shy of a Wild Card spot in the American League.

Hyde is therefore aware that a lot can change between now and October.

“I’m happy with our start, I think we played pretty well; (I would) like us to improve through the year, like we did last year,” Hyde said. “For me, that’s what really good teams do.”

The O’s firmly believe that they are a very good team this season. More wins like Sunday’s would continue to prove that.

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