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Orioles follow marathon by sprinting to 9-3 victory over Angels

ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Some grogginess could be expected as the Orioles met the Los Angeles Angels for the encore to the second-longest game, by time, in franchise history.

Players and coaches didn’t fall asleep until those in Baltimore were waking up to start their Friday. Worse yet, a handful of Orioles were disturbed by a fire alarm at the team hotel before achieving a full morning’s sleep.

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Yet, after the previous night’s 16-inning marathon, the Orioles appeared well-rested in sprinting to a 9-3 victory over the Angels on Friday night, improving to 7-7 since the All-Star break and 10-8 in their past 18 games to move out of baseball’s cellar.

“I don’t think the vibe has changed,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Even in tough moments, I feel like our guys enjoy the clubhouse, enjoy competing with each other. I think our guys show up ready to play. I think we’re fun to watch.

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"We’ve had our moments this year where we play really good baseball, but that’s part of where we are in this process. I like the way our guys compete and we come to win every day.”

Facing call-up Nick Tropeano after originally scheduled starter Griffin Canning pitched the final two frames after midnight local time, the Orioles (34-69) scored a quick run when Jonathan Villar got hit by a pitch, stole his fourth base of the series, took third on a fly ball and scored on Anthony Santander’s sacrifice fly.

They broke it open in the second, scoring more runs in the inning than they did in the previous game’s first 14 frames. Stevie Wilkerson, the hero of the extra-inning win after becoming the first position player in major league history to earn a save, brought home Jace Peterson from third with a ground ball for the first run of the inning. Villar walked, then beat third baseman David Fletcher’s throw to second on a Trey Mancini grounder to load the bases for Santander.

Continuing his offensive tear, the left fielder lined a two-run single into right. He added a double in the fourth for his eighth multihit game in his past 16, a span in which he’s hitting .353/.361/.588.

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Renato Núñez stayed hot, too, following Santander with a three-run homer off the scoreboard in right and becoming the 11th Oriole with 25 home runs in his age-25 or younger season. It was Núñez’s ninth home run in 20 starts since June 29. He’s slashing .329/.420/.737 in that span.

“That was kind of my goal this whole year was, I wanted to see, not only our team, but individuals improve over the course of the year,” Hyde said. “Guys are starting to come into their own, and that rolls into next year.”

Núñez said he didn’t get too much sleep last night, inexplicably waking up early, but the opposite-field shot made him appear well rested.

“I’ve been working a lot on that, trying to hit the ball the other way and take those walks,” Núñez said. "Those pitchers are good. You’ve got to see your pitch and try to do damage.”

The Orioles were unable to score again until the ninth, when another hot streak stayed aflame. Mancini’s two-run home run in the final inning gave him 24 on the year, seven in his past nine games and one in each of the past three games.

It also marked the Orioles’ ninth straight game with multiple home runs, tying the major league record. The 1987 and 1996 Orioles are two of the other five teams to achieve the feat.

Wojciechowski deals again

The night before his start, Asher Wojciechowski left Angel Stadium in the 12th inning, minutes before Thursday crept into Friday. He stayed up watching into the 15th before falling asleep. He woke up in the morning to see the final, and knowing the Orioles were desperate for a lengthy start, provided one.

After carrying a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox in his previous start, Wojciechowski (2-3) created thoughts of another historic night by retiring the first 11 Angels before Shohei Ohtani laced a triple down the right-field line.

But Wojciechowski managed to strand him at third, with the only damage against him in his seven innings coming on Matt Thaiss’ fifth-inning, two-run home run that narrowly cleared the fence in the right-field corner. With the Orioles placing All-Star John Means on the injured list amid a shuffling of their pitching staff after the 16-inning game, Wojciechowski’s lengthy outing was practically required.

“That was a bullpen saver on a day when we really, really needed it with so many guys down,” Hyde said. “The way he pitched with a lead, too. Throwing strikes, attacking hitters. I love his competitiveness. I think you see, after strikeouts, I like his emotion on the mound. He’s out to beat people, and I love the way he competes.”

He joined Andrew Cashner as the only Orioles with consecutive starts of at least seven innings in 2019; Cashner was traded to the Red Sox before he could go for a third straight and was the opposing pitcher for Wojciechowski’s brilliant outing against them July 21.

In his past two starts, Wojciechowski has allowed two runs on four hits and a walk with 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. He allowed just the two runs on three hits in seven innings Friday.

“That’s just a game where I know I need to go deep," Wojciechowski said. “I need to give the bullpen a rest. Every single game, I’m trying to do that.”

Homer happy

For as much as reliever Evan Phillips struggled during his previous major league stints, he at least had yet to allow a homer.

Justin Upton’s solo shot in the ninth brought that to end, making Phillips the 30th Oriole to allow a home run in 2019. That’s tied for the ninth most all time; the 2017 Seattle Mariners hold the record at 34.

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