Present-day Orioles offense, meet the Orioles bullpen of yesteryear.
Not until Tuesday night did this quick-strike, never-say-die group of Orioles hitters have to deal with a relief corps for which it seems no lead is big enough.
After the bullpen gave back two late leads, rookie Austin Hays hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the 10th inning to help the Orioles to a 10-9 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Hays hit a line drive to center field past a diving Roman Quinn and the ball went all the way to the wall, allowing Andrew Velazquez and Hays to score.
After the Phillies’ automatic runner on second came around to score off Paul Fry, Travis Lakins got the final out for his first save of the season.
“I think that game had a little bit of everything,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Just a persevering, gutsy, grind-out team win.
“This season has just been crazy ... but I know last year and the year before we had a lot of one-run games where we just couldn’t find a way to pull through and get the win. This season has been a very different story. We seem to find a way, night-in and night-out, to make sure we’re there at the end of the game. Hopefully, we can continue to keep getting those late hits in big situations.”
Hays’ home run provided the fourth big burst for an Orioles (8-7) offense that was quiet through the first half of the game.
Trailing 3-0 in the sixth inning, they tied it when Anthony Santander doubled and scored on a Renato Núñez single, Núñez scored on a double by Rio Ruiz, and Ruiz scored on a single by Dwight Smith Jr. An inning later, Pat Valaika singled and scored from first on a double by Hanser Alberto, and Alberto scored on a double by Santander.
But the Orioles bullpen, who had already gotten scoreless outings from Tanner Scott and Mychal Givens, made a rare regression to their woeful ways from last year in a season in which they’ve collectively been much better. Miguel Castro allowed two home runs in the eighth inning to give the Phillies a slim, 6-5 lead.
Undaunted, the Orioles loaded the bases in the ninth and got a run on a single by Núñez before taking the lead on a literal blooper in the infield.
Pedro Severino popped up a ball to the first-base side of the pitcher’s mound with the bases loaded. The runners were off on contact, and third baseman Jean Segura called off the rest of the infield for the ball but didn’t catch it, allowing two Orioles runs to score.
But in the ninth inning, newcomer Cole Sulser gave those two runs back to send it to extra innings.
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“It felt like a boxing match, honestly, from the eighth inning on,” Hyde said. “We gave a blow, we took a blow, we gave a blow, we took a blow. Who can get that last out? That was the feeling. And Travis Lakins came in and got the last out.”
It was the third time in as many games (counting Sunday’s suspended game) when the Orioles’ bats came awake late. But as they tried to extend their lead in the eighth, Velazquez was narrowly out on replay review on an attempted delayed steal of home plate. For at least an inning, that loomed quite large.
‘He’s going to get himself traded’
When Hall of Famer Jim Palmer joined the television broadcast via Zoom to provide a few innings of analysis, he noted that Cobb was going to get himself traded. He meant it as a compliment.
Cobb was strong again, pitching into the sixth inning and having a good day spoiled by a lackadaisical error by Chris Davis on a hard ground ball to first base to open the third inning that went for a two-base error in a two-run third inning. He also allowed a home run to Jay Bruce in the fifth, but left with a 2.75 ERA in continuing his impressive start to the season.
When asked about Palmer’s comment after the game, Cobb said that he hoped to stick around.
“I hope he’s wrong,” Cobb said. “I think we have something special here and I want to be a part of it.”
Around the horn
Left-hander John Means is returning to the team after spending last week at home to be with his family after the death of his father. Means, along with newly claimed right-hander Jorge López, was placed on the injured list to allow for COVID-19 testing intake to occur.
Shortstop José Iglesias didn’t start Tuesday because of continued quadriceps soreness.
The Orioles released left-hander Ty Blach on Monday.
Infielder Ramón Urías is on the taxi squad for the series in Philadelphia.