Orioles ride rookie Yefry Ramírez to beat error-riddled Rangers, 1-0

Whether it was because of a Swiss cheese Texas Rangers defense or a career-best seven-strikeout performance by Yefry Ramírez, the Orioles found their motivation to eke out a mid-series victory Saturday.

When third baseman Adrián Beltré committed a throwing error on Tim Beckham’s soft single in the sixth, one of three Rangers errors, the Orioles (27-69) had their first base runner perched within 90 feet of home plate on the night. The next batter, Jonathan Schoop, hit a sacrifice fly to center field for the only run of the game.


Up to that point, the Orioles had grounded into three double plays. Beckham (two hits) and Danny Valencia (two hits) led the Orioles, who finished with six hits. Manny Machado and Schoop each had one. Rangers left-hander Martin Pérez was otherwise strong, allowing one run in seven innings in his first start since April 29. He had been out with an elbow injury.

The Orioles have hired Brooks Robinson to be Special Advisor to the Orioles. He'll help promote the team in various ways.

Before a brief rally from the Orioles offense, the game was Ramírez’s to sculpt. The rookie right-hander has not yet managed to pitch deep in a game, but performed well Saturday with two hits allowed in five scoreless innings, matching his career high for innings. Efficiency has not been Ramírez’s strong suit, as he needed 94 pitches to get through five frames.


“He's presenting himself well,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That's the thing we like about him, he has a certain calmness about him.”

Showalter noted that unlike his previous start, and even the first inning Saturday, Ramírez was better able to pinpoint his changeup, a sign of a rookie pitcher starting to find comfort in the major leagues.

“I think my changeup was a little better than my last start,” Ramírez said through translator Ramón Alarcón. “The difference today was I was able to locate my fastball and attack the hitters with my fastball tonight.”

Ramírez whiffed seven batters, with back-to-back strikeouts in the first and fourth innings, as the baseball ripped at the tips of his fingers. But by the fifth, the rookie was suffering from a bloody nail.

“Seems like they changed some things about the baseball back in [2015]. He was bleeding,” Showalter said. “Didn't want to put him back out there. We were going to cut him at 95 anyway when he had 94. But he saw it was becoming an issue coming into the fifth inning. He was wanting to go back out there.”

Ramírez isn’t too concerned about the injury on his thumb.

“I had something similar last year. It’s very minor,” he said.

With Saturday’s win, the Orioles staved off becoming the quickest team to 70 losses before the All-Star break with one game to go Sunday.

Closer Zach Britton could be traded at any moment, but every solid performance has to enhance his trade value.

After Baltimore’s bats got it going in the sixth, the defense put on a bit of a show to protect the little lead. Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzmán’s shot to shallow center field had Adam Jones springing forward to make a catch in the seventh. Then in the eighth, reliever Mychal Givens whipped a pitch to second to pick off Isiah Kiner-Falefa, eliminating a runner in scoring position.

“The pickoff was big. It took a lot of momentum out of their sails. Mychal has very quietly in the last four, five outings been really good,” Showalter said.

Closer Zach Britton, who took the mound under the flickering “lights out” stadium bulbs, then struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his third save. He credited the different mechanical styles of the other relievers around him.

“You run out [Givens] throwing upper 90s, throwing from that slot that he’s throwing in. … Brad [Brach] gives you a funky look, crossfire,” Britton said. “That’s kind of been our strength, is just all the different arm angles coming at you with different stuff, and that’s why we were successful for a long time, I think.”

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