After lengthy rain delay and strong start from Jordan Lyles, Orioles’ bats break out in series-clinching 9-5 win over Red Sox

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Between the start and finish of the sixth inning Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, more than two hours had transpired. It had begun with a thunderous solo shot from second baseman Rougned Odor and continued with a lengthy rain delay. But when the Orioles retook the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, none of the offensive eruptions had been dampened by the wait nor the weather.

It got severe enough that the Red Sox turned to catcher Kevin Plawecki to eat innings on the mound, winding down the final moments of Baltimore’s series-clinching 9-5 victory. But for an offense that has struggled to post crooked numbers, the production in that sixth inning and beyond was encouraging. The nine runs are the most the Orioles (8-14) have scored this season, and it gave more than enough support for a pitching staff that once again excelled.

Orioles starting pitcher Jordan Lyles allowed one run on six hits and struck out six in six innings in Baltimore's 9-5 win over the visiting Red Sox on Sunday.

Baltimore’s bullpen threw 10 2/3 scoreless innings in the series before J.D. Martinez’s late grand slam off right-hander Travis Lakins Sr in the ninth. And right-hander Jordan Lyles kept Boston off balance, dancing out of trouble throughout his six innings — an appearance that concluded before the rain delay muddled the middle innings, even if it didn’t waterlog the bats.

“Winning is fun,” infielder Tyler Nevin said. “We just, we feed off each other. I know it’s cliché, but it’s contagious. When you feel like a team is worrying about everybody in the lineup on that day, it makes it easier at the plate.”


After using six relievers in Saturday’s 10-inning win, manager Brandon Hyde hoped to ride Lyles deep into Sunday’s series finale. That’s much of the reason the Orioles signed the right-hander this offseason — he threw a career-high 180 innings last year — but with a shortened spring training, Lyles hasn’t gone as deep into games as he’d like.

Before Sunday, his longest outing this season had been 5 1/3 innings, and Lyles managed 4 2/3 frames against the New York Yankees in his previous appearance. But despite traffic on the bases early and often — the Red Sox had nine baserunners through four innings — it wasn’t until a leadoff double in the fifth when Lyles finally cracked.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts jumped on a first-pitch fastball that split that left-center gap, and two batters later, first baseman Franchy Cordero drove him in with a sacrifice fly. But that would be the lone damage against Lyles, even though he allowed seven hits, hit a batter and walked three more. He gutted through six innings on a season-high 101 pitches, providing some relief to a bullpen that underwent heavy use Saturday.

“Made pitches like a pro to get out of innings,” Hyde said. “We needed him to go deep into the game today. He threw a lot of pitches early, but I thought his slider was good and he made pitches when he had to.”

Earlier this week against the Yankees, Lyles bemoaned his slider usage. He didn’t draw many swings and left it over the plate for a 118.8 mph single from Giancarlo Stanton. His slider played better Sunday, however, inducing five whiffs. He threw it more than any other pitch, and the hardest contact off it was 84.8 mph.

“Haven’t been satisfied with the first few outings, personally,” Lyles said. “I don’t like to go five innings. I like to go more. Six innings isn’t the end goal. One hundred pitches isn’t the end goal. Still early, but as we ease on to later in the season, we’ll get deeper into games.”

Behind him, the Orioles’ bottom of the order awoke. Infielders Odor, Ramón Urías and Nevin combined to hit 1-for-22 in the first two games of the series, but the trio collaborated for a breakout fifth inning — Odor singled, Urías doubled and Nevin drove both runners in with a single. Later in the frame, right fielder Anthony Santander was robbed of a grand slam by the new left field wall, with his drive flying 378 feet for a sacrifice fly.

Odor added a solo shot in the sixth before the Orioles teed off on Red Sox reliever Phillips Valdez following the delay. Jorge Mateo, Ryan Mountcastle and Santander drove in five runs, pushing the series-clinching victory out of reach.

Groundskeepers pull a tarp across the diamond during the sixth inning of the Orioles' game against the Red Sox on Sunday. Baltimore's bats broke out after the delay and won the game, 9-5.

Roster cutdowns looming

After Sunday’s game, the Orioles optioned outfielder Ryan McKenna to Triple-A Norfolk, one of two necessary cuts as the roster slims from 28 players to 26 by Monday.

For some of the fringe players, they now find themselves in a situation mirroring late spring training. Odor, for instance, entered Sunday hitting .180 with four errors. But his lefty bat is valuable, and a solo homer in the sixth inning could help prolong his time in Baltimore — particularly as infielder Chris Owings is batting .111.

“We’re really right-handed, so to kind of get [Cedric Mullins] going and Rougy going would be big for us, especially against right-handed starters,” Hyde said.

Nevin could be another candidate to return to Triple-A Norfolk. But Nevin, called up this week, adds versatility in the field. In three games, he’s played third base, first base and designated hitter. He can feature in either corner outfield spot, too.

He hit .364 for the Tides before his call-up and made a diving play at first base. His two-run single drove in Baltimore’s first two runs. Plays like those could keep Nevin around in place of third baseman Kelvin Gutiérrez, who’s hitting just .148.

“I love the fact I can play anywhere on the field — well, the corners,” Nevin said. “It’s nothing but a plus for me to give those guys confidence to put me at any corner I need to play.”


With longer starts from starters, Hyde might feel more comfortable dropping to 13 pitchers, even though teams can carry 14 through the end of May. With another grand slam off Lakins, he could be a candidate for departure.

But whatever the configuration, one more player will need to be removed from the active roster before Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

Orioles infielder Tyler Nevin, running to first base in the fifth inning Sunday, drove in a pair of runs in Baltimore's 9-5 win over the Red Sox at Camden Yards.

Injury updates

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Left-handed reliever Alex Wells will miss the next eight to 12 weeks as he recovers from a grade one UCL strain in his elbow, Hyde said. Wells won’t require surgery, instead receiving treatment and undergoing rehab in Sarasota, Florida.

Wells threw 3 2/3 innings for Baltimore this season before his setback, allowing five hits and two runs. Right-hander Dean Kremer, who has missed three weeks due to an oblique injury, threw a bullpen session Saturday in Florida as he nears a return.

For the second straight day, first baseman Trey Mancini was out of the lineup due to rib soreness, but Hyde said he felt better Sunday and could have been available off the bench. In his place, Nevin got the start at first base.



Monday, 7:05 p.m.


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