CHICAGO — Despite the long strings of losses the Orioles have endured during his four-year managerial tenure, Brandon Hyde has often praised his team’s ability to metaphorically get hit, then hit back.
In the span of three pitches Saturday, the Orioles did so to clinch a series victory on the road over the Chicago White Sox, downing the reigning American League Central champions, 6-2, to position themselves for a four-game sweep Sunday.
Baltimore (34-39) has won four games in a row for the first time since September 2020 and enjoyed its best 35-game stretch since 2017, going 20-15 since May 19.
“We come to the park every day and expect to win, and that’s not a feeling we’ve had here in a long time,” said Trey Mancini, the club’s longest-tenured player. “It’s just been so much fun.”
The Orioles took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning, with Jorge Mateo having scored both of their runs on a third-inning home run and a fifth-inning error by shortstop Leury García that allowed him to score from second after a double. With two on and two outs, Cedric Mullins’ swinging bunt loaded the bases for Mancini, who took a Lance Lynn fastball to the side of his left hand. It brought in Baltimore’s third run but left Mancini in pain, prompting him to follow Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel into the dugout to get examined as the White Sox made a pitching change.
When play resumed, Mancini was at first base, and he scored from there when Austin Hays drove home three with a double on José Ruiz’s second pitch. In 22 games this month, the Orioles have scored at least six runs in half of them.
“I’m seeing guys that are playing with a ton of energy, playing to win,” Hyde said. “I think we’re playing with some confidence right now.”
Mancini recently missed a handful of games after a pitch hit his right hand during a series in Toronto, prompting Hyde to joke that Saturday’s inside fastball “evened it out.” Mancini had his left hand wrapped after the game but said this injury was “definitely better” than the previous one and he’s “not too concerned about it at all.”
A budding pitching staff also continued its run of excellence, with the only run the group surrendered through eight innings being an unearned one in the third against Spenser Watkins, who allowed five hits in five innings. Bryan Baker, Nick Vespi and Dillon Tate each worked a scoreless frame before Tate opened the ninth by hitting a pair of batters, leading to the game’s final run on an RBI groundout to third.
Still, Baltimore’s staff has allowed only four runs in its past 43 innings and has held the opposition to two or fewer runs in seven of the past nine games.
“Obviously, our body of work over the year has been good so far,” Baker said. “It’s pretty awesome to feed off of each other and see one guy after another go out there and try to put up a zero.”
Mancini meets cancer survivor
Before the game, players and coaches from both teams stood on the baselines to recognize 7-year-old cancer survivor and fighter Beau Dowling as part of the “Home Run for Life.” Dowling then sprinted around the bases, high-fiving Orioles players and coaches as he went to first base and members of the White Sox going from third to home.
Once the ceremony was over, Mancini, who missed the 2020 season undergoing treatment for stage 3 colon cancer, stayed at home plate to speak with Dowling and his family.
“It was so cool,” said Mancini, the league’s 2021 Comeback Player of the Year. “I knew that we had a pregame ceremony. I didn’t know what it was, but once I found out, I wanted to go over there after he ran the bases and just tell him that he was awesome. I told him that I had cancer two years ago and I’m doing just fine now and doing well, and I know the same thing is gonna happen for him, too. I just wanted him to know that, but that was really cool to see both teams on the line and his family out there, and it was absolutely incredible to be a part of.”
Around the horn
>> The game began after a 1-hour, 21-minute rain delay.
>> To add Watkins to the roster, the Orioles optioned right-hander Marcos Diplán to Triple-A Norfolk. Infielder Rylan Bannon was also optioned to create room for Jonathan Araúz, who was optioned after he was claimed from the Boston Red Sox on June 15 and thus had to be in the minors for 10 days before being recalled.
Baltimore Orioles Insider
>> Diplán, Bannon and catcher Cody Roberts are serving as the Orioles’ taxi squad.
>> Catcher Adley Rutschman and outfielder Anthony Santander received days off, while second baseman Rougned Odor missed a third straight game with a sore back.
Sunday, 2:10 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM