Orioles explode out of slump with 6-run inning to back ace Kyle Bradish in 7-3 win over Diamondbacks

Tribune Content Agency

PHOENIX — After Friday night’s loss, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was displeased with the quality of his hitters’ plate appearances against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“We haven’t been swinging the bat very well,” Hyde said. “We’ve got to do a lot more offensively.”

Through three innings Saturday, not much had changed. Baltimore’s offense managed just two hits and no runs with four strikeouts and had scored only two runs in its past 18 innings.

That slump ended the next inning.

Seven straight Orioles recorded hits in the fourth inning to turn a two-run deficit into a four-run lead and propel Baltimore to a 7-3 victory. The six-run inning was more than enough for ace Kyle Bradish and his bullpen, which combined to hold the Diamondbacks to three runs on five hits.

With one out in the fourth, Ryan O’Hearn started the rally with a 100.5-mph single to center field — the first of six batted balls hit harder than 99 mph, according to Statcast tracking data — off Arizona rookie Slade Cecconi. After Austin Hays reached base on an infield single, Cedric Mullins officially ended the offensive woes with a three-run shot to right field.

Mullins has struggled since he returned from the first of two injured list stints with a right groin strain, entering Saturday hitting just .216 with a .644 OPS in 35 games since June 24. But the long ball was his third in nine games and it boosted his status as the Orioles’ best hitter with runners in scoring position. In 98 plate appearances in such situations, Mullins is slashing .321/.402/.625 — good for a team-best 1.027 OPS.

Ramón Urías followed the long ball, which put the Orioles up 3-2, with a 107.6 mph single and scored on a double to right-center field from Adam Frazier. James McCann then roped an RBI double and scored to give the Orioles a 6-2 advantage on Adley Rutschman’s 104.4-mph single. The only other run scored for the remainder of the game was a 405-foot homer from Rutschman in the seventh inning off Diamondbacks reliever Scott McGough.

The American League-best Orioles gained a game over the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost on a walk-off in extra innings to the Cleveland Guardians. Baltimore (84-51) is 2 1/2 games up on the Rays with 27 games remaining.

The win gives the club its winningest season since 2016 and extends the Orioles’ streak without being swept to 83 games. The last time the club was swept was in mid-May 2022, before Rutschman’s MLB debut. The streak is tied with the 1922-24 New York Yankees for the third-longest in MLB history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Bradish becoming an ace

Bradish, a Peoria, Ariz., native, pitched in his home state for the first time as a big leaguer Saturday. He entered the contest at Chase Field with a 3.03 ERA and exited with the same average.

The right-hander overcame a shaky third inning, in which four of the first five batters reached base. Ketel Marte’s Baltimore chop ground ball over first baseman O’Hearn’s head gave the Diamondbacks (70-66) a 1-0 lead, and Alek Thomas doubled it with an RBI groundout.

Bradish buckled down in his final three innings to end his night with another quality start — six innings and two runs allowed on four hits with six strikeouts versus three walks.

The second-year starter has a 2.26 ERA in his past 11 starts and a 2.55 ERA in 17 starts since May 28. Since he returned from the injured list last July, Bradish has a 3.13 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 210 innings.