It was almost too good to be true.
The Orioles were five outs away from squeaking out a one-run win against the Milwaukee Brewers. Baltimore had overcome a nearly disastrous first inning from Kyle Gibson and got all of its offensive production from two players — Aaron Hicks and Ryan O’Hearn — who weren’t on its major league roster a month ago.
But the Orioles needed more offense than the homers they got from Hicks and O’Hearn, as the host Brewers came back to win, 4-3, in 10 innings. Milwaukee tied the game in the eighth off Yennier Cano and won it with a walk-off single from Joey Wiemer in the 10th off Austin Voth.
“The guys at the back end [of the bullpen] have been pretty much shut down all year. But, you know, it happens. It’s part of the game,” O’Hearn said. “Just the way this one shakes out. I thought, overall, we played well. We just didn’t come away with it.”
Hicks’ two-run homer in the second inning tied the game after the Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first, while O’Hearn’s solo shot in the seventh gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
Cano replaced left-hander Danny Coulombe with two outs in the seventh, striking out Brian Anderson to strand the runners on the corners. But the dominant right-hander allowed a leadoff walk to Blake Perkins, who stole second and scored on a single from Brice Turang to even the score.
Félix Bautista struck out the side in the ninth, but Jorge Mateo, Adam Frazier and Josh Lester failed to drive home the automatic runner in the top of the 10th. Mateo struck out after failing to lay down a sacrifice bunt, Frazier flied out to right field and Lester, who was pinch-hitting for defensive replacement Ryan McKenna in Anthony Santander’s spot in the order after Milwaukee intentionally walked Adley Rutschman, struck out. In 39 trips to the plate, the Orioles struck out 16 times — tied for the second most in 60 games this season.
“We pitched well tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just didn’t score enough runs.”
Hyde handed the ball to Voth instead of Bautista in the bottom half of the inning, giving the right-hander the difficult task of stranding the automatic runner at second. He got two outs without allowing the runner on second to advance, but Wiemer, the Brewers’ No. 9 hitter, roped a hanging 1-2 curveball off the left field wall to score Andrew Monasterio and end the game.
“Anytime those guys [in the bullpen] give up runs it’s surprising,” Gibson said. “Those guys are really good down there. They’re gonna give up runs every now and then, and that’s how it’s gonna be. I think our offense always has confidence in them. I think if you asked them, they’d probably like to have a couple more on the board at that point and make it a little bit easier on them.”
Hyde said that if the Orioles had taken the lead in the top of the inning, he would have sent Bautista back out for a second frame, similar to Bautista’s dominant two-inning appearance in an extra-inning win over the Blue Jays in late May.
“With a tie game there, I just didn’t want to chase a win on the road in an extra-inning game like that with [Bautista] and lose him for a couple days,” Hyde said. “Tough decision. But Voth did a great job until he hung that breaking ball there at the end.”
Baltimore (37-23) is 3-4 in extra-inning games and has lost in walk-off fashion five times this season.
Gibson overcomes shaky first
Gibson looked nothing like himself in the first inning. The 35-year-old had command issues, missing glove side with his sinker and four-seamer often as he racked up 35 pitches. The Brewers (33-28) brought eight batters to the plate in the initial frame, managing three hits, one walk and one hit by pitch. Brian Anderson and Abraham Toro hit back-to-back RBI singles to give Milwaukee an early 2-0 lead.
Hicks’ 100.2 mph homer down the right field line tied the game an inning later, as the switch-hitter stayed back on a 73 mph curveball from right-hander Freddy Peralta and smashed the pitch 372 feet. Baltimore signed Hicks, a longtime Yankee, to fill in for the injured Cedric Mullins, and the 33-year-old has posted a 1.208 OPS in his brief time as an Oriole.
After the poor first and a one-out double to Christian Yelich in the second, Gibson retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced before he was pulled after a leadoff walk in the sixth. He retired the side in the third on eight pitches, stranded a runner at third with one out in a nine-pitch fourth and struck out the side in the fifth.
Gibson scattered five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in five-plus innings. It was only his second time striking out more than five batters in a start this season, as the right-hander entered Tuesday with the fifth-lowest strikeout rate among qualified starters. The 14 swings and misses he got are also the second most this season, behind his 11-strikeout, 18-whiff performance against the Detroit Tigers in April.
“Just kind of shows you the pro he is,” Hyde said of Gibson. “He gives up two in the first and does not have his command, yanking a lot of pitches. I’m a hitter away from having somebody up there in the first inning because the pitch count was getting so high. Fortunately for us, he found it that second inning on and pitched extremely well into the sixth inning.”
The Orioles struggled offensively in the middle innings, but O’Hearn’s opposite-field solo shot in the seventh broke the tie and gave Baltimore a 3-2 advantage. O’Hearn, who a month ago was on his second stint with Triple-A Norfolk, has spent most of the season in the same role he was in with Kansas City the past few seasons, playing sporadically as a left-handed bench bat. But his 2-for-4 night pushed his batting average to .302 and OPS to .911 in 58 plate appearances.
“If I’m driving the ball to left-center, staying on offspeed pitches better, yeah, I feel good where I’m at right now,” O’Hearn said.
Around the horn
- Before the game, the Orioles reinstated Coulombe off the bereavement list. Josh Lester was brought up last week when Coulombe was placed on the list, and rather than send down the 28-year-old minor league journeyman, the Orioles kept his left-handed bat and corner infield and outfield ability on their bench and optioned Terrin Vavra to Triple-A for the second time this season. The move brings the Orioles back to an even 13 pitchers and 13 position players, with a bench consisting of left-handed hitters Lester and O’Hearn and righties James McCann and McKenna.
- Gunnar Henderson’s lower back is “getting better,” Hyde said Tuesday afternoon. The 21-year-old third baseman hasn’t played since being removed in Saturday’s loss in San Francisco, but he took batting practice and fielded ground balls before Tuesday’s game. Henderson said his back was “tight” and that he was having trouble bending forward. He expects to be healthy enough to start Wednesday.
- The Orioles announced that right-handers Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish will start Wednesday and Thursday, maintaining the order of the rotation. When the Orioles sent Grayson Rodriguez down to Triple-A in late May, it opened up a spot in the rotation that the club hasn’t needed to fill thanks to multiple days off and choosing to have the bullpen fill an entire game last week. That cannot continue past Sunday, as none of the four members of Baltimore’s rotation will be rested enough to start that game against the Kansas City Royals.
- Hudson Haskin, the organization’s No. 23 prospect, is back in Triple-A Norfolk after a short stint with Double-A Bowie as he makes his way back from a hamstring injury. Haskin was in an impressive-looking Tides lineup Tuesday night — one that included recently promoted prospect Heston Kjerstad — but the game was postponed because of inclement weather. Infield prospect Joey Ortiz was also back in the lineup after missing much of the past two weeks with an illness.
Orioles at Brewers
Wednesday, 7:40 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/06/06/homers-from-aaron-hicks-ryan-ohearn-not-enough-as-orioles-fall-to-brewers-4-3-in-10-innings/