Rookie right-hander Kyle Bradish ended the Orioles’ stretch of poor starts, but Baltimore’s offensive struggles continued to dampen the club’s postseason hopes.
A first-inning run off Bradish was the only one scored in Sunday’s series finale against the Boston Red Sox, a game that began after a rain delay of more than an hour. The Orioles went hitless in seven at-bats with a runner in scoring position in the 1-0 loss, their sixth defeat in eight games as they dropped the series to Boston and risked moving as many as six games back in the American League wild-card race with 22 games remaining.
Tommy Pham began the day with a single off Bradish, stole second, went to third on a groundball and scored on Xander Bogaerts’ sacrifice fly. Bradish did not allow another hit until the seventh, following it with an inning-ending double play. It marked the third time in four starts Bradish allowed no more than two hits while working at least seven innings and gave Baltimore (73-67) its first quality start in nine games.
Bradish, who turns 26 on Monday, has a 2.86 ERA in nine starts since returning from an injured list stint for right shoulder inflammation. That includes a 2.05 ERA in five outings since moving to the first-base side of the pitching rubber, compared to a 6.38 mark in his previous major league appearances.
But an Orioles lineup absent Cedric Mullins, Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson against left-hander Rich Hill couldn’t support Bradish. Manager Brandon Hyde said a foul ball off Rutschman’s foot Saturday led to some soreness, while the other two sat to avoid left-on-left matchups with Hill.
Ryan Mountcastle’s run of poor luck on well-struck balls continued in the first, when Pham smacked the left field wall making a jumping catch on his first-inning drive. With two on and two outs in the third, he again flied out to left.
The bottom two hitters in Baltimore’s order, Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos, opened the fifth with a hit-by-pitch and walk, respectively, but they were stranded when Ryan McKenna popped up a bunt attempt before Hill struck out Anthony Santander and Mountcastle. Odor was again hit with an offering, this time from Matt Strahm, to begin the seventh, throwing his bat and staring down Strahm on his way to first. He reached second on a balk but was left there as the Orioles’ average with runners in scoring position in September dropped to .203, a mark that entered Sunday 26th of the 30 major league teams.
Odor exited the game in the ninth with a bruised right hand. The Orioles said X-rays were negative for breaks.
After striking out as a pinch-hitter with Hill out of the game, Henderson walked with two outs in the eighth in his second plate appearance but was narrowly forced out at second on a groundball from Austin Hays, who otherwise reached three times for only the third time since the All-Star break.
Mullins replaced Odor in the lineup and was the second out of the ninth, with Rutschman lining out as a pinch-hitter for Chirinos to end the game.
Around the horn
- Closer Félix Bautista said through team interpreter Brandon Quinones that he would have been available if needed in losses Saturday and Sunday after he didn’t pitch in Friday’s victory because of arm fatigue. In the bottom of the eighth Sunday, he warmed to pitch in case the Orioles took the lead. Hyde said he plans to continue to use the rookie right-hander frequently but likely won’t push him to two innings as he did in Tuesday’s outing that led to the issue.
- During the game, the Orioles claimed catcher Cam Gallgher from the San Diego Padres and designated right-hander Rico Garcia for assignment. Gallgher, 29, spent parts of six season playing for the Kansas City Royals, hitting .240 with a .656 OPS.
- Right-handers Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells will start in the Orioles’ two-game road series against the Washington Nationals that begins Tuesday.
This story will be updated.
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