Orioles Magic is spreading through baseball like a wild fire in a California forest.
Everywhere you look, there is a new playoff contender finding out what this young and hungry team from Baltimore is really made of.
The Houston Astros, owners of the best record in the American League, were a juggernaut that hadn’t had much to worry about since the All-Star Break, even overtaking the Yankees for best record in the AL.
What they didn’t expect was for a scrappy team like the Baltimore Orioles to stand in their way, especially in their house. Not only did the O’s give the Astros a hard time, but they stifled them with strong pitching, most notably from their three starters.
In each game, an Orioles starter went at least six innings, with just two earned runs allowed against one of the league’s best offenses.
As one of the top-hitting teams in baseball, each Orioles starter would yield four or less hits in their outing, and O’s pitching held Houston to a total of 14 hits across the three-game series.
Game one saw rookie Kyle Bradish (2-5), who has been learning on the job, pitch eight innings of two-hit ball, striking out six in route to his second major league victory. It was the most dominating performance of his young career, as all four of his pitches were keeping the Astros’ lineup off balance all night.
Ramón Urías led the offense, hitting a two-run home run off the rail road tracks, which would be the difference in the game. Dillion Tate would finish the game, picking up his third save of the season.
Game two was another young pitcher, another dominate outing.
Dean Kremer (6-4) would toe the rubber and pitch 7.2 innings of one-run ball to shut down the Houston lineup once again. Félix “The Mountain” Bautista would come in and work the final 1.1 innings to pick up save number 10 on the season.
The offense was led by a two-run homer from Anthony Santander and a solo shot by Austin Hays, another homer to the rail road tracks in the third inning, as the Birds would win the game, 3-1, securing another series victory, their fourth in a row.
Game three saw Austin Voth (4-2) take the mound, and he followed suit, pitching six innings of one-run ball, striking out four.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, their lone run came on an RBI single by Hays in the ninth inning, as they dropped the final game to Houston, 3-1.
The Baltimore Battery ❌-FACTOR heading into the series was the ability for the Orioles’ rookies to stand up to the pressure of the playoff push against a heavyweight team in the Astros.
Kyle Bradish led the way with his dominant performance in game one, and Félix Bautista picked up a multi-inning save in game two.
Kyle Stowers went 3-for-4 at the plate with a walk and a run scored, while Adley Rutschman caught and called the first two games, hitting .300 for the series, scoring a run and collecting two walks.
Each rookie played a role in helping to turn the series in the Orioles’ favor and showed that the pressure will only make them rise to the occasion.
The Orioles are currently 1.5 games behind the third AL Wild Card spot and the same distance from third place in the AL East. After a day of rest Monday, the Orioles will open a three-game series in Cleveland against the AL-Central-leading Guardians.
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