‘It felt like a playoff game’: O’s prove mettle in series win

ST. PETERSBURG — The phrase “playoff-like environment” was uttered by quite a few Orioles gamers within the guests’ clubhouse at Tropicana Subject in current days. The veterans who’ve skilled the postseason know this four-game collection vs. the Rays has been much like what October seems like. The kids couldn’t be fairly as sure, however they’ll think about it.

If this was an audition for the way an up-and-coming Baltimore squad may deal with playoff baseball, take into account it a rousing success.

The Orioles once more took down the Rays on Sunday afternoon, notching a 5-3 victory to seal a collection win. Baltimore received three of the 4 contests in opposition to Tampa Bay, every of which was determined by three runs or fewer and had a big, vocal crowd with a ton of O’s followers in attendance.

Getting into Thursday, the division rivals had been tied atop the American League East. Now, the AL-best Orioles (61-38, a season-high 23 video games above .500) have a two-game lead over the Rays (61-42), who had been in first place day-after-day of the season till after the collection opener.

“For among the guys that don’t have playoff expertise, like myself, it felt like a playoff sport,” rookie infielder Gunnar Henderson stated. “Simply actually getting that and getting a way of what it could really feel like is simply going to assist us down the highway.”

Ryan O’Hearnwho delivered a go-ahead RBI single within the ninth inning of Saturday’s wingot here via with one other massive blow in Sunday’s finale. The 29-year-old first baseman gave Baltimore a 4-3 lead within the sixth with a Statcast-projected 331-foot solo house run vs. left-hander Colin Poche that clanged off the left-field foul pole, the shortest homer by an Orioles participant this 12 months.

It was solely the fourth of O’Hearn’s 46 profession massive league house runs to return in opposition to a lefty, and the primary since June 11, 2019. There have been some sudden contributors for Baltimore this season, and maybe none is taking part in higher than O’Hearn, who’s slashing .313/.358/.528 with eight homers and 32 RBIs over 55 video games in his first 12 months with the Orioles.

“I’ve stated many instances how particular it’s to me to be part of this crew. I’m having fun with day-after-day I get to point out up,” O’Hearn stated. “If you contribute, it makes it that a lot sweeter.”

The Orioles’ offense additionally included a first-inning RBI double by Adley Rutschman, a Statcast-projected 446-foot two-run homer from Henderson within the second — which hit the D-ring catwalk excessive above the rays tank in right-center area — and an RBI single by Anthony Santander within the seventh.

After starter Tyler Wells allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings, Baltimore’s bullpen mixed for 4 2/3 scoreless frames, with Mike Baumann (2 2/3), Yennier Cano (one) and nearer Félix Bautista (one) shutting down Tampa Bay’s lineup. The Rays completed with three hits — a two-run homer by Yandy Díaz within the fifth and singles by Manuel Margot and Díaz within the ninth.

In line with the Elias Sports activities Bureau, the Orioles had received just one four-game collection at Tropicana Subject. Additionally they took three of 4 in opposition to the Rays from April 10-13, 2006.

Baltimore hadn’t had a lot success at The Trop lately, dropping 17 of the 21 video games it performed on the domed ballpark from 2020-22. This season, the Orioles have received 4 of six in St. Petersburg, and so they have a 6-3 lead of their collection in opposition to the Rays.

“Powerful place to play, hassle taking part in right here up to now, and we simply performed 4 actually good video games in opposition to a very good crew. And [I’m] simply actually happy with all of our guys’ efforts,” supervisor Brandon Hyde stated. “All people contributed. We did loads of issues nicely this collection, and hopefully, we are able to preserve it rolling.”

With solely 4 conferences remaining between these AL East rivals (Sept. 14-17 at Camden Yards), Tampa Bay would wish to comb Baltimore then to take the season collection, which has been received by the Rays yearly from 2017-22. Division tiebreakers are decided by head-to-head report, so the Orioles are in an excellent spot.

Nevertheless, Baltimore nonetheless has 63 video games to play — a undeniable fact that was verbalized by members of the Orioles all through the weekend. They know they’re on observe to succeed in the postseason for the primary time since 2016 — and perhaps even win the AL East for the primary time since ‘14 — however they’ll’t get complacent with somewhat greater than two months to go within the common season.

Nonetheless, it was a press release for Baltimore to topple Tampa Bay in probably the most high-stakes collection of the season up to now, persevering with to show it’s geared up for playoff-style baseball.

“Two actually good groups going at it. It was a grinder each sport,” O’Hearn stated. “They’ve received a very good crew over there, and so will we. Each pitch issues, each inning issues, each hit. So [we’re] simply making an attempt to take it one pitch at a time and play as laborious as we are able to, and [I’m] glad we got here out on prime.

“Additionally, yeah, it’s solely July, we’ve received a protracted option to go. However [we’ll] undoubtedly take a win right here on the highway in opposition to these guys and be ok with ourselves.”

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Revealed : 2023-07-23 22:20:00

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