The Orioles took four leads Saturday but couldn’t hold any of them.
After taking a one-run lead in the 10th, the Orioles surrendered two runs in the bottom half of the inning in a 7-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Rookie Oscar Colás’ single to right field gave the White Sox the walk-off win.
The Orioles (8-7) scored in the top of the 10th thanks to the automatic runner placed at second base at the start of the inning. Jorge Mateo laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Gunnar Henderson to third, and after Cedric Mullins drew a walk, Adley Rutschman beat out a potential double play on a ground ball to short, allowing Henderson to score the go-ahead run.
But in the bottom half of the inning, reliever Logan Gillaspie allowed an RBI double to White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal to tie the game. Jake Burger then singled to send pinch-runner Seby Zavala to third before Colás’ walk-off hit over the head of Anthony Santander in right field. Gillaspie (0-1) didn’t record an out in the inning.
Baltimore led 1-0 in the fourth, 4-2 in the sixth, 5-4 in the seventh and 6-5 in the 10th, but Chicago quickly responded each time. The Orioles finished 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
“We had chances,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought it was a really good baseball game to be honest with you. Punches thrown, back and forth, both teams. We came on the short end. Grandal hits a ball on the chalk [down the left field line] in the 10th innings, which led to some other things.”
Mateo stays hot
Last June, Mateo took a 99 mph fastball from Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech off his back, causing the benches and bullpens to clear. Per usual, the scuffle was just verbal, and no players were ejected.
But, despite the loss, Mateo got his comeuppance Saturday.
The shortstop hit a solo home run off Kopech and finished 3-for-4 with two scorching singles.
“What happened last year, I leave in the past,” Mateo said. “I’m not focused on that anymore. Just trying to come in today and do the best I could, trying to hit line drives.”
Mateo, known for his speed and defensive prowess instead of his bat, has been one of the Orioles’ best hitters through the first 15 games of the season. The 27-year-old is hitting .350 with a 1.038 OPS — far better than the .221 average and .646 OPS he put up in 2022.
His solo shot to lead off the third inning traveled 424 feet to left-center field. He stayed on a 2-2 slider from Kopech, a former top prospect with the Boston Red Sox, for his third long ball of the season. He also hit an RBI double Friday after coming off the bench in the comeback victory.
Two innings later, Mateo roped a single off Kopech but was thrown out attempting to steal second. The speedster entered the game tied with Mullins for the MLB lead in steals with seven, but was caught stealing for the first time this season. Mullins stole a base in the first inning to take the league lead with eight. Baltimore entered the game tied with the Cleveland Guardians for the most steals in baseball.
The 111.0 mph exit velocity on Mateo’s single was tied with Ryan Mountcastle for the hardest batted ball by an Oriole this season, but Mateo topped it in the sixth with a 112.4 mph RBI single off reliever Keynan Middleton to give Baltimore a 3-2 lead.
“Swung the bat great,” Hyde said of Mateo. “Staying on the baseball is the bottom line with him, staying closed and saying on the baseball.”
Earlier in the inning, Santander hit a solo home run to right field off Kopech. The blast was the first of the season for Santander, who led the Orioles with 33 home runs in 2022. The switch-hitter entered the game batting just .167 with three hits in his previous nine games.
The Orioles also scored on bases-loaded walks from Mullins — who walked three times and also had a bases-loaded walk Friday — and pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn, who has five RBIs in three games since joining the Orioles on Thursday. After walking nine times Friday, Baltimore earned 10 more free bases Saturday.
Defensive struggles continue
The Orioles made several impressive defensive plays Friday and Saturday, but they spoiled them with three errors.
Starting pitcher Kyle Gibson threw wide of first after fielding a swinging bunt by the first batter of the game for a two-base error. Mateo then made a fielding error in the fifth and Henderson committed a throwing error in the seventh. However, the errors didn’t cause any more runs to come home.
“We didn’t play our best defense,” Hyde said.
Gibson was solid in his fourth start of the season, but he hung a sweeper to Burger, who crushed a two-run homer for his second blast of the series. The veteran right-hander also allowed a sacrifice fly to Burger in the fourth and an RBI double to Andrew Benintendi in the fifth. Gibson surrendered seven hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and just one strikeout.
“Obviously, the slider is the one pitch I’d like to have back,” Gibson said. “It really made it tough on the bullpen the rest of the game. Offense goes out and gets you a lead, you got to get to the sixth inning right there. There’s just no other thing about it.”
After O’Hearn’s RBI walk in the seventh, Chicago tied the game at 5 on Andrew Vaughn’s RBI double off Orioles reliever Bryan Baker. The run was charged to left-hander Danny Coulombe, his first allowed this season.
Urías exits after hit to head
In the seventh, Orioles third baseman Ramón Urías was hit by a pitch and left the game.
Urías took a 96.2 mph sinker from reliever Kendall Graveman off his helmet and fell to the ground grabbing his head.
Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel ran out to check on Urías, who laid on the ground for a minute before walking off the field without assistance. He was replaced by Henderson.
Hyde said after the game that Urías is in concussion protocol. He called the hit-by-pitch a “scary moment.”
“When I went there his eyes were open, and obviously he looked extremely rattled,” Hyde said. “But him walking off was definitely a positive.”
Around the horn
- Saturday was Jackie Robinson Day across MLB. All 30 teams wore No. 42 to honor the all-time great who broke the color barrier in 1947. “It’s a special day,” Hyde said “It’s the one day of the season where we really get to celebrate what Jackie did for the sport, for the country, for the world. It’s an honor, honestly, to wear that 42 on a day like today.”
- Hyde said starting pitcher Kyle Bradish (bruised right foot) made it out of his minor league rehabilitation start Friday healthy. Bradish allowed four runs in five innings in the Double-A contest. “We’re making those decisions now,” Hyde said about when Bradish could rejoin the team. He’s eligible to come off the injured list Wednesday.
Orioles at White Sox
Sunday, 2:10 p.m.
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