The crowd at Camden Yards stood as Cole Irvin clapped his glove on his way into the dugout.

Seven scoreless innings were done, Irvin’s shutout streak extending to 13 2/3 innings as the Orioles beat the Athletics 7-0 on Saturday.

Irvin has never looked better in an Orioles uniform. It still may not be enough to save his spot.

With Kyle Bradish and John Means expected to return to the rotation within a week, someone has to be bumped from his role. Even if the Orioles go to a six-man rotation, one pitcher has to go and Irvin is a candidate.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“My job has been to just go out, take the ball and get outs,” Irvin said. “I’m excited to have them back, whenever that is. This is all about trying to execute pitches and keep our team in the game and do the right things by teammates. Obviously, it’s going to be a huge lift for us when they come back.”

Irvin has been in this position before, spending part of last year in the bullpen and ending his season in that spot. Irvin started in the rotation this year with Bradish and Means on the injured list. Irvin allowed 11 earned runs in his first three starts, but he began to pick up momentum in Boston, where he pitched, he said, without focusing too much on results.

His last outing, in Kansas City, was the proof of that switch. He went 6 2/3 innings, his longest start with the Orioles, while giving up no runs and just four hits.

His start Saturday, against the team he began his career with before he was traded in 2023, took it a step further. He made quick work of the Athletics the first time through the order, striking out three as he got through the first three innings on 33 pitches. He didn’t give up a hit until the fifth, when Abraham Toro had a leadoff single, but Irvin had no problem getting out of the inning without allowing any damage.

Irvin was still rolling when the seventh inning came around, at 62 pitches when the frame started. Brent Rooker connected on an outside changeup, lining the ball right at Irvin, who deflected the pitch off his middle finger. He was checked by the trainer, remained in the game and ended the inning to secure a seven-inning start, his longest as an Oriole.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Ryan Mountcastle enjoys himself after hitting a fifth-inning home run Saturday as the Orioles beat the Athletics at Camden Yards. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

“I just think pitching to both sides of the plate, a little bit better pitch mix and a little bit more unpredictable with what’s coming,” manager Brandon Hyde said when asked what’s worked for Irvin. “The cutter in has been more effective. He has to me a better changeup these last two starts also. But working ahead of hitters and attacking the strike zone.”

The Orioles had no problem giving Irvin support. Small ball got three runs on the board in the fourth. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle hit back-to-back solo home runs in the fifth to add two more, and Gunnar Henderson added a two-run shot in the seventh.

It was a no-doubter, Henderson admiring his work from just outside the batter’s box as his ninth home run of the season soared to the flag courts. Only Mike Trout (10) has more this season.

“Honestly, just letting my instincts take over,” Henderson said. “Feel like I’m not trying to do too much but just trying to get out there, put a good swing on the ball and swing at pitches that I know I can do damage with.”

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

More From The Banner