The Orioles have made a name for themselves as the comeback kids this season. After all, they lead the American League with 33 come-from-behind wins.
But Sunday, as they went for their eighth straight win, they didn’t have to create much suspense. Kyle Bradish gave them a strong start. The offense took advantage of Miami’s bullpen game, putting up three runs before Marlins opener Steven Okert even recorded an out.
It was almost too easy, so they added in a little drama, with the Marlins scoring four runs in the ninth on a weakened bullpen. Still, the game ended with Baltimore on top 5-4, giving them the sweep over Miami and moving the Orioles within one game of Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Rays lost 8-4 to the Royals.
“That was a little too dicey there at the end,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
The Orioles (57-35) begin a three-game series against the Dodgers on Monday, with Grayson Rodriguez making his return to the major leagues after his demotion in May.
On Sunday, they did it without heavy hitters Aaron Hicks and Cedric Mullins, who were out of the lineup with lower back soreness and right quadriceps tightness, respectively. They weren’t nearly as missed as Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista were, though; both late-inning relievers rested after pitching the last two nights.
That ninth inning almost erased the stellar start from Bradish. He picked up right where he left off before the All-Star break, when he pitched six shutout innings against the Yankees. This time, he went a season-high 7 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits.
Bradish didn’t allow a baserunner until the third, when he hit Joey Wendle with a pitch, and didn’t give up a hit until the fifth, when Dane Myers singled. More notably, he held MLB batting average leader Luis Arraez off the basepaths, a rarity for a guy hitting .382.
Bradish’s day ended in the eighth, when a call was overturned at first, resulting in a single for Myers. The Camden Yards crowd gave Bradish a standing ovation as he exited. His fastball moved around; his sinker worked to both sides. Bradish added more curveballs his second time through the Marlins’ lineup, as has been his game plan in his last few outings.
The Orioles’ starting pitching depth has been a question mark all season, but Bradish, aside from one blow-up in April, has largely delivered for them.
“Going into it, I knew I had to go deep into this game because [Bautista and Cano] weren’t available,” Bradish said. “I would have loved to get through the eighth there.”
It helped that the Orioles gave Bradish the lead from the start. They opened the bottom of the first with doubles from Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman. Anthony Santander followed with a home run, the 100th of his career. The Orioles drove Okert out after one-third of an inning, putting a dent in the Marlins’ plans to rely on relief pitchers to get through the game.
Baltimore added its two other runs in the fourth, taking advantage of being hit twice and a Marlins error.
The only stress came in the ninth inning, when reliever Eduard Bazardo couldn’t wrap things up. He had to be pulled after just one-third of an inning, forcing Hyde, who is carrying just seven relievers, to bring in Danny Coulombe to get the last two outs.
Coulombe knew he might get the call with the big two down. He got through the rest of the ninth for the Orioles, getting Arraez to line out to end the game as Coulombe earned his first career save.
“This team never quits. Guys step up,” Coulombe said. “It’s a really, really good team, really young, and it’s just going to get better.”