The Baltimore Orioles look to continue their dominance over the visiting Los Angeles Angels and move one step closer to winning their third straight series on Wednesday.
The Orioles knocked off the Angels for the ninth time in the teams’ past 11 meetings with a 7-3 win on Tuesday after dropping the opener of the four-game series 9-5 a night earlier.
Ryan Mountcastle keyed the latest Baltimore win in an atypical role. Mountcastle, who typically starts at first base or designated hitter, came off the bench in the fourth inning as a pinch hitter and delivered.
Mountcastle doubled in the Orioles’ three-run fourth inning that gave them a 4-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and he blasted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to secure the win. Mountcastle finished 2-for-2 after replacing Ryan O’Hearn, who hit a solo homer in the second inning in his lone plate appearance.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said before the game he planned to play Mountcastle at some point on Tuesday, but he didn’t envision using him as early as he did.
However, when Hyde saw the Angels were turning to left-handed reliever Tucker Davidson, he had the right-handed-hitting Mountcastle grab a bat.
“They were bringing a lefty out of the ‘pen, and it was a close game,” Mountcastle said, “so I wasn’t super surprised.”
The big effort came after Mountcastle went 0-for-11 with six strikeouts the previous three days. On the positive side, Mountcastle has as many multi-hit games this month, five, as hitless games. The long ball was his first since he hit two against the Kansas City Royals on May 2.
O’Hearn also was in the midst of a rough month before he went deep on Tuesday. He had appeared in just three previous games in May, and he was 0-for-7 in those contests.
“When you have a lineup as talented as this, I don’t mind (the limited playing time) at all,” O’Hearn said. “I just want to see my name in the lineup, contribute in any way possible.”
While it wasn’t the Angels’ night on Tuesday, at least they avoided even worse news. Davidson exited in the sixth inning after Ryan McKenna hit a shot back up the middle that struck the left-hander’s left foot and bounded into left field for a double.
Davidson was able to walk off the field right after that play, and manager Phil Nevin said postgame that Davidson sustained no serious damage.
The Angels will look to bounce back on Wednesday behind Griffin Canning (2-1, 6.38 ERA). The right-hander was ineffective in his latest start, when he allowed five runs on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk in just 3 2/3 innings in a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros on May 10. He has a 10.38 ERA in two starts this month.
Canning has struggled in three career appearances (two starts) against the Orioles, going 0-2 with a 14.46 ERA, eight strikeouts and seven walks in 9 1/3 innings. He was rocked for six runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings the last time he faced Baltimore on July 2, 2021.
Whichever backstop the Angels use to catch Canning, they will get a hitter in good form. No. 1 catcher Matt Thaiss is batting .302 on the year after going 2-for-4 on Tuesday.
Backup catcher Chad Wallach, viewed as more of a defensive presence than an offensive threat, went 3-for-5 on Monday. He is 7-for-16 (.438) this month, raising his average to .314.
“The biggest thing is just giving myself time to hit,” Wallach said of his revised approach at the plate, according to the Orange County Register. “Just getting started early enough. That’s the thing that I focus on mostly. It sounds super simple, but the more time you have to hit, the better you’re going to see the ball.”
The Orioles will hand the ball to right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-1, 4.56 ERA), who will be facing the Angels for the first time.
Bradish is coming off one of his best starts of the season. He held the Pittsburgh Pirates to an unearned run on three hits with six strikeouts and a walk in six innings during a no-decision on Friday.
–Field Level Media