The Baltimore Orioles are coming home to continue their wild-card chase.
After completing a 4-2 road trip against the Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians, the Orioles play 20 of their final 32 games in Baltimore.
Trailing the Toronto Blue Jays by 1 1/2 games for the third American League wild-card spot, Baltimore opens a 10-game homestand Friday night with the first of three games against the Oakland Athletics. Then it’s four against Toronto and three vs. the Boston Red Sox.
“We welcome it, for sure,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said about playing at home. “We’re looking forward to playing a lot of games in front of our home fans in September, hopefully games that mean stuff.”
The Orioles took the rubber game from Shane Bieber and the Guardians 3-0 on Thursday. Baltimore got seven strong innings from rookie Kyle Bradish and solo homers from Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle.
“I’ll take it,” Hyde said. “We go 4-2 on the trip against Houston and Cleveland and the pitching staffs that they have and the playoff-type teams that they have.”
Baltimore right-hander Dean Kremer (6-4, 3.24 ERA) looks to continue his series of strong starts when he takes the ball on Friday.
Over his past three outings, Kremer is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 13 strikeouts and three walks. On Saturday, he gave up one run and four hits over 7 2/3 innings — his longest start of the season — in a 3-1 win over Houston.
“Getting out there and getting to experience the eighth is a little bit different,” Kremer said. “The more experience you get, the positive experience you can get, the better. It will help you in the long run.”
JP Sears (5-1, 2.28) is set to make his fifth start for the Athletics. Obtained as part of the trade that sent Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino to the New York Yankees at the deadline, the 26-year-old left-hander has been impressive for the A’s thus far, going 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA.
Sears took his first loss last time out, giving up three runs on eight hits over six innings against his former team on Aug. 26. He struck out three and issued four walks. Despite the defeat, Sears earned praise from opposing starter Gerrit Cole.
“He has above-average fastball command and he’s got some wits about him,” Cole said after the Yankees’ 3-2 victory. “I think that he pitched really well tonight. Obviously, this is a tough lineup. He got in a lot of traffic.”
The A’s appeared on the verge of a series win against the Washington Nationals on Thursday when Shea Langeliers, who homered earlier, smacked an opposite-field, two-run double to give Oakland a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning.
Norge Ruiz couldn’t hold the advantage, however, in the bottom of the inning. Washington’s Keibert Ruiz singled home the tying run, and Joey Meneses capped a four-hit day with a three-run homer to send the A’s to a 7-5 loss.
Langeliers, a 24-year-old rookie, entered Thursday on an 0-for-15 skid, but he hit his third homer in 14 major league games.
“Good at-bats. He’s learning this league,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of Langeliers, adding that opposing pitchers are “learning him, they’re making adjustments, and it was good to see him make that adjustment in that last at-bat and take the ball the other way off the wall.”
–Field Level Media