Before Orioles manager Brandon Hyde could address his club’s 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night at Camden Yards, he offered up an apology for his profane language from the dugout in a shouting match with Blue Jays starting pitcher Robbie Ray.
He was embarrassed, he said, for how he handled what he believed were unfair accusations at his dugout from Ray, and he acknowledged the language he chose to stick up for his players was unprofessional.
Maybe even worse, though, was how his shouting at Ray in the second inning overshadowed a win over baseball’s hottest team, thanks to a three-run home run by Anthony Santander in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie.
“It’s upsetting to me that we’re talking about this instead of talking about a lot of good things that we did tonight,” Hyde said as the Orioles (46-94) won for the eighth time in 16 games since their 19-game losing streak last month, this time in front of an announced 11,751 fans.
Santander’s home run was just a small piece of that, though.
Cedric Mullins homered to begin the Orioles’ first inning and rookie Ryan McKenna followed it quickly with a two-run home run of his own. The Orioles had Ray on the ropes for more in the second when he and Hyde started arguing, and then Baltimore’s bats went quiet.
All the while, Orioles right-hander Chris Ellis did well to keep down a Toronto lineup that just pounded its way to a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees and didn’t trail once in that series. Friday night’s loss ended an eight-game winning streak for the Blue Jays, which brought them within a game of the Yankees for the second American League wild-card spot.
Ellis, the waiver claim from the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays who out of necessity slid right into the rotation for the Orioles, has looked like a shrewd pickup.
Even though he had some tense moments in leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth, he completed five innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out four and walking four. In four starts, he has a 2.55 ERA. Only John Means and Matt Harvey had put together four-start stretches that good for the Orioles this season.
Hyde said these were “five really good innings,” and Ellis said that while he’s walked too many batters of late, he’s happy to be able to throw strikes when he needs to.
Soon after Ellis exited in the fifth, the Orioles’ lead evaporated in sloppy fashion. Fernando Abad allowed a leadoff double to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who tried to take third base on a chopper up the middle two batters later. Second baseman Jahmai Jones fielded it cleanly and tried to cut Gurriel down at third, but his throw skipped past Kelvin Gutiérrez.
As Abad rushed to cover, he ended up shoulder-tackling Gurriel on his way home. An error on Gutiérrez’s throw home allowed the batter, Randal Grichuk, to get to third. He scored two batters later on a double by Marcus Semien off Conner Greene.
The Orioles didn’t threaten to regain their lead until the seventh inning, when Mullins reached on an error, Trey Mancini walked and Santander scored them both with his 15th home run of the year.
Santander, who has had an uneven season for the Orioles, hadn’t homered in his past 13 games.
“It’s been a tough year for Anthony in a lot of ways,” Hyde said. “To see him come through like that off a good arm out of their bullpen and give us a lead — we kind of gave them a couple runs there to tie it and for him to pop one like he did was enormous. Hopefully that can get him going there for the last few weeks, because that was a beautiful swing.”
Cole Sulser recorded the save by pitching the eighth and ninth.
Lowering the temperature from heated exchange
Hyde wouldn’t get into specifics of what his dugout was being accused of, though the third-year manager said he was “surprised” by it.
“That’s why it caught me off guard to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “That’s why I reacted the way I did, sticking up for our guys. We do things the right way here. We play the game the right way and we do things the right way in the dugout. I felt like our guys were being targeted a little bit and I wish I would have handled it a little differently than I did.”
There wasn’t much detail from the Blue Jays’ side after the game, either. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said he didn’t want to comment on the situation, but commended Ray for keeping his composure.
“I’m not going to waste my time with someone that doesn’t get in the box,” Ray said. “I don’t have the time of day.”
Mullins’ first-inning home run was his eighth such blast of the season and No. 28 overall, and when he reached again in the eighth inning, he stole his 27th and 28th base of the season. The attempt to cut him down at third hit him in the helmet.
If Mullins reaches 30 in each category, he’d be the first in Orioles history to do so. As it stands, the first-time All-Star is the first player with at least 28 home runs and 28 steals in franchise history.
“Once again, just an outstanding ballgame,” Hyde said.
Harvey, López done for season
Hyde said before Friday’s game that right-handers Matt Harvey (knee) and Jorge López (ankle) wouldn’t pitch again this season, though he had plenty of praise for each and said he’d welcome both pending free agents back in 2022.
Harvey went on the injured list with knee soreness after making his 28th start of the season Tuesday, while López sprained his ankle on Monday while covering first base.
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Game 2: Approximately 8:05 p.m