Orioles bash Angels, 10-3, for series sweep behind Austin Hays’ 4-for-4 night, Kyle Gibson’s bounce-back start – Boston Herald
Austin Hays’ 2023 season was beginning to mirror his 2022 one.
Last season, the outfielder was perhaps the team’s best player through June with an .810 OPS. But he struggled throughout the second half as he battled through multiple injuries, including a wrist injury he suffered in late June. He hit just .219 after the injury.
This year, Hays was even better in the first half. He wasn’t just the Orioles’ offensive leader, he was one of the best outfielders in the major leagues. His .314 batting average and .853 OPS earned him an All-Star Game nomination. Although, again, he stumbled to begin the second half as his numbers plummeted.
But his monster performance Wednesday in Baltimore’s 10-3 win over the the Los Angeles Angels — 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs — was the latest example that Hays has broken out of his slump and is back to the hitter he was in the first half.
The 28-year-old accounted for six of the Orioles’ 10 runs and one-third of their 12 hits. After roping a double down the left field line in the second, he scored on Ramón Urías’ RBI single that put Baltimore on the board. An inning later, Hays drove in two with a line-drive single to left field and came around on a two-run single from Aaron Hicks. In the seventh, he drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, and he capped off his night in style with a solo home run in the eighth.
In his first 100 at-bats after starting in center field in the All-Star Game, he hit .180 with a measly .467 OPS. But in his past 18 games he’s slashing .338/.413/.646 — good for a 1.059 OPS — to re-establish himself as one of the Orioles’ best hitters. After catering to a .279 average and .754 OPS in mid-August, Hays is back up to hitting .288 with a .799 OPS.
The only run-scoring plays Wednesday that didn’t involve Hays came off the bat of Anthony Santander, who drove in a run in the sixth on a ground ball single and two more in the eighth on his 27th homer of the season.
The beneficiary of Hays’ big day was starting pitcher Kyle Gibson, who tossed six innings of three-run ball for his team-best and career-high 14th win of the season.
Baltimore (88-51) remains 3 1/2 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the best record in the American League. The Orioles have won five straight games, 11 of their past 15 and six consecutive series. The sweep is their ninth of the season while not being swept since last May.
This story will be updated.
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