Orioles bullpen holds on without Félix Bautista, securing 5-4 win over Rockies in front of sellout crowd – Boston Herald
With a one-run lead in the ninth inning, the lights didn’t go down at Camden Yards and Omar’s whistle from “The Wire” didn’t announce that Félix is coming.
Instead, it was Yennier Cano who jogged out of Baltimore’s bullpen for the save opportunity in place of injured teammate and friend Félix Bautista.
It wasn’t the first trip Cano had Saturday that felt off. The Orioles’ setup man usually drives with Bautista to the stadium, and the latter is in charge of the music. But Bautista, who was placed on the 15-day injured list Saturday with an elbow injury he suffered Friday, had tests to undergo and couldn’t ride with Cano.
The extent to Bautista’s injury is unknown, but Saturday was the first day — for the Orioles and Cano — of life without their All-Star closer. The vibe at the ballpark might have been different in the ninth, but the result was the same. Cano, like Bautista almost definitely would have, retired the side in order to save the Orioles’ 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies in front of a sellout crowd.
“It’ll feel a little weird,” Cano said before the game through team interpreter Brandon Quinones. “I’ll be expecting the music and the lights to start coming on, and it’ll definitely feel weird. He puts on an entire show out there, so it’ll feel weird and you just kind of know that that’s his role.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said he expects his relievers to step up in Bautista’s absence. The bullpen bent, with Jacob Webb allowing two runs in the eighth, but didn’t break, as DL Hall, the left-handed pitching prospect the Orioles recalled to replace Bautista on the roster, kept the Orioles ahead by pitching a scoreless inning before Cano.
Kyle Bradish pitched six innings of two-run ball to remain one of the American League’s best starters. Ramón Urías, Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays and Anthony Santander all collected RBIs, with Santander’s insurance run on a double to score Jordan Westburg providing critical insurance.
The win is Baltimore’s 81st of the season — guaranteeing an above-.500 season — and fourth in a row. At 81-48, the Orioles are three games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays atop the AL standings.
The Orioles’ announced attendance of 42,535 is their fifth game of more than 40,000 this season. They had just four such games from 2018 to 2022, including the coronavirus pandemic-impacted seasons. The last time Oriole Park had this many games with 40,000-plus fans in a season was 2017 with seven.
Before the bullpen was needed, Baltimore’s best starter pitched like it. Bradish, who has emerged as one of the AL’s best starters this summer, pitched five stellar innings around one bad one to hand his bullpen a two-run lead. He scattered six hits and one walk while striking out eight.
The only runs he allowed came in the third inning, in which the National League-worst Rockies (48-81) scored two after the first three batters reached base. Leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon hit an RBI single and shortstop Ezequiel Tovar drove in a run on a fielder’s choice groundout.
Bradish’s 3.03 ERA ranks second in the AL among qualified starters, behind only the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole at 2.95. In 13 starts since mid-June, Bradish has a 2.23 ERA and 0.942 WHIP with 79 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.
Around the horn
- Jack Flaherty is expected to start Sunday, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said before Saturday’s game. Flaherty was scratched Wednesday as he dealt with “general soreness” from his most recent start, manager Brandon Hyde said at the time. Flaherty, a right-hander the Orioles acquired at the trade deadline from the St. Louis Cardinals, said he wasn’t able to “bounce back” the way he normally does after his start in San Diego on Aug. 15. Flaherty has pitched more innings this year than the previous two combined, adding him to the long list of Orioles starters with workload concerns. “That’s a big part of why — we’re doing this six-man rotation to help mitigate the fact that these guys are getting pushed beyond what they’ve done already and he’s part of that,” Elias said.
- When asked if Heston Kjerstad could be promoted to Baltimore when rosters expand to 28 players, Elias said the outfield prospect has “entered that conversation” thanks to his production at Triple-A. Kjerstad, the Orioles’ fifth-best prospect, entered Saturday hitting .306 with a .889 OPS. “Heston is having a wonderful season, especially given the context of everything that’s brought him to this point. He looks great,” Elias said. “He is certainly a candidate for any part of the stretch run here coming up should we decide he’s the guy.”
- High-A Aberdeen catching prospect Samuel Basallo, the club’s fourth-best minor leaguer, is being placed on the injured list with a concussion, the Orioles said. Triple-A backstop Anthony Bemboom is also being placed on the concussion IL. The team also said outfield prospect Enrique Bradfield Jr., the club’s 2023 first-round pick and eighth-best prospect, left Low-A Delmarva’s game Saturday as a precaution after suffering a left calf bruise on a hit by pitch.
This story will be updated.
Rockies at Orioles
Sunday, 1:35 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
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