The Mariners honored King Félix on Saturday. The Orioles showed a new reign has begun.
After Seattle inducted Félix Hernández into their hall of fame, Baltimore beat the Mariners, 1-0, in 10 innings, with Ryan Mountcastle singling in automatic runner Cedric Mullins in the top half of the extra frame before closer Félix Bautista stranded Seattle’s free runner in the bottom half with three strikeouts in his second inning.
Mountcastle’s go-ahead knock was his second hit of the night, giving him half of Baltimore’s total in a dominant pitching night by both teams. The Orioles (72-45) failed to get in a runner in scoring position in second-year Seattle starter George Kirby’s first eight innings. They finally managed one in the ninth when Jordan Westburg singled and stole second, but Kirby retired the next two batters, spiking the ball after catching Mullins’ foul popup to end the inning.
That meant Mullins began the top of the 10th at second base after a scoreless bottom of the ninth from Bautista, and he stole third and scored on Mountcastle’s single up the middle. Mountcastle’s second-inning single gave him 19 straight games on base, a season high for the Orioles.
In his first start in more than a month, left-hander Cole Irvin provided the Orioles with five shutout innings. The entrant into Baltimore’s rotation when it expanded to six, Irvin has endured a season of fluctuation. Acquired from the Oakland Athletics this offseason for infield prospect Darell Hernaiz, he opened the year as Baltimore’s third starter but was optioned to Triple-A after three starts. He has since had three separate stints in the Orioles’ bullpen interspersed with another return to the minors and five major league starts in which he posted a 2.66 ERA.
“He’s been such a team guy,” manager Brandon Hyde said Friday. “He’s really genuine. He just wants to do anything he can to help the club, and that’s a common phrase, but that’s true when he says it, honestly. He wants to be up here, whether it’s middle relief, whether I use him in the seventh to the eighth inning like I did a few nights ago, or start. He wants to do anything he can to contribute.”
With Oakland, Irvin was an average but dependable starter the past two years, making at least 30 starts and pitching about 180 innings both seasons. Saturday’s start left him with 53 frames with Baltimore this year, but with many of the Orioles’ young starters approaching or surpassing their career highs for innings, Irvin’s return to an expanded rotation affords them more rest.
Working on a limited pitch count in his first start since holding the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins to one run in 6 1/3 innings July 7, Irvin pounded the zone, a trait he was known for with Oakland. He threw a first-pitch strike to the first 10 Mariners, retiring nine of them.
A strenuous fourth inning upped his pitch count, but a quick fifth left Irvin at 67, more than he threw in his previous three appearances in August combined. He finished 16-for-18 on first-pitch strikes.
The outing was by far the most effective of his career against the Mariners, as he entered 0-6 with an 8.42 ERA in six career appearances facing Seattle. He was not popular with the sold-out crowd at T-Mobile Park, having said after a 2021 start against Seattle, “A team like that should not be putting up 10 hits against me or anyone.”
The Mariners managed only two hits off Irvin on Saturday, and although they put runners on in the sixth, seventh and eighth, they entered the ninth 0-for-7 for runners in scoring position. The Orioles, meanwhile, did have any such opportunities until the ninth, shut down by Kirby.
Through eight innings, Kirby allowed only two hits — singles by Mountcastle in the second and Austin Hays in the eighth — and no walks. He came back out for the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Westburg, who stole second as pinch-hitter Gunnar Henderson struck out. Pitching with a runner in scoring position for the first time, Kirby got Adley Rutschman to ground out before catching a popup from Mullins himself.
Coming off a rough showing in Friday night’s 9-2 series-opening loss, the Orioles managed seven hits through the series’ first 18 innings.
Mountcastle’s made it eight in 19, and with three strikeouts in the 10th, Bautista made it hold up.
Around the horn
- In his second start since being optioned to Double-A Bowie, right-hander Tyler Wells allowed a run in 3 1/3 innings, matching his line from his first outing. Wells, who threw 60 pitches Saturday, is throwing shorter outings with more rest between after struggling in three second-half starts for Baltimore. His 120 1/3 innings between the majors and minors are a career high.
- After going 1-for-4 as Triple-A Norfolk’s designated hitter Friday, Aaron Hicks (left hamstring strain) went 0-for-4 and played right field for the Tides in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment. In the fifth outing of his latest rehab assignment, right-handed reliever Mychal Givens (right shoulder inflammation) gave up three runs while recording one out, his second straight appearance surrendering three runs.
This story will be updated.
Orioles at Mariners
Sunday, 4:10 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM