Another poor starting pitching performance was overcome by solid relief work and an offense that chipped away until Austin Hays launched a two-out, walk off three-run homer for a 7-5 Orioles win over the Blue Jays
Orioles Lineup vs RHP Chase Anderson (0-3, 6.52)
- DJ Stewart – DH
- Andrew Velazquez – 2B
- Austin Hays – CF
- Dwight Smith Jr. – LF
- Renato Nunez – 1B
- Anthony Santander – RF
- Bryan Holaday – C
- Rio Ruiz – 3B
- Jose Iglesias – SS
Starting Pitcher – Kohl Stewart (0-2, 8.68)
A single, a stolen base, and an RBI double by Randal Grichuk put the Blue Jays up 1-0 in the first inning. It took Orioles starter Kohl Stewart 31 pitches to get through the first inning that was ended on a fantastic play by SS Jose Iglesias to save a run.
The Orioles offense got going when an Anthony Santander single followed by back to back doubles by C Bryan Holaday and 3B Rio Ruiz scored two to put them up 2-1.
But this is the 2020 simulation Orioles so you know that lead wouldn’t last. It didn’t take long for an ineffective Stewart to not only give the lead back up, but allow the Blue Jays to a nice lead when loaded the bases only to serve up a one-out grand slam to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to give the Blue Jays a 5-2 lead.
Note: It is quite impressive how terrible this simulation staff is for the Orioles. I’ve done quite a few of these simulations with OOTP over the years and have started off with some terrible teams, but I’m not sure I’ve ever simmed a team that has almost no decent starting pitchers and even the Triple-A starters have been bad. Now grant it, this has been almost a worse case scenario losing Alex Cobb and Asher Wojciechowski to injuries and with John Means pitching awful, but man, this is painful to play through. Every lead is immediately given back up and every pitcher I try ends up like this.
At this point, it’s a grind to have to sim these games and as much as I miss baseball, if this simulation is anything close to what would have happened this year, let’s just say this COVID-19 thing almost certainly saved this organization from losing 100 games for the 3rd straight year. Ok, rant over, back to the game – if anyone actually cares!
The Orioles did get one back in the bottom of the 3rd with back to back doubles by Dwight Smith Jr. and Renato Nunez to make it 5-3.
At 92 pitches, with two lefties coming up and a runner on 1st and one out, manager Brandon Hyde took Stewart out and brought in lefty Tanner Scott. Scott walked the first lefty, but got Nick Markakis (who was acquired off waivers by Toronto) to hit into a 4-63 double play to end the threat and keep it 5-3.
In the top of the 6th, the Blue Jays put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out with a single, walk and stolen base. With Vlad Guerrero Jr. And Grichuk come up it looked bleaked, but the good Tanner Scott reappeared and he struck them both out to keep it 5-3.
In the bottom of the 6th, a two out RBI double by Iglesias cut the lead to 5-4.
The bullpen then settled down for both teams and the game remained 5-4 going into the bottom of the 9th. The Blue Jays brought in closer Ken Giles who struck out the first two batters he faced, but then DJ Stewart worked a walk and then Andrew Velazquez singled up the middle on the 7th pitch he saw to put runners on 1st and 3rd. At 23 pitches and with Austin Hays coming up, the Blue Jays pulled their closer and brought in Justin Miller, their 9th pitcher of the game.
Hays dug in and on Miller’s first pitch, tore into a a 95 MPH fastball and hit it deep to left field, Gurriel chased back to the wall, jumped up… but it sailed over his outstretched glove and landed in the stands for a walk-off, 3-run homer for a 7-5 win. For Hays, who was 0-for-4 going into that at bat, extends his hit streak to 13-games and gives him a team leading 10th home run.
Down to their last out, the Orioles win on their first walk off win of the year and improve their record to 10-17.
Orioles Player of the Game: Austin Hays (Walk off 3-run homer)
Minor League Highlights
Norfolk loss 2-6 (6-11)
After dominating Double-A, Mike Baumann got promoted to the Tides and found AAA a little harder as he allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk in 5.2 IP with 3Ks. Not awful but probably wished for a little first start. 3B Rylan Bannon (.179) finally got it a going with a 3-for-3 day that included a triple.
Bowie loss 5-7 (9-8)
Luis Ortiz was good in long relief allowing just one run on two hits and a walk with three Ks. 1B Preston Palmeiro (.273) hit his 4th home run of the season.
Keys loss 0-6 (7-11)
Brenan Hanifee (3.75) pitched well allowing two runs over six innings. RF Robert Neustrom (.234) went 2-for-4 with a double.
Delmarva loss 3-10 (5-13)
Zach Peek (8.76) allowed six runs in just 2.1 IP but did strikeout four. LF Zach Watson (.254) went 2-for-5 with a triple.