Soaring O's ride the wave to 9th straight win

July 13th, 2022

CHICAGO -- The vibes are at an all-time high in the Orioles’ clubhouse. They’re winning, teammates are behind each other more than ever, and Baltimore fans are showing up and making their presence known. But, more importantly, this team is simply having fun.

That all helped the Orioles continue to defy the odds by winning their ninth straight game on Tuesday night in a 4-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

“Really proud [of this team],” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think they’re playing for each other. We’ve been playing really good baseball. It’s great to hear the excitement in our clubhouse right now. It’s fun right now, a lot of fun.”

That nine-game win streak is the first single-season win streak of nine or more games for the Orioles since they won 13 straight in 1999.

“It’s fun to watch all these guys come to the field and know they’re good enough,” starting pitcher Jordan Lyles said. “Obviously, there wasn’t a lot of hoopla around our team coming into the season. But this streak in particular is fun to watch, and we’re playing [good] baseball all the way around.”

That “all-the-way-around” baseball was on display Tuesday.

After going down, 2-0, in the first two innings, the Orioles fought their way back. After Anthony Santander brought home Cedric Mullins on an RBI single in the third, Ramón Urías hit a two-run homer to give the O’s the lead in the fourth. And they never looked back, as Jorge Mateo hit a solo homer in the seventh to add a much-needed insurance run.

“I thought we played a really good game today.” Hyde said. “[Mateo] had a huge homer there to give us more than a one-run lead.”

Lyles also delivered his eighth quality start of the season. He went seven strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

“Jordan once again gives up a run or two early and just settles in,” Hyde said. “He’s just so competitive, and he was really good.”

The win pushes the Orioles to 44-44 on the year and moves them just two games back from a Wild Card spot. It also means every team in the AL East has at least a .500 record, the fourth time in the Wild Card Era (excluding 2020) that a division has had all of its teams at or above .500 on July 12 or later (records at end of day), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

This is the latest in a season that the O’s have been at .500 since Sept. 9, 2017, when they were 71-71.

But these O's are embracing the way the club is playing right now and are happy to be a part of it. The young guys also continue to show where the Orioles’ organization is headed.

Adley Rutschman, Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle and Mullins are just a couple of O’s players that appear to remain the future of the team for years to come. All four players are 27 years old or younger and are a big reason for Baltimore’s surprising season.

“Not only is it fun to win multiple games in a row, but it’s just as exciting to see these guys realize how good they can be and what direction this organization is headed,” Lyles said. “That in itself is beneficial. Every time the first pitch is thrown, we have a better-than-decent chance to win.”

As the O’s hit the .500 mark on the season, Baltimore fans are louder than ever at the ballpark -- something that doesn’t go unnoticed by the players or the manager.

“We had a ton of fans here [in Chicago],” Hyde said. “There were a lot of [fans in] orange, and they were loud. It was a great atmosphere, and [I] felt appreciative for all the Orioles fans that came out to support us."

Added Urías: “It was unbelievable.”

With the Orioles’ recent success, it leaves the team with one question: What’s the next move?  

And while there won’t be a definitive answer to that question until the Trade Deadline on Aug. 2, the players aren’t focused on that talk or how far out they are from a Wild Card spot. They are just focused on having fun.

“I personally haven’t thought about it too much,” Lyles said. “I think we haven’t either as a group. We’re just enjoying this ride that we’re on and the momentum that we have.”