Sweet relief: O's bullpen one-hits White Sox

June 25th, 2022

CHICAGO -- The Orioles took what was given to them on Friday night behind yet another dominant performance from the bullpen. 

Baltimore capitalized on the White Sox offensive struggles en route to a 4-1 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field to win its third straight game. The Orioles' bullpen limited Chicago to just one run and one hit while walking two and striking out eight across nine innings. 

“I’m so proud,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “These guys are exceeding expectations and I’m just really happy and proud.”

On a night when the offense was quiet for most of the game, with just five hits, the team needed the relievers to step up. And they came through -- like they have all season. Entering Friday, the Orioles’ bullpen was tied for sixth best in the Majors in ERA (3.14) and second in wins above replacement (3.7), according to FanGraphs.

The bullpen has simply been the backbone of this team.

“[I] have a lot of confidence because, the majority of the time they’re handed the ball, they are getting the job done,” Hyde said. “They're pitching with emotion, energy and a chip on their shoulder. It’s fun to watch them.”

Baltimore's relievers helped secure back-to-back shutouts on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and they delivered another dazzling performance behind a bullpen game on Friday. More importantly, they did it against a White Sox offense that has had major success on “bullpen games” in the past.

Since 2018, Chicago was 18-6, averaging 6.08 runs per game while batting an impressive .276 over its last 24 bullpen games.

But, the Orioles' bullpen continued to show why it is one of the best in baseball.

Austin Voth -- who made his second start of the season -- put forth his longest outing of the year behind three strong innings, allowing just one hit, one run and two walks while notching three strikeouts.

“I thought I had a pretty good game plan going into it and executed it pretty well,” the right-hander said.

Voth set the tone and his teammates followed.

Joey Krehbiel struck out three in 2 1/3 innings of work, Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez both pitched 1 1/3 innings with one strikeout apiece and Jorge López finished it off to capture his 13th save of the season.

“The bullpen is just incredible right now,” Voth said. "There’s a lot of great guys and they're pitching great. I love rooting behind them.”

White Sox third baseman Jake Burger was responsible for Baltimore’s only allowed hit when he notched a two-out RBI double in the second.

After that, the bullpen cruised.

The Orioles collectively set down 22 of the next 23 batters, including 19 straight to end the game. An Andrew Vaughn walk in the third inning was the last time a White Sox player touched base.

“They’re amazing,” second baseman Richie Martin said. “Lights out, top to bottom. It’s awesome. They keep you on your toes, fill up the zone and attack. It’s fun to play [behind them].”

The bullpen was yet again fantastic and the offense supplied just enough runs to come out on top, especially with the legs.

The Orioles stole five bases for the first time in a nine-inning game since May 27, 2007, when Brian Roberts, Jay Payton and Corey Patterson did it against the A’s.

On Friday, Cedric Mullins stole his 16th base, while Richie Martin recorded his first two stolen bases of the season and Jorge Mateo made a difference on the basepaths, too. He stole his 18th and 19th bases, including one coming after being plunked in the back on a 99-mph fastball from Michael Kopech in the second inning.

The benches cleared on the hit-by-pitch, but it became nothing more than just a skirmish between arguing players.

“In the heat of the moment, it’s normal,” Mateo said. “People start talking. I don’t know what happened there. I really don’t think it was intentional.”

The stolen bases from both Mullins and Mateo helped each move into scoring position in the first two innings, with both eventually coming around to score.

Moments like this helped the Orioles get out in front early to back up a lights-out showing from the bullpen to secure their sixth win in their last eight games.

“I’m very happy that we were able to finish the game and win and hopefully win the series tomorrow,” Mateo said.