O's regular-season sweepless streak comes to an end at 106 series

May 23rd, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- The sweepless streak has been swept away.

For the first time in more than two years, the Orioles were swept in a regular-season series of two or more games, as they took a 5-4 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium. It was the second time Baltimore was defeated on that field in the same day, as it also fell, 3-1, in the resumption of Tuesday night’s suspended game in the late morning.

The O’s regular-season sweepless streak was snapped at 106 series, making it the third longest in AL/NL history (min. two decisions). It was an historic run that began after they lost three consecutive games at Detroit from May 13-15, 2022.

This also marks the first time Baltimore (29-18) has lost three straight games this year.

“We’ve been playing really good baseball for two years,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think we’re disappointed more in how we played this series. I think that we’re better than we showed these three games.”

Longest regular-season sweepless streaks (min. two decisions, per Elias Sports Bureau)

  1. 1942-44 Cardinals: 124
  2. 1906-09 Cubs: 115
  3. 2022-2024 Orioles: 106

Not only did the Cardinals preserve their old record of 124 consecutive regular-season series of two or more decisions without getting swept, but they ended a sweep-related streak of their own in the process. St. Louis had not swept an opponent since last July 17-19 vs. Miami. Since then and before Wednesday, the Cards were 0-9 in games in which they had a chance to earn a sweep.

The O’s had won their previous 14 regular-season series finales in which they were facing a potential sweep. Their sweepless run coincided with their emergence as a contender in the American League, as they broke through with an 83-win season in 2022, then went 101-61 and captured the AL East title in ‘23 -- an impressive year, despite the irony of it ending with a sweep at the hands of the eventual World Series champion Rangers in the AL Division Series.

The recent success has made the challenging years of the rebuild early in Hyde’s tenure -- Baltimore went 131-253 over his first three seasons at the helm from 2019-21 -- all worth it.

“Going through some of the tough times we went through -- I mean, 20-game losing streak on the road, [almost] 20-plus-game losing streak overall -- those were some really dark days,” outfielder Austin Hays said. “So to go that long without losing three or four games in a row is just a tip of the cap to how resilient our team has been, to not let what happened the day before affect the next game.

“Just the ability to turn the page over and over and over again, we’ve been so good at doing that for the last couple of years, and that’s what makes our team special.”

The Orioles pulled off plenty of sweep-denying victories during their sweepless run. Exactly one week before it ended, Baltimore pulled out a 3-2 victory over Toronto on May 15 thanks to a walk-off two-run homer by Adley Rutschman in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Similar heroics appeared to be brewing in St. Louis, where Wednesday’s top of the ninth opened with consecutive singles by Hays and Cedric Mullins. At that point, it felt like something special was bound to happen.

Pinch-hitter Kyle Stowers nearly came through, as he jolted a 1-0 pitch from right-hander Ryan Fernandez to deep right field. However, Lars Nootbaar made a stellar catch -- and then doubled up Mullins, who appeared to have thought the ball was going to land for a hit and couldn’t make it back to first base in time.

Stowers’ sac fly cut the Cardinals’ lead to 5-4. But Gunnar Henderson grounded out on the next pitch to seal an Orioles loss.

Despite the raw feelings of a tough series, Hays could still reflect on the remarkable nature of the sweepless streak, which consisted of one five-game series, 19 four-game series, 77 three-game series and nine two-game series.

“It’s special to be a part of. I’m glad I was able to experience all that,” Hays said. “So now, we’ll start a new streak next series.”

How can the Orioles get back on track in Chicago, where they’ll open a four-game series against the White Sox on Thursday?

“Just keep playing the baseball that we’ve played for the last two years,” Hays said. “This is one series. Yeah, we went 100 and something series without getting swept, but just continuing to turn the page and move on to the next game, like we’ve done for the last two years -- that’s what we have to do.”