BALTIMORE -- Need a spark? How about a statement.
The Orioles -- in arguably their most winding, topsy-turvy, “crazy” game of the year in a season full of them -- blasted by the Red Sox, 15-10, on Friday night at Camden Yards with a statement in mind on the heels of arguably their poorest showing of the year.
That through the final goes of the season, they will be a force to be reckoned with, a contender for the Wild Card amid a lengthy stretch of games against teams they’re either chasing or trying to stave off.
And also one more:
“Little crazy every now and again,” said starter Jordan Lyles, “that's OK.”
That was the scene in Baltimore, all 15 runs from the Orioles on Friday night coming between the second and fifth innings, each building on one another and responding to equally explosive outbursts from their visitors. Every rally was raised one further; each moment the game seemed out of reach, Baltimore pulled it right back in.
“I was uneasy until two outs in the ninth inning in a game like this,” quipped manager Brandon Hyde.
Friday, most simply, was …
• Only the fourth O’s output in franchise history with at least five homers and five doubles
• The first time since 2015 with at least 11 extra-base hits, one shy of the franchise record
• And the first time in Orioles history (since 1954) they scored 15 runs while allowing 10
It was a game the Orioles have long sought out, typically finding themselves on the losing end of slugfests. Fittingly, one of their few examples came amid a marquee comeback win over the Red Sox in May.
But at that time, the Wild Card chase felt like a longshot. Now, it’s a reality, with Friday’s victory situating them 1 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay for the final AL spot (and one game back of Minnesota between them).
The back-and-forth, the team will tell you, was no bigger than in the fifth inning. That’s when the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the frame -- kick-started by a Ramón Urías solo shot and continued by a churn at the top of the order -- to respond to five Red Sox runs a half-inning prior.
“That's when I knew, you need to hold on,” Lyles said. “Hold on to your seat and watch this.”
The top of the order -- now protected by No. 9 prospect Kyle Stowers, who was promoted pregame -- was the catalyst, something the team could use mightily down the stretch. Cedric Mullins, Rutschman, Santander and Ryan Mountcastle combined for 10 hits, two walks, three homers, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored on Friday.
“I thought our at-bats were the best they've been all year tonight,” Hyde said.
“They didn’t stop. They were relentless,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “We’ve got to take a look at where we pitch, and what they did. They hit everything. Fastballs, cutters, breaking balls, you name it. We called it, they hit it. They’re a good club. They’re a really good club. They have some good hitters over there. They do a lot of good things offensively and tonight was a great night for them.”
And then there were the wacky components you simply had to be there for. Cora and shortstop Xander Bogaerts were ejected in the fourth inning in a fiery burst of discontent against a strike three call. Rutschman threw out Boston catcher Reese McGuire at second base in the sixth on a ball that bounced off the backstop. And assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes even paid a visit to the stands to be present for the engagement of his daughter, Courtney.
“Every fan that paid for a ticket, they definitely got their money's worth,” Lyles said, “and plus, for sure.”
Hyde touched postgame on how much a recent shoutout from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh fired up his clubhouse, touched to see such a respected coach give them his stamp of approval. Hyde said he and Harbaugh often text after games, the two forming a bit of a relationship as the only two coaches of the four major sports in town.
So Hyde did what he could do best to honor him: post a football score.