5 homers? 14 hits? O's 7th straight win had it all

September 10th, 2023

BOSTON -- A big game often features a standout player, a clutch hitter or a dominant pitcher who takes the spotlight in a win. It might be a different guy from night to night, but it’s not typical that the standout player is consistently a group of players.

Unless you’re Baltimore.

After a 92-minute rain delay, the Orioles held on for a 13-12 victory over the Red Sox for their seventh straight win and seventh consecutive game with 10 or more hits, their longest streak since Sept. 19-24, 2011. Baltimore (90-51) reached 90 wins in its fewest games in franchise history since 1979 (136 games).

  • Games remaining: at BOS (1), vs. STL (3), vs. TB (4), at HOU (3), at CLE (4), vs. WSH (2), vs. BOS (4)
  • Standings update: The Orioles are 4 games up in the American League East over the second-place Rays (87-56), who walked off the Mariners. Baltimore has the best record in the AL, meaning it would not have to play a Wild Card Series and would head to the AL Division Series as the No. 1 seed.

The second of three games in this series saw 25 runs scored and 37 hits between the two teams, making the Orioles the first team to win a game having allowed 23-plus hits since the Mariners did so on Sept. 3, 1981, a 20-inning contest that was also played at Fenway.

"I feel like it's always like this here,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It's such a tough team to pitch to. I said it coming in, it's a really good offense, and we have to pitch well. Tonight wasn't our best night on the mound or defensively. Give our guys a ton of credit. That was a straight grind-it-out, gut-check win."

Baltimore fell into an early hole after starter Jack Flaherty allowed his first two of five runs (four earned) on a Justin Turner homer in the first. Aaron Hicks remedied that in the third, giving the O’s their first lead on a three-run home run, his second extra-base hit of the night off veteran lefty Chris Sale. Hicks and teammate Jordan Westburg each finished a triple shy of the cycle.

“These guys continue to work, and they continue to find different ways to win, and that’s what’s most impressive,” Flaherty said. “They just keep making pitches, and the guys in the 'pen just [keep] trying to find ways to get outs.”

As he continues to build confidence, Shintaro Fujinami found a way to record five big outs. Coming in with two men on and one out in the fifth, Fujinami promptly allowed a double steal to put the tying run at third. He recovered by inducing a Connor Wong flyout before showing off his athleticism to complete an impressive inning-ending play that McCann dubbed a “momentum shifter.”

McCann homered in the fourth and sixth innings for his second career multi-homer game. Three years ago to the day, McCann homered twice in a contest vs. the Pirates as a member of the White Sox.

The Red Sox threatened to tie the game after three consecutive singles off Danny Coulombe in the seventh, and again loaded the bases against Yennier Cano in the ninth. But the Orioles twice squashed Boston’s comeback attempt on a flyout.

“It was like a heavyweight boxing match,” McCann said. “Every time we’d throw up some runs, they found a way. We had the advantage of the homers, and they found a way to shoot balls the other way, to find broken-bat hits, to find holes, infield singles, you name it. They did a good job of battling, and like I said, every time we threw a punch, they threw a punch. Thankfully, we were able to come out on top.”

With a four-game series against the division's second-place Rays on the horizon, Baltimore’s ability to consistently find ways to win as a group has never been more pivotal. Not to mention more fun.

“It’s a great group,” McCann said. “I’ve said it since Spring Training, obviously, winning makes it fun, but just quality people. And seeing the success that the young guys are having, the success that veteran guys are having, the success that 1 [through] 9 is having with someone different every night, makes it a lot of fun.”