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Orioles get third walk-off win in four days, rally for 7-6 victory in 11 innings to secure rare series win versus Rays

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Orioles get third walk-off win in four days, rally for 7-6 victory in 11 innings to secure rare series win versus Rays

As lightning flashed and thunder rolled, there was a crack of the bat added to the mix — an equally resounding sound before the skies above Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened and began pelting the field with rain.

The probability of this all coinciding — the rain on cue following a rare hit with a runner in scoring position — gave credence to the adage that anything can happen at the ballpark. On Sunday for the Orioles’ series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays, that took the form of Austin Hays’ two-out, two-run single to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Ryan McKenna and Chris Owings crossed the plate. Hays rounded first. Then one more crack sounding from above rather than from the batter’s box sent the players tumbling toward the dugout and the grounds crew scrambling onto the field, tarp in tow.

And after 51 minutes, play resumed and promptly headed to extra innings, where the Orioles would up winning, 7-6, via Rougned Odor’s fielder’s choice that scored Adley Rutschman from third. It’s Baltimore’s third walk-off win in the past four days — the first time the Orioles have had such a stretch since 1974, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

It was all part of a most unusual Sunday at the park, featuring a first-inning injury to starting pitcher Spenser Watkins that forced Baltimore into an unexpected — and very undesirable — bullpen game. And it amounted to a series victory for the Orioles, taking two of three games after entering the series with a 15-game losing streak to Tampa Bay. It’s the Orioles’ (17-25) first series win against the Rays since sweeping a three-game set July 31 to Aug. 2, 2020.

“We’ve lost a lot of close games to these guys over the years, and a lot of us younger guys that are starting to get some more time now, we’re just continuing to fight,” Hays said. “We don’t want to lose those games anymore.”

In the 10th, Rutschman appeared primed to end the game himself. But his deep fly ball to right field died at the warning track. To begin the 11th, he stood at second as the automatic runner and took third via Owings’ bunt, bringing Odor to the plate.

Odor has a penchant for the dramatic. On Friday, his walk-off, two-run home run ended a 13-inning affair in style. Sunday’s knock traveled a lesser distance and took a defensive miscue to make it happen, sliding under Ji-Man Choi’s glove as he charged in from first base. They all count the same, though, resulting in a victory.

Ramón Urías and Odor drove in runs in the third inning, and Ryan Mountcastle launched a solo homer into the home bullpen beyond left-center field. Two errors from Rays fielders helped plate one more run in the seventh.

Then came the ninth, when Mountcastle led off with a single and Urías soon followed with a walk. Both were pinch-run for, and Hays soon scored both with his knock, setting up for the game-winning fielder’s choice.

“We don’t quit,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Just proud of our effort. All our guys played to the end.”

An early departure for Watkins

The way Joey Krehbiel entered the game about four hours earlier in the top of the first inning was emblematic of the hasty nature — and extreme circumstances — that forced the first inning pitching change. The right-hander grabbed his glove and a Red Bull, slipped one on his hand and brought the other to his lips, as he made his way onto the field.

It was just about the worst-case scenario for the Orioles on Sunday, a get-away day before a road trip consisting of eight games in eight days against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The deeper right-hander Watkins could work, the better.

Instead, the line drive off Ji-Man Choi’s bat sailed at 105.9 mph and collided with Watkins’ forearm, sending the pitcher for a brief walk around the mound before he made his way into the dugout and down the stairs toward the training room. The initial X-rays were negative, the Orioles announced, and Watkins said he was “sore right now,” but it’s “too early to tell” whether he’ll be sidelined long term.

But the short-term implications left Baltimore’s bullpen in charge of recording 27 outs — and then six more in extra innings — and Tampa Bay held a four-run advantage by the time Baltimore got itself out of the first inning.

“I really didn’t know what we were going to do,” Hyde said.

The first three batters each singled off Watkins, and after Krehbiel recorded two outs, Isaac Paredes blasted a three-run homer. Krehbiel completed a career-high three innings, though, allowing just one more hit after the first inning. Those innings, while unspectacular, helped cover for a bullpen that still required five additional arms to close out the game — giving up just two additional runs.

Left-hander Cionel Pérez, especially, stranded five base runners across two scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th. When he bounded off the mound, Rutschman was the first to greet him, full of giddy excitement.

“They absolutely sucked it up,” Hyde said. “Pitching won us the game in a situation where it could’ve been ugly early, and they did a great job of just letting us hang around.”

Around the horn

  • Mountcastle left in the ninth inning due to heat-related body cramps, the Orioles announced. Hyde said Mountcastle said the cramps won’t lead to any absences going forward.
  • Kyle Stowers hit three home runs for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, finishing 3-for-5 with five RBIs. The three blasts bring his season total to nine, leveling him with Coby Mayo for the most in the organization.
  • Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, the top pitching prospect in baseball, could be in line for a major league debut sooner rather than later following Watkins’ injury — and his own standout performances. Rodriguez completed six innings for the first time this season, throwing 86 pitches and striking out nine batters while allowing two runs on four hits for Triple-A Norfolk.

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

For so much of the second half, Minnesota looked comfortable and ready to take a much-needed victory.

Shockingly, Inter Miami, the second-worst goal-scoring team in MLS notched two goals in the final three minutes to flip the script and take a 2-1 victory in the first MLS meeting between the two teams.

“[We] put ourselves in a great spot,” manager Adrian Heath said. “Put ourselves in a really good position. We’re not doing enough, it doesn’t look as though it’s enough to concede goals and lose games.”

Inter Miami forward Indiana Vassilev only made it into the game as a late-game bench substitution, but he made the most of his opportunity scoring in the 87th and 90th minute to give his team a victory, surpassing Minnesota’s one-goal lead it held since the 65th minute.

The Loons’ defense had kept Minnesota in the game for each chance Inter Miami had for the first 86 minutes, but the team couldn’t get the stops near the end to come up with the victory.

“At those times of the game, you need to do whatever you can to just beat your man,” Loons defender Michael Boxall said.

Minnesota’s victory looked nearly locked up as the Loons held the 1-0 difference into the final five minutes of the game. That goal followed a resilient start to the second half after many chances weren’t finished.

The Minnesota goal scorer was Luis Amarilla, who put the ball past the Inter Miami goalkeeper in tight in the 65th minute. It was his first goal in MLS play since March 19.

Amarilla was in such a position to score the goal so close to the keeper because of an acrobatic one-touch centering pass from Franco Fragapane. The play all began from Emmanuel Reynoso getting the ball on the right side of the attacking zone. He cut towards the middle and sent a lofting kick that found the airborne Fragapane for his assist.

While Minnesota finally found the back of the net in the back half of the game, there was no shortage of missed opportunities earlier in the contest.

“We’re not good enough at one end, and we’re not good enough at the other, and that’s not a good recipe,” Heath said. “We’ve got to get more and more determination to get on the things in the box and we’ve certainly got to defend the goal better.”

By the end of the game, Inter Miami had eight shots on target, while Minnesota had just one, the Amarilla goal.

The loss marks the first since Minnesota announced Heath’s two-year contract extension through 2024 on Thursday. The defeat also adds to a 1-6-1 stretch over the Loons’ last eight games, including Saturday night.

Heath said on Wednesday that the goal was to come away with four points in this road trip at Inter Miami on Saturday and on Wednesday at L.A. Galaxy. With the loss to Inter Miami, that goal is no longer possible.

The Loons must keep looking forward to get back on track and into playoff contention. After the loss on Saturday, Minnesota sits 11th in the Western Conference Standings, five points outside of the seventh spot, the cutoff for the playoffs.

“The good thing is that it’s a quick turnaround,” Boxall said. “Not quite looking ahead to L.A. just yet, we still need to process this game and figure out what we need to address, because that should be three points we’re taking home tonight.”

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

Puffy white clouds filled the blue skies above Target Field and sunlight bounced off buildings that make up the Minneapolis skyline. It was the kind of summer night at the ballpark that Minnesotans dream about throughout the long winter months.

It was the perfect night at Target Field and the hometown team, well, they were nearly perfect, too. Twins pitchers gave up just one hit (and five walks), and the team captured a first-inning lead on its way to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Target Field.

A day after getting shut out for the 10th time this season, tying the league lead, Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton made sure early on that the Twins wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Arraez snapped an 0-for-11 stretch to begin the game and Buxton, back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, followed that up with his first triple since 2019.

After missing time this week after his knee flared up, Buxton turned on the burners, with a sprint speed of 29.3 feet/second (30 ft/sec is elite) on the triple, losing his helmet along the way. When he reached the base, he pounded his chest a couple times, smacked his hands together and let out a roar.

While the Twins left Buxton on third, they added on throughout the game, tacking on a run in the second on Arraez’s second hit of the game, two more in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Alex Kirilloff drove in three of those runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a double off the right field wall, bringing home Max Kepler — who walked three times in the game — and Kyle Garlick. The double was his fourth in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A.

All that offense came in support of Chris Archer, who worked five innings and allowed just one hit — a single to former Twin C.J. Cron in the second inning — and a walk in his outing.  Archer pitched out of that second-inning jam, retiring the next three batters in a row, the first of 12 straight that he sent down to conclude his start.

His start was followed by a scoreless inning each from Jharel Cotton and Griffin Jax and two from Tyler Thornburg. Twins pitchers have now thrown two shutouts in their past three games, and in Friday’s loss, they gave up just one run.

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

1858: Joseph Israel Lobdell, born Lucy Lobdell, is arrested for “impersonating a man.” A judge in the rural camp community of Forest City, Minn., sided with Lobdell, ruling that he did not act unlawfully.

1877: Minneapolis rules crossdressing as illegal, putting gender-nonconforming Minnesotans at risk for imprisonment.

1969: The Stonewall riots begin in New York City after police raids occur in the gay-friendly bars and community spaces of Lower Manhattan. These riots serve as a public turning point in American LGBTQ+ history.

May 18, 1969: University of Minnesota alumni found Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, or FREE, the first LGBTQ+ rights organization in the state. Founders Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first same-sex couple in the nation to apply for a marriage license, an application that is rejected by Hennepin County. Their legal case is dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in one sentence.

1972: The first Twin Cities Pride celebration is held in Minneapolis’ Loring Park.

Dec. 9, 1972: Minnesota state Sen. Allan Henry Spear indicates he is gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, making him the first openly gay state legislator in the United States.

June 1982: Bruce Brockway becomes the first documented recipient of an HIV diagnosis in Minnesota. After his diagnosis, he founded the Minnesota AIDS Project to provide resources to HIV-positive Minnesotans.

1993: Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is outlawed in Minnesota, making it the first state in the nation to adopt the policy.

1997: Sicaŋgu Lakota man Nicholas Metcalf and his partner, Korean-American Edd Lee, found the Minnesota Men of Color, an organization that focuses on the well-being of men, women and gender-nonconforming people of color.

2012: Amendment 1, which limits marriage rights to only heterosexual couples, is rejected by the majority of Minnesota voters. Same-sex marriage is legalized in the state.

June 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finding that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in any state and must be recognized nationally. Gay marriage is legalized.

June 25-26, 2022: After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, the Twin Cities Pride parade and festival returns to Minneapolis.

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