BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles showed off more of their speed on the bases — this time from an unlikely source.
Ryan Mountcastle hustled home from third in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring on Adam Frazier’s grounder to give the Orioles their fourth straight victory, 2-1 over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Mountcastle represented the winning run with one out, and he got a good jump when Frazier hit a soft grounder to the right side. Mountcastle beat the throw home from first baseman Spencer Torkelson in a impressive show of speed — the type of dash normally reserved for teammates Cedric Mullins (nine steals this season) and Jorge Mateo (eight).
“I don’t think they want to race me right now,” Mountcastle joked after the game. “Feeling good. The legs are feeling loose. Been saving them the last couple days.”
With the Tigers down to their last strike in the ninth, Javier Báez hit a tying single off Orioles closer Félix Bautista (2-1), snapping a 34-inning scoreless streak by Baltimore pitchers. The Orioles immediately answered.
Mountcastle hit a one-out single off Jason Foley (0-1), then went to third on a single by Anthony Santander. Torkelson’s throw on Frazier’s grounder was to the wrong side of home, but it might not have gotten Mountcastle anyway.
“No chance of a double play, I don’t think,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We wanted to try to get the run at home, especially any sort of chopper like that, you’re going to react that way. … Tough play, he throws it on the other side of the plate, and their guy did a nice job getting off base.”
Orioles starter Tyler Wells allowed three hits in seven innings, and Austin Hays homered in the seventh to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead. The Orioles hadn’t allowed a run since the first inning of Sunday’s win over the Chicago White Sox, the longest scoreless streak by an AL team in the same season since Baltimore threw 45 straight scoreless innings to end the 1995 season, according to OptaStats.
Wells walked one and struck out five. Two of the hits he allowed were infield singles. Bryan Baker struck out two in a perfect eighth, then Bautista came on in the ninth.
After pinch-hitter Akil Baddoo singled and stole second, Bautista struck out Nick Maton. Riley Greene then hit a sharp groundout to the shortstop, but Báez hit a single to left to tie it.
Michael Lorenzen pitched five scoreless innings for the Tigers, but the Orioles finally broke through on Hays’ two-out drive off José Cisnero in the seventh.
Baltimore has won eight of 10.
Wells surpassed his career high of six innings pitched, which he reached most recently on April 9 against the New York Yankees.
According to information from Elias Sports Bureau released by the Orioles, this was the sixth-longest scoreless streak in team history. The record is 54 in 1974.
The Orioles finished the 1995 season on a 45-inning run behind Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson, Kevin Brown and Ben McDonald. Mussina threw two complete games in that stretch, and Erickson and Brown pitched one each.
Lorenzen was called for a balk in the fourth when he disengaged from the rubber a third time without picking Mullins off first. He said he’d stepped off briefly to use his PitchCom device and didn’t realize that was a disengagement, so when he tried to pick Mullins off, he didn’t realize that was his third one.
“Ultimately, it’s my fault,” he said. “Next time, it won’t happen I hope.”
Orioles: Mateo (right hip discomfort) did not play. He left the team’s previous game, Wednesday night at Washington, in the second inning.
Kyle Gibson (3-0) starts for Baltimore against Detroit’s Joey Wentz (0-2) on Saturday night.