MLB: Orioles aim to stay hot vs. ice-cold Pirates

The Baltimore Orioles will go for their fourth straight win on Saturday night when they host the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pittsburgh’s Roansy Contreras (3-3, 4.74 ERA) will oppose fellow right-hander Tyler Wells (2-1, 3.15) in the second contest of the three-game series.

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Contreras, who has yet to face Baltimore in his career, has allowed nine earned runs in 10 1/3 innings over his past two starts overall. He surrendered five runs on nine hits in five innings of a 10-1 setback to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Wells, meanwhile, has not lost since April 9. In five starts since then, he is 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA, 23 strikeouts and seven walks. Wells settled for a no-decision against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday after allowing one run on three hits over five innings.

Wells, who will face Pittsburgh for the first time in his career, will look to continue a strong stretch by Orioles starters. Dean Kremer tossed six shutout innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, and Kyle Bradish yielded an unearned run on three hits in six innings vs. the Pirates on Friday.

That game was broken open in the eighth inning after Cedric Mullins hit a three-run homer to complete his first cycle in Baltimore’s 6-3 win. It was the 12th cycle in franchise history — seventh since it relocated to Baltimore in 1954 — and the first since Austin Hays accomplished the feat on June 22, 2022, against the Nationals.

“You obviously know that you’re a single swing away from the cycle, and at the same time you’re trying to do your job,” Mullins said. “Drive some runs in. Everything fell in line.”

The Orioles improved to 12-1 in series openers this season and have won 17 of their last 23 games overall.

Baltimore trailed 2-1 going to the bottom of the seventh before rallying. Mullins and Adley Rutschman hit back-to-back doubles and Ryan Mountcastle hit a two-out single that eluded diving shortstop Rodolfo Castro and rolled in the outfield grass, allowing Rutschman to score the go-ahead run.

“We have to knock down the ball Mountcastle hit and keep it in the infield,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We didn’t do it.”

Baltimore trailed twice before rallying for another win.

“That just kind of shows our discipline as a team, and that grit that we have to be able to bounce back and make adjustments late in the game,” Mullins said. “Sticking to the plans that we have against guys who are coming in late and being able to have success.”

Pittsburgh relievers allowed five runs in three innings.

“We didn’t execute pitches,” Shelton said. “We got matchups that we liked. We left too many balls in the middle of the plate.”

Connor Joe homered for the slumping Pirates, who have lost 10 of their past 11 games and have scored three runs or less in each game.

A bright spot moving forward for Pittsburgh was the effort by starter Johan Oviedo. After allowing 12 runs (11 earned) in 7 2/3 innings in his past two starts, the right-hander permitted one earned run in five-plus innings.

–Field Level Media

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