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May 4, 2024 9:52 pm

Orioles fend off Reds in ninth inning, win 2-1

John Means

Jorge Mateo and Adley Rutschman belted solo homers, and left-hander John Means allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings as the visiting Baltimore Orioles held off a late rally to beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Saturday.

Making his first start of the season after missing the first month with a strained left forearm, Means (1-0) overpowered the woeful Cincinnati offense in nearly identical fashion to what teammate Cole Irvin, also a eft-hander, did the previous night.

Means allowed only a soft, one-out single to Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the second, a two-out double to Jonathan India in the third and a one-out single to India in the sixth. Means struck out eight and walking none.

Craig Kimbrel was called on to finish off Baltimore’s second straight shutout but blew his fourth save in 12 chances.

Pinch hitter Jake Fraley snapped a career-worst 0-for-22 slump with a single to open the ninth before Kimbrel walked India. Elly De La Cruz struck out looking, but Spencer Steer knocked Kimbrel from the game with an RBI single to right, cutting Baltimore’s lead to 2-1.

Yennier Cano came on and walked Tyler Stephenson to load the bases. But Christian Encarnacion-Strand struck out and Jeimer Candelario flied out to left to give Cano his first save in two chances this season.

Cincinnati was on the verge of being shutout at home for a third straight game before scoring their first run at Great American Ball Park since the eighth inning of a 7-4 win over Philadelphia on April 24, a string of 26 innings.

The Reds hadn’t scored in any game since Wednesday in the fifth inning at San Diego, a drought stretching 21 innings.

Encarnacion-Strand’s single snapped an 0-for-41 streak by Cincinnati batters other than Elly De La Cruz, who had Cincinnati’s only two hits in Friday’s 3-0 Baltimore win.

The Orioles had early chances against Cincinnati starter and loser Andrew Abbott (1-4). The first two batters reached in the first inning before Abbott managed to retire the next three batters, including strikeouts of Anthony Santander and Jordan Westburg.

Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle singled with two outs in the third before Santander grounded out sharply to Christian Encarnacion-Strand at first to end the rally.

The Orioles broke through in the fourth Mateo when homered to left on a changeup from Abbott for his second homer of the season and a 1-0 Baltimore lead.

–Field Level Media

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