BALTIMORE (AP) — Frustrated after losing two straight at home, the Baltimore Orioles won another close game to regain some of the momentum they had before the Texas Rangers came to town.
Austin Hays singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to cap a three-hit performance, and Baltimore squeezed past Texas 3-2 on Sunday to avert a three-game sweep.
After winning three in a row at Toronto and taking two of three at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles were outscored 17-5 by Texas in the first two games of the series. They entered the finale in danger of being swept for the first time this season.
Instead, Baltimore got a much-needed victory.
“It’s a great win,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s always tough to get swept.”
The Orioles could have fallen apart after Texas tied the game in the eighth. But they bounced back to improve to 10-6 in one-run games and clinch a winning record in May after negotiating a month that included Atlanta, Tampa Bay, the Angels, Toronto and the Yankees.
“We played really well against tough competition,” Hays said. “We proved to ourselves, if we didn’t already know it, that we can play with anybody in this league.”
Cedric Mullins opened the Baltimore eighth with a walk against Cole Ragans (2-2). Adley Rutschman followed with a single, and Hays greeted Joe Barlow with a sharp grounder up the middle against a drawn-in infield.
“What hurt us is that walk,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “That came back to haunt us.”
Félix Bautista struck out the side in the ninth for his 13th save in 17 tries.
Despite the loss, Texas has won 10 of 14 and gone 8-1-1 in its last 10 series. The AL West leaders own the third-best record in the majors after going 68-94 last year.
“You get greedy,” Bochy said of the series finale. “We wanted this last one.”
Orioles starter Kyle Bradish gave up one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking one against a team that came in averaging a major league-best 6.41 runs per game.
He left with a 2-1 lead, but Texas pulled even in the eighth when Corey Seager hit a two-out RBI double off Yennier Cano. Danny Coulombe (2-1) entered to get the final out.
Bradish allowed just one hit through five innings and retired 11 straight before Robbie Grossman led off the sixth with a single and scored on a double by Marcus Semien, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
Looking for their fourth series sweep of the season, the Rangers started the game with a thud. After Bradish struck out the side in the top of the first, rookie Cody Bradford’s first pitch produced a popup that shortstop Seager lost in the sun.
Rutschman followed with a single and Hays singled in a run before Ryan Mountcastle delivered a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
“And then we just went silent,” Hyde said. “You do that against teams like that, they’re eventually going to score and get back in the game.”
Making his second major league start, Bradford allowed five hits, struck out five and walked one in five innings. Recalled from the minors on Friday after Sunday’s scheduled starter, Dane Dunning, went on paternity leave, Bradford vastly improved upon his debut two weeks earlier, when he yielded six runs in five innings against Atlanta.
“The kid did a nice job,” Bochy said. “He could have let that game get away from us in the first inning. Tough luck on the sun ball. Looked liked things could unravel but I loved his poise today.”
Dunning and his wife, Rachel, welcomed a new baby boy, Mack, on Saturday. Dunning has been penciled in as the starter on Wednesday in Detroit. “It gives him time to get on his routine again and catch his breath after all that’s happened,” Bochy said.
Rangers: RHP Jacob deGrom (elbow inflammation) is “feeling pretty good” following his bullpen session Friday, according to Bochy, who has not yet set a date for the pitcher’s next throwing assignment.
Orioles: OF Anthony Santander started in the cleanup spot after resting Saturday with left elbow soreness.
Rangers: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 2.60 ERA) takes the mound Monday afternoon for the opener of a three-game set in Detroit, where Texas will seek to win a sixth straight series on the road.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wells (3-1, 3.47 ERA) starts on Monday against Cleveland, a team he’s faced three times previously without a decision.
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