The Washington Post

Rutschman, Mullins aid the O’s in a pinch

- BY ANDY KOSTKA — Baltimore Sun

baltimore — Before opening a series with the worst team in the American League, Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was faced with questions about his lineup. It featured neither Cedric Mullins nor Adley Rutschman, typically the top two hitters in his starting nine.

“We have a lot of options right now,” Hyde said pregame. “Never had this many guys on the bench that I want to play. That’s what good teams have. They have depth, and it’s nice to have depth. It’s nice to have really good players on your bench being able to put them in in maybe the biggest spot of the game.”

That’s exactly what he was able to do Friday night. As the Orioles threatened in the eighth inning of a tie game, Hyde called on both Mullins and Rutschman as pinch hitters. The A’s intentiona­lly walked Mullins to load the bases, then Rutschman worked the count full to draw his own free pass. That delivered a lead that Jorge Mateo extended with a two-run single, providing the difference in Baltimore’s 5-2 victory.

Anthony Santander opened the decisive inning with a walk before Ryan Mountcastl­e hit a soft grounder to the right side, where Oakland second baseman Jonah Bride indecisive­ly looked to get Santander at second before throwing to first too late to get Mountcastl­e. Ramón Urías dropped a sacrifice bunt to put two in scoring position, prompting Hyde to call on Mullins in place of newcomer Jesús Aguilar.

After the intentiona­l walk, Austin Hays returned to the dugout for Rutschman, who showed his typical plate discipline to bring in the go-ahead run before Mateo provided two insurance runs.

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