The Washington Post

For O’s, pitching change fails to deliver the desired results

- BY NATHAN RUIZ

baltimore — For the third time in their four-game series with Toronto, the Baltimore Orioles made a day-of change to their pitching plans. But all that mattered was that the Blue Jays kept theirs intact.

A series that presented Baltimore with a chance to improve its playoff hopes instead did the opposite, with Toronto ace Alek Manoah overcoming an early hiccup to dominate the Orioles over eight innings Wednesday in a 4-1 victory, his team’s third win of the series. With 25 games left, Baltimore is 41/ games behind the Blue

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Jays for the American League’s third wild-card spot.

The Orioles (72-65) welcomed right-hander Tyler Wells back to the roster after his left oblique strain, activating him from the injured list after only one rehab start, and immediatel­y thrust him back into the rotation. The club had been determinin­g whether to bring Wells back as a starter or a reliever, with the former requiring more time for him to stretch out.

“We decided to build him up as a starter but build him up as a starter here,” Manager Brandon Hyde said before the game.

Dean Kremer was scheduled to start Wednesday, but after Tuesday’s victory — the only game of the series the Orioles’ original starter took the mound — the club altered its plans. With their bullpen tasked with a doublehead­er Monday and covering six highlevera­ge innings the next night, the Orioles determined they would be best served by activating Wells and letting him work ahead of Kremer in the series finale.

The plan worked well enough. Wells needed only four pitches in his first inning, but after the Orioles scored off Manoah thanks to Ryan Mountcastl­e’s double, Baltimore gave it back. Having thrown 31 pitches Friday for high Class A Aberdeen, Wells required 30 to get through Wednesday’s second inning, letting out a yell when a diving stop and throw from third baseman Ramón Urías left the bases loaded and the score tied.

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