Orioles wins eighth game in a row, moving one under .500

BALTIMORE – Ask away. Ask why or how or when or even What? You get answers, many flowery, insightful and eloquent. You will evoke a smile that many have been absent from in years past. But there are still problems explaining what exactly is going on in Baltimore.

How did the Orioles — who rose from the basement in Reconstruction years to become baseball’s hottest team after Sunday’s 9-5 win over the Angels at Camden Yards — increased their winning streak to eight games? This?

“It’s crazy,” said first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. “I mean, it seems like we just go out there and win every day. I do not know. It’s just that weird aura or vibe.

“I do not know what’s up. But it’s great.”

The Orioles’ winning streak has propelled them to just one game under .500 (43-44) and 2 1/2 games from an American League wild card berth to the last out on Sunday. Those are admittedly modest milestones, but a far cry from the past four years of rebuilding, three 100-loss campaigns in tow.

Three wins amid that streak — her longest since 12 straight wins between September 2015 and April 2016, and her longest in a single season from April 22 through May 1, 2005 — made walk-offs all the more compelling. Only Sunday was by far larger than three runs.

It was a comeback anyway, capping Baltimore’s first undefeated homestand of at least seven games since August 3-9, 2004. The Orioles’ show was baseball’s Sunday matinee.

“This is a really fun team,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Go straight to our clubhouse. There is a lot of energy. guys really like each other. They’re a very, very tight group. It’s fun now.”

Winning this series was in a whole different sense. The Orioles responded to Monte Harrison’s homer with two runs against Austin Voth with all nine runs between the fourth and sixth innings, including four run frames in the fourth and fifth. All their damage, highlighted by RBI doubles from Mountcastle and Anthony Santander, stayed in the yard, and they got multi-hit performances from Trey Mancini and Ramón Urías. Two runs came on a passed ball and a wild pitch in the fifth inning.

Do you remember the feelings of the last four years when it felt like anything that could go wrong would go wrong? There’s a different vibe in Baltimore these days.

“It’s easy to kind of run out of energy today after an emotional week and an early 2-0 deficit,” Hyde said. “But our boys stayed in, there was a lot of encouragement in the dugout as always. [I] I thought we played really good baseball.”

But what is different about these orioles?

Talent is the first change you will hear. They’re younger, more physically fit, more opportunistic. Next is their balance of wily veterans – Jordan Lyles, Mancini, Jorge López, Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos’ influence is palpable – alongside rising youth; Adleyrutschman and Kyle Bradish are just the first entrants from baseball’s premier farming system.

The Orioles are 29-20 as of May 19, two days before Chuchman was called up.

But a lot is the same as in previous years. It’s a similar core with Mancini, Austin Hays, Santander, Cedric Mullins and others. (They’ll all tell you they’re more comfortable with another year.) And the Orioles continue to fill roster slots with waiver claims. Only this year the results are miles ahead, whether it’s the quality of talent found or the ability to squeeze such talent internally.

Voth is another example. His five-inning outing Sunday was the longest of his Orioles tenure since moving to the rotation, and he was flagged for a run-scoring hit (on Harrison’s home run) and added six strikeouts to be just one shy achieve career high. As a member of the 2019 World Series Nationals Champion, he knows what it’s like to live in a vibrant, rejuvenated clubhouse.

“What I’ve seen is good chemistry between everyone,” Voth said. “In 2019 we had good chemistry and the guys just got together and could joke and play well. I’m starting to see this.”

There was 1979’s “Orioles Magic,” the “Why Not?” Orioles of 1989, the “Birdland Power Co.” of the mid-2010s.

The 2022 Orioles are unnicknamed. And yet they have come this far. Everyone can imagine how far it will go.

“We won in many different ways,” Hyde said. “More wins bring more confidence.”

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