Running Hot and Cole (Athletics-Orioles; 04.27.24)

Michael R. Smith/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

BALTIMORE — Because of Cole Irvin’s continued dominance on the mound, the Baltimore Orioles have a problem on their hands. Of course, it’s best to be presented with a good problem, as well as to face it after an impressive victory one night after a tough defeat.

Irvin proved stopper once again on the mound, throwing seven scoreless innings in leading the Orioles to a 7-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Saturday afternoon. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth innings while Gunnar Henderson slugged his ninth homer run of the season in the seventh to cap the scoring.

A three-run fourth inning for the Orioles was all Irvin needed, as he gave up just four hits, all singles, and did not walk a batter while striking out five, marking his second consecutive scoreless outing after he went 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a win last Sunday at Kansas City. Injured starters Kyle Bradish and John Means are slated to make their 2024 debuts soon, with the former being projected to start in the next few days and the latter making a final rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk before likely rejoining the team at some point next week.

Unless seven starters are kept in the rotation, there is going to be an odd man out, and Irvin has made it next to impossible at the moment that he will make way.

“Just go out and execute pitches, and the results will hopefully take care of themselves,” Irvin said. “But it’s baseball, so you never know.”

What we do know is that today was Irvin’s longest start since he went seven innings in a game on September 2022, while a member of the Athletics, against Houston.

“We’ve seen that from him when he was with the A’s. His location was great today,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “He was jamming guys with his cutter. He had a good mix, pitched great, and sometimes, you need to tip your cap.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with photos taken by DC-area photographer Michael R. Smith. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are five pictures in total.

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