Piecing Things Together (Diamondbacks-Orioles; 05.10.24)

Clifford Ray Williams/ALOST

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

BALTIMORE — Even though the Baltimore Orioles sport the best record in the American League, the endeavor of protecting those leads late in ball games has produced more frayed nerves and bitten-off fingernails than what the sterling record would indicate. Another late-game twist featured in the Orioles’ latest victory, one that might be a feature for the foreseeable future.

The Orioles closed out tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards using a closer-by-committee approach, with ninth-inning reliever Craig Kimbrel working a 1-2-3 seventh inning before three relievers shut the door in the final two innings to close out the victory. Cole Irvin allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings to win his fourth consecutive start.

Kimbrel, who was brought in to the Orioles for this season after last year’s closer, Félix Bautista, underwent Tommy John surgery late last season, has struggled to the tune of a 23.14 ERA and two blown saves over his last five outings. As the Orioles entered the seventh holding a 3-2 lead, so did Kimbrel, who faced the bottom of Arizona’s order and retired the 8-9-and-1 hitters in order. It wasn’t the pressure situation that a ninth-inning save situation would have brought, but a smooth outing was what the doctor ordered as Baltimore hopes to get its closer situation righted going into the summer.

“I just wanted to give [Kimbrel] a little bit of a different look, and I thought he threw the ball really, really well,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I didn’t really have a plan after that, except for a few guys I wanted to use there.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with photos taken by DC-area photographer Clifford Ray Williams. 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 22 pictures in total.

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Tags : Arizona DiamondbacksBaltimore OriolesMajor League Baseball

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