When Tyler Wells threw a wild pitch with a runner on third base in Saturday’s first inning against the Minnesota Twins, it marked only the 11th run off the Orioles right-hander on something other than a home run in his impressive first half of the season.
Baltimore scored more than half that many the next inning, providing all of the Orioles’ offense in a 6-2 victory, their fourth straight.
Their first seven batters of the second inning reached base against Twins All-Star starter Sonny Gray. Ryan O’Hearn, Austin Hays and Aaron Hicks singled to load the bases, with Hays doing so in his first at-bat after the All-Star outfielder missed five games with a left hip bruise. Colton Cowser and Ramón Urías each walked in a run before two more singles from Adam Frazier and Gunnar Henderson. After Adley Rutschman struck out, Anthony Santander ripped another single to right field before being doubled off first base on O’Hearn’s lineout.
In all, the Orioles (53-35) went 6-for-8 with two walks in the inning, their second of six runs or more in three days. They otherwise went hitless in the game, going 0-for-15 with a walk against Gray in his other five frames and 0-for-9 with a walk facing Minnesota’s bullpen. But the big inning was enough for Wells, who closed his first half with six innings of two-run ball.
The outing pushed Wells past his innings total from 2022, in which he pitched with strict limits and dealt with injuries in the second half. In his 104 2/3 frames, Wells has posted a majors-best 0.927 WHIP, the third best before the All-Star break in team history for a player with at least that many innings. He leads the Orioles’ rotation with a 3.18 ERA and has gone at least five innings in all 18 of his outings, the fourth-longest streak to start a season in franchise history.
Saturday’s start was far from his most effective at limiting base runners, as Wells issued two walks and tied a season high by allowing six hits, two of which came successively in the sixth to produce a run. But none of the hits he surrendered cleared the Target Field fences. Wells entered having allowed 21 home runs, one shy of the major league lead, accounting for 27 of the 39 runs scored against him.
Bryan Baker followed Wells with two scoreless innings before Danny Coulombe, acquired from Minnesota on the cusp of the season for cash, pitched a scoreless ninth to secure a series victory for the Orioles with one game left before the All-Star break.
This story will be updated.
Orioles at Twins
Sunday, 2:10 p.m.
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