Booming bats give Orioles a shot to sweep Rangers

The Baltimore Orioles, who have been tapping into some relatively new sources of production, will go for a sweep of the Texas Rangers on Sunday night.

The teams will finish their four-game series after Baltimore’s 6-5 victory Saturday night, when a grand slam from a young hitter and the first pitching victory for a rookie were among the memorable components.

Rookie Heston Kjerstad’s fifth-inning grand slam was a big post-game topic about 24 hours after manager Brandon Hyde was expressing pleasure with Colton Cowser’s impact at the plate.

“The raw power is on another level,” Hyde said of Kjerstad.

The adoring home fans overwhelmed Kjerstad with their response.

“I’m hitting well right now,” said Kjerstad, 25, who is batting .269 for the season. “I just want to keep it rolling and keep doing it. That’s the type of player I am, and that’s the type of player I want to be when I come to the park.”

Meanwhile, Cade Povich secured his first pitching victory in the major leagues.

It’s not so rosy in the other clubhouse. The Rangers will try to shed a six-game losing streak a night after outhitting Baltimore 9-7, an advantage undone by Texas pitchers issuing seven walks.

“It’s a tough group,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said of his team. “Trust me, they’re all disappointed with where we’re at.”

The Rangers finally got some power production, hitting four home runs Saturday night. Three of those were solo blasts.

The series finale initially was slated for an afternoon matchup before it was shifted to national television. With their 30th game in 31 days, this will cap a grueling stretch for the Orioles, who then will have a flight to Seattle to begin a three-game series Tuesday night.

“We are getting a little beat up right now, obviously,” Hyde said. “It’s been a long stretch, and the off day on Monday will be nice for us.”

The Orioles, who are 17-11 this month, have 60 home runs in June, the most in any month in team history with one game left to pad the total.

The Orioles will send left-hander Cole Irvin (6-4, 3.74 ERA) to the mound, aiming for his first victory in four starts following two losses sandwiched around a no-decision. He gave up a season-high eight runs, though only four were earned, and 10 hits in Tuesday night’s 10-8 loss to visiting Cleveland.

Irvin is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers.

The Rangers on Sunday will turn to left-hander Andrew Heaney (2-9, 4.17), who has a three-game losing streak since blanking the Miami Marlins for six innings on June 2. He is on the verge of losing double-digit games for the first time since 2018, when he went 9-10 while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels.

Heaney holds a 2-3 record and 7.63 ERA in seven all-time meetings with the Orioles. He started last season’s American League Divisional Series opener against Baltimore with a no-decision, though the Rangers swept that best-of-five series.

Sunday night’s game will end Baltimore’s seven-game homestand. The Orioles are 4-2 so far.

–Field Level Media