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Adley Rutschman puts on a show at Orioles’ spring training batting practice

Adley Rutschman puts on a show at Orioles’ spring training batting practice

The Orioles’ future has arrived… well, sort of.

Top prospect Adley Rutschman received an invitation to major-league camp this spring but is unlikely to head north with the team once the regular season begins. That hasn’t stopped him from trying to make a good impression on his future coaches, however, and he did so in a big way on Wednesday.

Rutschman stepped up to the plate for batting practice and, after hitting a few grounders and foul balls, settled in just in time to launch two moonshots on his final two pitches of the session.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde couldn’t help but smile when told reporters afterward, “Well he’s fun to watch hit.”

Baltimore drafted the switch-hitting catcher first overall out of Oregon State last June. He immediately became the team’s No. 1 prospect after debuting as a consensus top five minor leaguer on this year’s prospect rankings. Although he’s probably at least a year away from making the majors, Rutschman is already giving Orioles fans a glimpse of what’s to come.

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Three home runs, Rio Ruiz flip, power Orioles to series victory and sweep opportunity vs. Phillies

Three home runs, Rio Ruiz flip, power Orioles to series victory and sweep opportunity vs. Phillies

With two outs in the eight inning and the Phillies threatening to tie the score, Andrew McCutchen hit a sharp ground ball to the left side of the infield. 

Orioles third baseman Rio Ruiz dove to his left, corralled the ball, and as he was falling, flipped a backhand shovel that rolled to second base just in time for the final out of the inning. It was one of the Orioles' best plays, on offense or defense, all season long. 

The standout defensive play kept the Orioles ahead 5-4, a score they’d win by, in their second straight win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. It was the team's second-straight series win.

“That was a huge play,” Chance Sisco said. “It was crazy. Just going into the hole, obviously, is a tough play. And then I don’t know what happened, he stumbled a little bit and fell to the ground. I don’t know what it takes just to get that ball out of his glove. Just a great play.”

Ruiz’s defensive play assuredly prevented a run, and with a bullpen that had to work big innings, that play’s significance cannot be overstated.

“He’s just reading the ball really well, his feet are great, he’s just playing outstanding defense at third base,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That play that he made in the hole, that was game-saving and really won us the game.”

Ruiz had a good night at the plate as well, as he hit a solo home run — as did Anthony Santander and Sisco, to lead the way offensively for the red-hot Orioles.

RELATED: HOW SOON IS TOO SOON FOR THE O'S TO START THINKING ABOUT THE DEADLINE?

After falling down 3-1, they rallied to tie the game in the fourth inning then took the lead in the fifth. An insurance run, by way of Sisco’s home run, gave the Orioles a two-run lead entering the eighth inning. 

Then, they held on — aided by Ruiz’s absurd defensive play — to push their record to 9-7 with a chance for a sweep over the Phillies on Thursday.

Through 16 games of the 2020 season, the Orioles have already surpassed some people’s expectations of what figured to be a year without any notable or exciting games. 

Now, they’re just riding the wave.

“It seems like good teams have different guys on different nights,” Hyde said. “And right now, that’s what we have. We had some big hits tonight. Chance Sisco, Smitty. Middle relief is what won us the game, to me. We pitched well and we got enough runs to hold on.”

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Orioles 3B Rio Ruiz makes jaw-dropping play to preserve win over Phillies

Orioles 3B Rio Ruiz makes jaw-dropping play to preserve win over Phillies

A night after the Philadelphia Phillies dropped a game to the Orioles due to defensive mistakes, Baltimore did the opposite to preserve a win on Wednesday.

Up 5-4 in the eighth inning, the Orioles found themselves in a jam with runners on first and second with two outs and Andrew McCutchen up at the plate. The Philadelphia outfielder slapped a ball between third base and shortstop that should have probably gotten through and tied the game.

But, unfortunately for the Phillies and luckily for the Orioles, Rio Ruiz was at the hot corner.

Not only was the range to stop the ball impressive, but Ruiz then had the instinct to flip the ball to second for the force out. The incredible play essentially saved the game and allowed Baltimore to pick up a 5-4 victory.

RELATED: PHILLIES ANALYST CALLS LOSS TO O'S 'EMBARRASSMENT TO BASEBALL' 

Ruiz also launched a solo homer in the top of the fifth inning to help the Orioles break a 3-3 tie, so it was an all-around impressive performance for the third baseman.

Manny Machado who? Okay, maybe not. But, one thing is true: You can't spell "Orioles" without "Rio." At least on Wednesday night. 

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