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.”
2 outs— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) August 13, 2020
Bottom of the 8th
Runners on 1st and 2nd
And then this happened... pic.twitter.com/peWBmAw9ps
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.
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.”
Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE ORIOLES NEWS: