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Shintaro Fujinami Struck Out Two in a Perfect Eighth; Orioles Finish Off 3-game Sweep of Mets with 2-0 Victory

AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Shintaro Fujinami throws to the New York Mets during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023, in Baltimore. The Orioles wont 2-0 to sweep the three-game series.

BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided to give two of his top relievers the day off.

The rest of the bullpen came through to help Baltimore win another tight game.

Kyle Bradish and four relievers combined on a four-hitter, and the Orioles completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with a 2-0 victory Sunday. Adley Rutschman and Ryan O’Hearn each drove in a run for American League-leading Baltimore, which won for the eighth time in 10 games.

Cionel Pérez (4-1) relieved an erratic Bradish with two outs in the fifth and retired DJ Stewart on a bases-loaded grounder.

“Cionel Pérez, biggest out of the game,” Hyde said.

The Orioles are a major league-best 34-17 in games decided by two runs or fewer, but there are concerns about overworking their top bullpen arms. They lead second-place Tampa Bay by three games in the AL East.

They managed to win this close game without using All-Star Yennier Cano and left-hander Danny Coulombe. Félix Bautista did pitch the ninth for his 30th save in 35 chances.

José Quintana (0-3) allowed two runs and six hits in six-plus innings. He walked two and struck out six. New York has lost six straight since trading star pitcher Justin Verlander and two others on Tuesday to cap a deadline selloff.

The plummeting Mets (50-61) were shut out for the 11th time and fell a season-worst 11 games below .500.

Bradish permitted three hits, five walks and a hit batter in 4 2/3 innings, but the Mets couldn’t take advantage. Pete Alonso grounded into double plays in the first and third, and Stewart couldn’t come through with the bases full in the fifth.

“I was just focused on me, trying to pitch my best sinker in that situation, get a groundball,” Pérez said through a translator. “Sure enough it worked that way.”

Jorge Mateo tripled in the Baltimore fifth when his one-out line drive went past Rafael Ortega in center field. Rutschman followed with a run-scoring groundout to third — Mark Vientos didn’t field it cleanly, so he had no chance to get Mateo at the plate.

With runners on first and third and nobody out in the seventh, O’Hearn came up as a pinch-hitter and hit a comebacker that deflected off reliever Trevor Gott. Second baseman Danny Mendick fielded the grounder and it initially appeared he might throw home, but he took the force at second instead and the run scored to make it 2-0.

Pérez got four outs for Baltimore, and Cole Irvin worked the seventh. Shintaro Fujinami struck out two in a perfect eighth.

“Cole Irvin, outstanding. Fuji, that was the best stuff we’ve seen from Fuji,” Hyde said. “It’s going to take all those guys down there the rest of the way. You hate to see Danny and Cano down. That was my decision.”

The Orioles have an off day Monday, giving everyone some rest after a successful weekend.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Shintaro Fujinami, left, is greeted near the dugout after throwing to the New York Mets during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023, in Baltimore. The Orioles wont 2-0 to sweep the three-game series.