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Adley Rutschman and the Orioles have beaten the odds by avoiding sweeps in the regular season

 The Associated Press  |    May 15th, 2024 6:40pm EDT

BALTIMORE (AP) — Adley Rutschman has still never been swept in the regular season as a big leaguer.

With that streak on the verge of ending, the Baltimore catcher took matters into his own hands Wednesday, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. The Orioles have now gone 105 consecutive regular-season series of at least two decisions (no ties) without being swept. Only two teams have had longer runs.

“Our guys are really resilient, they have been all year,” Rutschman said. “Always the next guy up. We never think we’re out of it.”

Baltimore’s streak lost some of its luster when the Orioles were in fact swept in last year’s postseason — in the AL Division Series by Texas — but the regular-season run is still fascinating. Of the 105 series, 76 have been three games, 19 have been four, nine have been two, and there was one five-gamer. Baltimore’s overall record during the span is 197-132.

Even for a team with a winning percentage of .599, the chances of going through all those series without being swept are around 0.08%.

There are other stats that also reflect the team’s ability to avoid extended slumps. The Orioles haven’t lost any of their last 17 series against the AL East, going 12-0-5. They’re also one of three teams in the majors, along with Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs, that haven’t had a three-game losing streak this year.

The most recent time Baltimore was swept was May 13-15, 2022, at Detroit. So the streak has now hit two years. Rutschman made his big league debut May 21, 2022, and the Orioles started playing a lot better almost immediately.

The streak is tied for third in major league history, according to information from the Elias Sports Bureau via the team. The 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals went 124 series without being swept, and the 1906-09 Chicago Cubs went 115. The 1903-05 New York Giants also had a 105-series run.

On 14 occasions, the Orioles have needed a win in a series finale to avoid a sweep. They’ve pulled it off each time, including a 12-inning win at Washington earlier this month that prevented a two-game sweep — and then Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays, when Baltimore didn’t score at all between Jordan Westburg’s leadoff homer in the first inning and Rutschman’s walk-off shot.

“You normally don’t win games like that when you leave that many guys on base and have that many scoring opportunities,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “But we did because of our pitching today.”

The Orioles had baserunners in eight of the nine innings. They had men on second and third with nobody out in the seventh and first and third with one out in the eighth. Both times they failed to score.

None of that mattered when Rutschman delivered his second career walk-off homer.

“We don’t make it easy on ourselves sometimes,” Hyde said. “We’d like to start cashing in some of these runs and getting some leads and not play so many of these types of games.”


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb