Chance Sisco and Rio Ruiz spent baseball's shutdown this spring living together with their families at Sisco's Florida home.
Their work together paid off in a big way Wednesday for the Orioles in a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the team's fourth straight win and another brick in the impressive season they're putting together.
Sisco and Ruiz each had solo home runs to build and pad the Orioles' late lead, with Sisco adding a two-run single early and Ruiz making a wondrous play at third base to end the eighth inning and keep that lead intact.
With runners on first and second and two out, Ruiz went to his left to field a ground ball from Andrew McCutchen. As he was falling to the ground, he shoveled it toward second base. The throw made it there on its fifth hop and narrowly beat the runner to an outstretched Hanser Alberto.
Ruiz's home run broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning, and Sisco's came in the seventh. The Orioles' scoring opened on a home run from Anthony Santander in the third.
The Orioles (9-7) have the chance to sweep the Phillies on Thursday afternoon. They've now won their fourth series in six chances.
From the first inning on, veteran left-handed Wade LeBlanc was in a situation a pitcher who likes to pitch at the edges and avoid the big part of home plate never enjoys: he couldn't get a strike call.
LeBlanc walked three and allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings, and was spared worse when Shawn Armstrong got a double play on his first relief pitch to end the fourth inning.
A night after the Orioles' relievers turned back the clocks and gave away leads as quickly as the hitters gained them, Wednesday's performance was much more in line with the level they'd found for most of this surprising 2020 season.
Armstrong had a scoreless fifth inning as well, and Travis Lakins Sr. struck out the side in the sixth. Mychal Givens pitched a scoreless seventh and Miguel Castro got into trouble in the eighth and allowed a run, only to be bailed out by Ruiz's tremendous play to get him out of the inning.
Cole Sulser, after losing a ninth-inning lead the night before, came in for his fourth save of the season.
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