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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue JaysJun 3, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez (30) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles experienced plenty of drama to begin their three-game series — and maybe it was just an appetizer.

The teams meet in the middle game of the series on Saturday in Baltimore, after the Phillies prevailed 5-3 in 11 innings with a late-night finish on Friday.

“It was a heckuva game,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It was pretty good baseball. We just didn’t get the big hit.”

The series opener was so intense that it appeared the Phillies had won in the 10th, but a replay review overturned what would have been a game-ending out at the plate. Instead, Baltimore’s Cedric Mullins scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

Then before the 11th, rain led to a 71-minute delay.

This series marks the first time the teams are meeting in Baltimore with both holding winning records. Plenty of Phillies fans have secured tickets.

The Orioles will send right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (7-2, 3.27 ERA) to the mound on Saturday. He has won his two previous starts this month, at Toronto and at Tampa Bay.

One of Rodriguez’s goals is to work deeper into games, as he has yet to complete seven innings in a start this year.

“Going to try to be in the zone a little bit better at the end of the outing,” he said.

With the Orioles winning so often this season and having a lineup capable of putting up big numbers, Rodriguez said it eases his mind.

“Confidence is high right now,” he said. “Defense is playing great. Thankful for this offense that we have.”

Rodriguez has never faced the Phillies in his two seasons in the majors.

Philadelphia’s starter will be right-hander Taijuan Walker (3-1, 5.40 ERA), who is looking for his first victory since May 11. He has worked at least five innings in each of his past three starts.

In six of his eight starts this season, Walker surrendered at least one home run. However, he didn’t give one up on Sunday against the New York Mets.

It’s one of the signs that Walker is getting back in a groove.

“I think he’s progressing,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We’re waiting for his velocity to spike. Because when his velocity spikes, all the other stuff — the splitter, the cutter, everything else — gets better. We’re hoping it keeps jumping for him.”

Walker pitched last weekend in London against the Mets, yielding two runs in 5 2/3 innings. The start in Baltimore also should have a festive atmosphere if Friday night is any indication.

In nine career meetings with the Orioles, Walker is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA.

Outfielder Brandon Marsh could be joining the Phillies this weekend. Marsh, recovering from a hamstring ailment, he has been on a rehab assignment with Double-A Reading. He played Thursday night and Friday night for the Fightin Phils, racking up a total of four singles.

“I’m not sure what the future holds,” Marsh said in Reading.

Marsh said it stings not being with the big-league team, which continues to compete at a high level. He expects to be back soon.

“I think it shows what kind of organization we have,” Marsh said of the Phillies’ success. “It’s kind of a tribute to the organization and how we go about our work here.”

–Field Level Media

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