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BALTIMORE (AP) — Dean Kremer took a shutout into the seventh inning before eventually giving way to the Baltimore bullpen.

This season, that must be a pretty comfortable feeling.

“It’s been fun to watch them all season,” Kremer said. “They’ve got a little bit of everything. Anything you can think of, they got it.

Except we don’t have any submarine guys. That’s about it.”

Kremer pitched impressively into the seventh and Félix Bautista held on through a dicey ninth to lift the Orioles to a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Ramón Urias singled home the game’s only run in the sixth after the Orioles squandered several chances earlier in the game. That was enough for a Baltimore team that has emerged as a surprising postseason contender recently.

Kremer (4-3) allowed four hits and struck out two. He escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam in the second when Cal Mitchell bounced into a double play. Then Kremer didn’t allow a baserunner for the next four innings.

After Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a one-out double in the seventh, Kremer turned the game over to the bullpen, which again came through for the Orioles. Cionel Pérez got five outs and Bautista pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

The Orioles traded closer Jorge López to Minnesota shortly before the deadline, but Bautista has been excellent this season and seems capable of filling the role. He allowed a one-out single by Ben Gamel and a nine-pitch walk by Hayes. Then rookie Oneil Cruz struck out swinging and Kevin Newman went down looking.

Mitch Keller (3-8) allowed a run and eight hits in six innings. He has a 1.74 ERA in his last five starts.

Baltimore went 2 for 15 with men in scoring position. The Orioles put the leadoff man on in each of the first four innings, and in three of them had a runner on second with nobody out.

Ryan Mountcastle lined into a double play with men on second and third to end the first. Another double play in the fourth derailed a rally after the first two batters reached base.

“Usually when you squander that many early, you’re expecting something not good to happen,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Fortunately for us, Dean Kremer — I mean, that was his best outing of the year.”

Anthony Santander opened the bottom of the sixth with a double, and after Mountcastle failed to advance him with a groundout, rookie Terrin Vavra hit a comebacker off Keller for an infield single. Then Urias hit a chopper that snuck into left field to put the Orioles ahead 1-0.

The game was delayed for 109 minutes at the start, and the rain lingered after play began, but the crowd of 25,613 was spirited, perhaps energized by a Baltimore team that’s now won 31 of its last 47 games.

Umpire Carlos Torres came down with a non-COVID illness before the game, so a three-man crew was in charge. This became an issue when batters attempted to check their swings and there was no ump positioned near third to make the call.

The Pittsburgh dugout erupted when Baltimore’s Brett Phillips — batting with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth — was ruled to have held up on a pitch by Yohan Ramirez. Pirates manager Derek Shelton was ejected and said afterward he didn’t agree that the play could be appealed to an umpire not far from second.

“I know it’s very challenging, but I don’t understand how we can go to a guy in the middle of the field for that call. I don’t think that’s right,” Shelton said. “I think when you have a three-umpire crew, it should be the home plate umpire’s call.”

Phillips ended up popping out.

Both teams were coming off impressive three-game sweeps — Baltimore against Texas and Pittsburgh against Milwaukee.

ON A ROLL

Vavra had three hits and is now 6 for 13 in his short time in the big leagues. His second-inning single made him the first Baltimore rookie to reach safely in seven straight plate appearances since Jerry Hairston Jr. in 1999, according to information from the Elias Sports Bureau provided by the Orioles.

That streak ended when he reached on an error in the fourth, but then he added two more singles.

“His at-bats have been so good,” Hyde said. “I’m so impressed with the ability to take pitches off the plate. I really like the short swing.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: OF Austin Hays (side) did not play.

UP NEXT

Baltimore sends Austin Voth (1-1) to the mound Saturday against Pittsburgh’s JT Brubaker (2-9). The Orioles will have a pregame ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of Camden Yards.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Polarizing Bulls Star Sounds Off On Teams Lofty Standards

Getty Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Chicago Bulls rebounds over teammate Coby White #0

This is a very important year for the Chicago Bulls and fourth-year guard, Coby White knows it. It is a significant year for him as well with his contract set to expire at the end of the season and the jury still out on his long-term future.

The Bulls fielded calls on White for the past year but could not find anything to their liking for the former seventh-overall pick in 2019.

They will focus on rebuilding his trade value with the intention of exploring it at the deadline.

But the possibility technically still exists for the Bulls to reach an extension before the season or, if they wait, a new deal next summer. If that happens, that likely means White played lights out which would only follow what he had to see on the team’s mindset this offseason.

Bulls Have ‘Championship Standards’

White has been overseas for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Asia. That has kept him away from the pro-am circuit several of his teammates have participated in. But he was at the team’s unofficial workout sessions in Los Angeles.

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While helping to grow the game internationally, he has stayed tapped in with the team.

In a story about Bulls’ assistant Damian Cotter‘s NBA journey, White spoke with Roy Ward of The Sydney Morning Herald saying the “ceiling is limitless” for the Bulls.

“Before I came out here we were all together in L.A. so, with a full summer, anything is possible for us”

He then went on to echo the sentiments shared by some of his teammates and certainly Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

“We want to make the playoffs, definitely, but we have championships standards over here – we are trying to win…A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of those [contending] teams like Milwaukee, Phoenix, Golden State, and Boston have been together for years. Their core has been together.” (H/T Roy Ward/The Sydney Morning Herald)

White has bought into that message.

“That was our first year, we had a whole new team, so it takes time to get better.”

Bulls Dangerous (When Healthy)

During the August 9 episode of the “Bulls Talk Podcast”, hosts K.C. Johnson and Rob Schaefer pointed out that the Bulls’ closing lineup was particularly strong. And Patrick Williams’ injury forced their intended starting lineup to see just 63 minutes in five games together all season.

The underappreciated aspect of all their injuries was how depleted their bench was. Chicago’s reserves ranked 29th in points per game.

They were also 28th in minutes per game as they had to ride their healthy players to compete.

Not all shots are created equal. Among 2021-22 Point Guards with 1,000+ minutes:

⬆️ Over performing shot quality
⬇️ Under performing shot quality
➡️ Take easy shots
⬅️ Take hard shots

What stands out?

Create your own graphs here:https://t.co/Xnn6TCH5qD pic.twitter.com/aTnvx1SFwM

— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) August 7, 2022

White made 17 starts last season – after being primarily a starter the year before. The 6-foot-5 White recorded his only season with a defensive rating at or above the 50th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass. He added 2.5 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor.

That was good for second among the eight Bulls to see at least 1000 non-garbage minutes.

Unfortunately for White and the Bulls, he allowed the defense to score 3.1 points more per 100 possessions; third-worst on the team.

But he did shoot a career-high 38.5% from beyond the arc on 5.8 attempts per game, third on the team behind only Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball. On a Bulls team that ranked fourth in three-point efficiency but dead last in attempts, White is not a luxury.

Bulls Need Coby White

It is not as if they added anyone outside of 36-year-old Goran Dragic who is a career 36% shooter from deep and shot just 25.4% on threes last year. That is why extending White before he hits restricted free agency could be a smarter play.

The Bulls would be selling low on a player that has flashed enough potential to warrant getting a look at him in a proper role with proper support.

They could do much worse than White for a scoring option off of the bench.

His defense is less of a worry in that capacity as well. But he has to find a level of consistency to warrant that extended look.

Otherwise, the Bulls could find themselves in the same position they have been for the last year. Searching for a taker for White at the deadline without any takers. And then what happens in free agency?

The good news for the Bulls and fans is White is not focused on that. He is locked in on helping this team win a championship which some say is their only acceptable path.

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