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By the numbers, postseason-bound Orioles’ two-year turnaround really is something special

Yennier Cano and the Orioles partied in Baltimore after clinching a playoff spot Sunday.Patrick Smith/Getty

If it feels like the Baltimore Orioles have accomplished something historic these past couple years, there are some numbers that back that up.

After rallying to beat the Astros, 8-7, on Monday night in Houston on the strength of Cedric Mullins’s three-run homer in the ninth inning, the American League East-leading Orioles are 94-56 for a winning percentage of .627. Two years ago, they finished 52-110 (.321). Only one team has ever improved its winning percentage by .300 or more within two seasons, according to Sportradar.

That was the New York Giants, way back at the beginning of the modern era. They went from 48-88 (.353) in 1902 to 106-47 (.693) in 1904. Their improvement of .340 will remain the record for at least a little longer because it’s mathematically impossible for the Orioles to surpass it this year. But Baltimore, which clinched a playoff berth Sunday, could still join the Giants with an improvement of over .300.

There’s actually a Baltimore connection to those New York Giants. One of the moves that helped turn the Giants around at the beginning of the 20th Century was hiring John McGraw away from the Orioles as player-manager in 1902. The Baltimore franchise then moved to New York and became the Highlanders, who would eventually be called the Yankees.


Rays finalizing ballpark plans

The Rays and the city of St. Petersburg, Fla., announced a news conference for Tuesday expected to include finalized details about a new downtown ballpark.

The playoff-bound franchise has fielded competitive teams over the past several years but struggled to draw fans to Tropicana Field, widely-regarded as one of the most outmoded facilities in Major League Baseball. The plans for a potential new stadium have been in the works for several months.

The Rays, who have played in the Trop since they first took the field in 1998 , are averaging 17,778 per game this season, 27th among the 30 big league teams. The Rays usually have among the lowest payrolls in the sport.


The consistently low attendance numbers and inability to find a new stadium also made the Rays a constant source of relocation rumors as the expiration of their lease approached after the end of the 2027. MLB rejected a plan to split seasons between St. Petersburg and Montreal.

A new stadium in St. Petersburg would put an end to that long-running saga, allowing the franchise to focus on staying competitive.

Schwarber, Phillies blast past Braves

Kyle Schwarber hit a 483-foot, two-run homer and the Phillies went deep four other times to back Zack Wheeler in a 7-1 win over the host Braves.

Schwarber’s 45th long homer of the season gave the Phillies a six-run lead in the sixth, a drive that cleared the top of the Chop House restaurant in right field at Truist Park. It was the second-farthest ball hit at the home of the Braves and the second-longest homer by Schwarber in his career, 5 feet shy of the ball he hit in the NL Championship Series at San Diego last year.

Philadelphia opened a 3½-game lead over Arizona for the top NL wild card.

NL East champion Atlanta lost its fourth straight but was assured a bye in the Wild Card Series and home-field advantage in the Division Series when Milwaukee lost.

Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, and Johan Rojas also homered to send the major league-leading Braves to their fourth straight loss.


Wheeler (12-6) was charged with just the one run and three hits in six innings.

Schwarber needs one RBI to become the 13th player since 1920 with at least 45 homers, 100 RBIs, 120 walks, and 100 runs in a season.

Cardinals’ Wainwright wins No. 200

Adam Wainwright (5-11) earned career win No. 200 with seven shutout innings and batterymate Willson Contreras was the offense with a fourth-inning homer as the host Cardinals beat the NL Central-leading Brewers, 1-0.

Earlier Monday, in Milwaukee, Republican legislators in Wisconsin announced a bill that would devote more than $614 million in public funding to repair and renovate the Brewers’ stadium — far more than taxpayers spent to build it more than two decades ago.

Under the proposal, the state would give the team $60.8 million next fiscal year and up to $20 million each year after that through 2045-46. The city of Milwaukee would contribute a total of $202 million and Milwaukee County would kick in $135 million by 2050.

The team would contribute about $100 million and extend its lease at American Family Field through 2050, keeping MLB in its smallest market for another 27 years.

Rick Schlesinger, the team’s president of business operations, called the proposal a “good first step.” He said he expects the plan will be amended, but that he’d be happy with it if it were passed today.

Twins’ Baldelli adds twins to family

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and wife Allie have a new pair of twins. Allie gave birth to two boys Sunday night, the team announced.


“Talk about being committed to your job! Congratulations to the Baldelli family on welcoming Twin boys to the family,” the team posted along with a photo.

The Baldellis also have a 2-year-old daughter.

It wasn’t clear when Baldelli will return to the team, which opened a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati on Monday.

Before their 7-3 win over AL Central-leading Minnesota, the Reds placed Harrison Bader (groin) on the 10-day injured list and designated fellow outfielder Hunter Renfroe for assignment. Cincinnati, which was tied for an NL wild card, claimed Bader and Renfroe off waivers Aug. 31.

Cincinnati also activated outfielder Stuart Fairchild and lefthander Alex Young from the COVID-19 injured list.

Guardians’ Ramírez joins 200/200 club

Guardians star José Ramírez stole his 200th career base in the third inning of a 6-4 loss to the host Royals. The five-time All-Star became the 11th player in major league history with at least 200 steals and 200 homers through their age-30 season.

Rookie Tanner Bibee (hip) was placed on the injured list by Cleveland, ending a season in which he established himself as a frontline starter while leading a staff decimated by injuries.

Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez went on the seven-day concussion list.

Alcantara confident of return to Marlins

Injured Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara (forearm) feels confident of returning this season after throwing his second bullpen session. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined since Sept. 6.

Miami began Monday tied for the final NL wild card but lost its series opener to the visiting Mets, 2-1, after New York’s Jeff McNeil hit a solo homer in the ninth inning.