When you are a first place team, one of the things you are supposed to do is beat the last place teams. It doesn’t always work out that way, of course, but that’s what ought to happen. The Orioles laid a beatdown on the bottom-feeding Padres on Tuesday night, though it got closer than it should have by the end in an 11-7 win.
Along the way, the Orioles hitters continued their pursuit of the June home run record. You might not have expected that, given that San Diego has a reputation for being a pitcher-friendly environment. That did not matter on Tuesday.
The Orioles brought their big bats - as if they have any other kind - and socked three homers in the course of the win. They are now one shy of tying the record of 55 June home runs, and four home runs shy of tying the overall MLB record for home runs in a month: 58. There are two games left to play in June.
It was the kind of game where two different Orioles relievers got to take an at-bat. That can only mean very good or very bad things. Thankfully in this case it meant very good things. No, neither Oliver Drake nor Mychal Givens got a hit.
Leading off the best way a man can
It didn’t take very long for the Orioles to start the home run party. Adam Jones blasted the second pitch of the game from Padres starter Erik Johnson over the fence. Johnson was last seen giving up six runs to the O’s in four innings, including two home runs, and he’d allowed 12 homers in 26.1 innings so far this season.
That’s the guy you should homer against. Jones did for his 16th home run of the season and 11th home run of June. It’s been a good month for Jones.
The lead didn’t last for long. Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez gave up a leadoff home run of his own to the Upton formerly known as Bossman Junior, now going by Melvin. Upton has hit 12 home runs this year, so it’s not the worst person to have hit a homer, but it was still annoying. Hold a dang lead, right?
The good news is that after that, Jimenez settled down, or at least he did what passes for settling down for him. Why did he manage to walk four guys in five innings? I have no idea. Did he get a little help from his defense when Mark Trumbo threw out San Diego’s Alex Dickerson after Dickerson overslid second base trying to get a double? Sure. But they only got the one run, and that’s something.
The Orioles... well, the Orioles kept doing what you’re supposed to do when facing a starting pitcher whose season ERA was 8.54. They knocked Johnson around, and even some of the outs were very well hit, like when J.J. Hardy was robbed of a home run to deep center by Upton. It would have been Hardy’s first non-Pesky Pole homer of the year. Alas.
Collect 17 hits as you pass "GO"
It’s hard to lose a game when you get 17 hits, although the Orioles garbage time pitchers tried their best later, as will soon be discussed. But before it got to that point, the Orioles turned the contest into a rout.
They scored their runs in a trickle at first. A leadoff double by Jonathan Schoop in the fourth inning ended up leading to Schoop scoring on a Chris Davis sacrifice fly to give the Orioles a lead they would not relinquish. Schoop was one of three O’s hitters to pick up three hits in the game.
In the fifth inning, they added more, in particularly awesome fashion. Hardy led off the inning with a single, putting him on base for Hyun Soo Kim, who was weirdly hitting eighth even though manager Buck Showalter made a pre-game comment to the media emphasizing the importance of on-base percentage.
I’ll let these Korean announcers take it from here:
For my #Orioles fans: here's a Korean broadcast call of Hyun-Soo Kim's home run. These things are fun #MLB pic.twitter.com/keGPN0ZTbI— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) June 29, 2016
Kim has more than a few swings like that in his highlight reel from Korea, and I’m guessing it won’t be the last one he gets in MLB. This was Kim’s second homer of the season. He, too, had a multi-hit game - a later RBI double meant his season RBI total increased by 50% in the game, from 6 to 9. If you just thought "nice," you may be a bad person.
Johnson came out of the game after five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, including the two home runs. The Padres summoned reliever Carlos Villanueva, who was having a fine enough season before the Orioles got a hold of him tonight.
Davis got the party started in what turned into a wild sixth inning by leading off with a home run, his 19th of the season. Davis also had a three-hit game.
Matt Wieters, Hardy, and Kim added three straight hits to drive in another run. Batting with two outs, Jones walked to load the bases. Yes, Jones walked! It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Schoop drove in a pair of runs with a double of his own, and Manny Machado, the third member of the three hit club, drove in two more with a single.
With Davis coming to the plate a second time, the Orioles batted around. Davis hit what turned into a ground rule double to keep the conga line moving. A line drive rolled all the way to the wall and got "stuck" underneath the padding of the fence. This kept Machado from scoring, but only temporarily: Trumbo drove him in one batter later.
At the end of this flurry of scoring, the Orioles were leading 11-1. A blowout, right? Yeah, about that...
Pitchers who have been optioned and will be optioned again
Here is some free advice for Oliver Drake: When you have a ten run lead, don’t walk Ryan Schimpf. Yet this is what he did following an Alexei Ramirez double, and later, after getting two strikeouts, Drake served up a tater to Wil Myers, a guy whose existence I had forgotten once he was traded out west. Turns out Myers now has 18 home runs this year.
Drake was unable to finish his second inning of relief. Mychal Givens got the last out of the seventh and pitched an uneventful eighth inning to keep the Orioles lead at 11-4.
Still a handy lead, no? Again, about that...
Here is some free advice for T.J. McFarland: When you have a seven run lead, don’t hit Schimpf with a pitch. Two outs followed, including a scorched line drive that Schoop made a great leaping play to haul in, before trouble struck. McFarland walked Myers - with a seven run lead! STOP! - before giving up a two-run double to pinch-hitter Adam Rosales and another double to Yangervis Solarte.
Just like that, it was 11-7, and closer Zach Britton started warming up a bit in what was once an 11-1 game. That’s annoying. McFarland stopped messing around though and he struck out Dickerson to end the game.
With the Red Sox winning their Tuesday game and the Blue Jays with a healthy lead as of this writing, the O’s don’t gain any ground on their competition. They don’t lose any either, and one more game is in the books.
This two-game series will conclude with an afternoon game on Wednesday, scheduled to get underway at 3:40. Yovani Gallardo is set to start for the O’s, while lefty Christian Friedrich takes the mound for the Padres.