The Orioles and Twins combined for six home runs in game one of a doubleheader at Camden Yards Saturday evening. Ultimately, it was the visitors who came out on top 6-5 as the O’s bullpen struggled in the middle innings.
Dan Straily was on the bump to start the game and delivered five solid innings while allowing three runs on six hits, three walks and four strikeouts. All of his trouble came via three solo home runs.
The first long ball came off the bat of Eddie Rosario, his seventh of the year, to lead off the second inning. Then Willians Astudillo made it back-to-back jacks with a round-tripper of his own, the second of the season for the first baseman.
The Orioles hitters had to deal with all-star hurler Jose Berrios and managed to give him quite a fit throughout his six innings of work. The right-hander did not have any 1-2-3 innings, although he did keep the O’s hitless in his first trip through the order.
In the third inning, however, the Birds got the bats going. Trey Mancini smacked his eighth double of the season and then came home on Dwight Smith Jr.’s fourth home run of 2019 to tie the game at two runs apiece.
Not to be outdone by the visitors, the Orioles also went back-to-back with their DONGS. The next batter, Renato Nunez, golfed an 80 mph curveball into the first row of the bleachers, giving the good guys a 3-2 advantage.
There was a chance for the O’s to add even more runs in this inning. Rio Ruiz singled after Nunez’s homer and then attempted to score on a Chris Davis double off of Rosario’s glove in left field, but was instead thrown out at the plate on a close call.
That Orioles lead would last until the fifth inning, when Rosario hit his second home run of the game, setting a Twins franchise record for home runs through their first 16 games of a season. This one clanged off of the right field foul pole to regain the deadlock.
Straily finished up the fifth inning to close out his work for the day. All in all, he was fine. He gave the O’s five innings, which cannot always be expected from this team’s starters. The obvious flaw in his outing was an inability to keep the ball in the park. However, his changeup also looked virtually un-hittable at times. At the very least, he earned another start.
The two pitchers that immediately followed Straily did not have the same fortune. Jimmy Yacabonis was the first to jog in from the bullpen, and he just did not have “it.” His first pitch was a fastball into Jonathan Schoop’s ribs. A few pitches later, he served up a double to Jason Castro followed by a two-run double to Bryon Buxton. Yacabonis would get the next two batters to fly out before being removed in favor of Miguel Castro. Castro then allowed Nelson Cruz to drive in Buxton with a single before inducing a fly ball to end the inning. By the end of the frame, the Twins had put themselves ahead 6-3.
The Orioles hitters kept on fighting. Chris Davis flew out on a long fly ball to left field that Rosario would end up catching, but in order to do so he had to scale the wall and take it away from a fan in the first row. Rosario could not come to rescue on the next batter, Pedro Severino. The O’s catcher launched a Berrios curveball into the stands for his second home run of the season, cutting the deficit to 6-4.
A pair of one-out singles from Smith and Nunez against Trevor Hildenberger in the seventh gave the O’s another threat, but it was ultimately snuffed out by two fly outs. They did get back on the scoreboard in the eighth inning. Davis and Severino singled to open the frame, which seemed likely to set up a lop-sided inning, but it wasn’t to be. Joey Rickard pinch hit for Cedric Mullins and struck out on three pitches, then Jonathan Villar popped out. Mancini managed to salvage the opportunity with a double down the right field line to score Davis and make it a 6-5 game, but the O’s were unable to push Severino across as Smith Jr. struck out to end the inning.
While the offense was attempting to claw back into the game, Tanner Scott was putting on a pitching clinic. The southpaw threw two innings and faced the minimum six hitters, striking out five of them. The Minnesota hitters couldn’t catch up to his fastball and just looked flat out awkward against his slider. He needed an outing like that after struggling a bit in his first few big league appearances this season.
Unfortunately, the Orioles offense was unable to get anything else done as they went down on three consecutive strikeouts in the ninth inning. So, despite out-hitting the Twins 13-9, the O’s lost game one as the 10 men they left on base came back to bite them.
Game two between these two sides will start shortly (8 p.m.-ish). Alex Cobb (0-0, 3.18 ERA) returns from the injured list to pitch for the Birds. Lefty Martin Perez (1-0, 5.02 ERA) takes the hill for the Twins. Stay right here on Camden Chat and join in on the conversation over in our gamethread!