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Orioles minor league recap 6/10: Kjerstad legs out inside-the-parker for first Triple-A homer

The Tides mashed five home runs, but Heston Kjerstad’s was the most fun. Meanwhile, Grayson Rodriguez had a lot of hitters swinging at air.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles
Heston Kjerstad didn’t get to trot this leisurely around the bases on last night’s homer.
Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 8, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees) 4

It was a dinger party for the Tides, and everyone was invited. Norfolk crushed five home runs in the game, including the 16th for Jordan Westburg, Camden Chat’s #6 prospect. The blast boosted his OPS to .986, and I feel like he could help this Orioles offense right now, don’t you think? When James McCann is continually starting games at designated hitter, it seems painfully obvious the O’s could use another right-handed bat. Connor Norby (#9) swatted his seventh homer, Terrin Vavra hit his first since coming back down from the Orioles, and catcher José Godoy hit his first since joining the O’s organization.

But the most memorable home run was one that didn’t leave the park, which happened to be the first of Heston Kjerstad’s Triple-A career. Playing just his second game at the level, Kjerstad (#10) shot a drive to the deepest part of the field and circled the bases as the outfielders chased the ball in vain. What a way to get your first.

Joey Ortiz (#7) added a couple of hits for the Tides, who had a well-balanced offensive attack. The only hitters not to join the fun were outfield prospects Colton Cowser (#5) and Hudson Haskin (#17), who were a combined 0-for-9 with five strikeouts.

Grayson Rodriguez made his second start since his demotion and there was a lot to like — mainly, the 10 strikeouts, and the fact that he walked just one batter. A whopping 28 of his pitches resulted in a swing and miss, the most of any Triple-A starter this season.

Despite all the whiffs, the RailRiders tagged Rodriguez for seven hits and three runs in six innings, including a two-run homer by Oriole killer — and now Tide killer — Franchy Cordero. This guy again? Look, Franchy, sorry the O’s released you, but just let it go and leave us alone.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 7, Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) 5

The Baysox can thank Shayne Fontana and Zach Watson for their win, as the first baseman and center fielder combined for three homers, driving in all seven Bowie runs. Two were Watson’s, giving him six on the year. It was a quieter night for the more highly regarded prospects, as Cesar Prieto and John Rhodes (both tied as #23 prospects) went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts between them, while Coby Mayo (#8) had the night off.

It was a rough night at the office for starter Cade Povich (#12), who lasted just four innings. The Wolves pounced on him for six hits and four runs, and Povich made life more difficult for himself by issuing an ugly five walks. That makes three rocky outings in a row for Povich, whose ERA climbed to 5.55. The Bowie bullpen restored order, though, with Kade Strowd earning the win with two scoreless innings.

Box score

High-A: Asheville Tourists (Astros) 6, Aberdeen IronBirds 4 (10 innings)

Top prospect Jackson Holliday continued to be an on-base machine, reaching base three times on a single and two walks. He also committed his fourth error, but whatever. The IronBirds as a team drew an impressive nine free passes in the game to go with their seven hits, but they probably wish they didn’t strand 11 runners on base. Dylan Beavers (#11) had Aberdeen’s only extra-base hit, a double.

Starting pitcher Trace Bright shined quite bright indeed, racking up seven strikeouts and allowing just one hit in four scoreless innings. But a three-run Tourists rally off Dan Hammer in the 10th broke a three-all tie in extras. That’s unfortunate for Dan Hammer, but he can always fall back on the fact that he has a great name.

Box score

Low-A: Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers) 14, Delmarva Shorebirds 6

The Shorebirds were on the wrong end of a rout against Down East, though they actually led the game early before a seven-run Wood Ducks fifth inning turned the tables. Starter Deivy Cruz seemed to have recovered from a three-run first inning, tossing the next three scoreless, before getting chased in that awful fifth. Relievers Darlin Alcántara and Randy Berigüete allowed four runs apiece.

On the positive side, the recent surge of shortstop Carter Young (#27 tied) continued. He homered and reached base three times, and is now slashing a ridiculous .500/.536/731 with 19 total bases in seven games in June. Samuel Basallo (#14) was 1-for-5.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: doubleheader at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 4:05 PM. Starters: both TBD
  • Bowie: at Erie, 6:05 PM. Starter: Peter Van Loon (0-3, 8.00)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Asheville, 7:05 PM. Starter: Alex Pham (2-2, 2.90)
  • Delmarva: vs. Down East, 7:05 PM. Starter: Bradley Brehmer (2-1, 4.50)