BALTIMORE—DJ Stewart had nothing to show for his first 13 major league at-bats. In Tuesday night’s loss, Stewart had a little league home run — a sharp single to right field on which he came around to score on two Toronto throwing errors.
On Wednesday night, Stewart’s home run was of the major league variety, and his timing was perfect. Stewart’s home run and double were the big hits in the Orioles’ 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The win ensures that the only record for losses this season set by the Orioles will be team ones. It was their 44th win against 108 defeats, with 10 games to go. In 2003, the Detroit Tigers lost an American League record 119 games.
Stewart led off the third with a long fly ball to right. First base coach Wayne Kirby and Stewart were trying to will it fair.
“It was a little close there,” Stewart said. “But once I saw it hit off the foul pole, it kind of sunk in that I did it. We did it. It was a lot less stressful than the little league home run.”
Stewart added a seventh-inning double, and he scored on Cedric Mullins’ RBI single.
After the first hit on Tuesday, Stewart feels a lot more confident.
“I wasn’t really pressing,” Stewart said. “But it’s always a relief when you can get the first one out of the way and then to come out here to have that confidence going into the game that you’re still feeling really well. And then going over the wall, that’s got to give you more confidence.”
Piecing it together
Orioles manager Buck Showalter hopes that he’ll get Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb back for perhaps a final start. He used multiple relievers to get through the first and third games of the series.
On Monday, Evan Phillips, Sean Gilmartin and Cody Carroll combined to pitch nine innings in a 5-0 loss. Jimmy Yacabonis, who hasn’t pitched more than five innings as a nominal starter, began the proceedings Wednesday by throwing four shutout innings.
Mike Wright worked two. Miguel Castro recorded five outs, and Tanner Scott got the last out of the eighth. Mychal Givens picked up his eighth save in the ninth.
After everyone rests Thursday, Yefry Ramirez and David Hess pitch Friday and Saturday. They’ll both likely need at least three innings apiece from the bullpen, and Showalter said he’ll decide what he’ll do Sunday against the Yankees after Friday’s game.
For now, John Means and Dillon Tate are still in Sarasota, and Showalter’s preference is not to use them. However, if Ramirez’s start is a short one, they might need to be summoned to help on Sunday.
One pitcher who won’t be joining the team on its trip to New York and Boston is Josh Rogers, who was sent home after Wednesday’s game.
Showalter said that Rogers had reached his innings’ limit, and the team was satisfied with how he pitched.
Yacabonis has worked a combined 108 2/3 innings at Norfolk and with the Orioles, more than he’s ever pitched.
In his first year as a starter, Yacabonis had five big league starts. After his previous one on Aug. 25, Showalter indicated that there wouldn’t be any more.
Yacabonis would like to know the Orioles’ plans for him in 2019.
“I think it’s something I’m going to have to discuss with the staff here,” Yacabonis said. “What kind of role they want to put me in for next year, what kind of work I’m going to have to put in this offseason to prepare for whether I’m going to be a long guy or middle relief or a starter next year.”
Adam Jones threw out Toronto’s Billy McKinney when he tried to score from third base on Kendrys Morales’ fly ball to right in the fourth. Yacabonis, who retired the first nine batters he faced, allowed two singles and a walk to start the fourth.
Jones’ assist was the 99th of his career and his first as a right fielder.
“He had his momentum coming to us and saw the flight of it,” catcher Austin Wynns said. “I thought I had more time, so I took a step back, and it was bang-bang. It was a great throw by Adam.”
Showalter, who’s had to watch countless subpar defensive performances this year, was pleased by the cleanness of the game.
“It had a feel for some games that we played here up until (September) last year,” Showalter said. “I still feel elated after we win a game, and then I think about all the good things that went on, especially defensively tonight.”
Sisco on hold
Catcher Chance Sisco, who suffered a lacerated chin in Sunday’s game, has been in concussion protocol and won’t accompany the Orioles on their six-game trip to Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.
If the Orioles need a third catcher, they could call up Martin Cervenka, who’s headed to the Arizona Fall League after he showed excellent progress at Double-A Bowie. Cervenka is expected to be added to the 40-man roster.