BALTIMORE—Orioles manager Brandon Hyde likes talking about the positive. On Sunday, he resorted to talking about an infielder who gave up two runs and walked two batters in the ninth inning of a 15-3 loss to the New York Yankees.
The Orioles had already given up 13 runs before Hyde walked out of the dugout with shortstop Richie Martin in tow. A moment later, Alberto, who had been playing second base, pitched for the first time.
Alberto’s pitching debut wasn’t artful. He threw slowly, but after giving up a two-run home run to Austin Romine and walking two batters, he made it through the inning, lobbing 74-mph fastballs to the plate.
“I didn’t want to throw too hard because I know I’m not a pitcher and don’t want to get hurt,” Alberto said. “Just try to get out of the inning.”
Hyde, who had discussed position player options with pitching coach Doug Brocail, approached Alberto in the eighth inning because Dan Straily, who was signed Friday and hadn’t pitched in 16 days, had allowed five runs and recorded just four outs while throwing 44 pitches.
“We talked about it before, just in case something like this does happen, and unfortunately, it happened the second week of the season,” Hyde said.
“It stinks. Alberto picked us up big time, though. Unfortunately, those things happen throughout the season. You hope it’s a rare occurrence. It happened to us today, but Hanser picked us up big time.”
David Hess started and after allowing four runs—on three home runs—in five innings, was replaced by Mike Wright, who gave up four runs in 1 2/3 innings, moving his ERA to 18.69.
The Yankees hit seven home runs, the most they’ve hit since July 31, 2007. Over the weekend, they scored 29 runs, all but three on home runs.
Gary Sanchez hit three homers. Clint Frazier, who hit the three-run game-winner against Miguel Castro on Saturday night, had two.
“I think I just need to set the tone a little bit better,” Hess said. “I think going out there and giving up three home runs in the first few innings like that, that’s tough to come back as a team, so I think a lot of that’s on my shoulders.”
Hess pitched 6 1/3 hitless innings in Toronto on Monday. He faced a much different lineup on Sunday.
Seven days earlier, the Orioles had won the final two games of the season-opening three-game series at Yankee Stadium and the first two in Toronto to run their record to 4-1. Since then, they’ve lost four straight.
“I thought we played good the first two games here,” Hyde said about the team’s first home series. “We had chances to win. We had the lead both games and played really well. We just kind of gave it up in the end in both games. Today was not our day.
“They swung the bat great, so I feel really good about five of the six games we played against them. Loved the way we compete, love the way we play defense. We’ve just got to execute a little better in big spots. When you don’t, they don’t just drive in a run on a single up the middle, they go in the seats. That’s what good teams do.”
The Orioles are beginning a difficult stretch of 19 games in as many days. With eight games against Oakland and Boston, they’ll need stronger performances from the bullpen.
Hyde has been keeping away from Richard Bleier, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday because he had lat surgery last June and needs more rest than expected. Mychal Givens has three days’ rest. Hyde didn’t want to use either of them in the blowout.
Perhaps there will be a bullpen move before Monday’s game.
“I definitely was thinking that during the game, but then Hanser picked us up, so it’s something we’re going to discuss after this,” Hyde said. “In a game like that, you start to think about tomorrow, start thinking about [John] Means’ start two days from now. There’s a lot of guys I didn’t want to pitch. Hanser picked us up big time by getting the last three outs.”
Alberto can play the infield positions. Now, he has another line to add to his resume.
“I wasn’t surprised, because I knew the inning before,” Alberto said. “They asked me if I could do it just in case and I said, ‘Yeah, right now.’ To give some rest to the bullpen. Go out there and try to have a quick inning.”
Offensively, the Orioles had many quick innings. Domingo German didn’t allow a hit for 5 1/3 innings.
Chris Davis extended his hitless streak to 23, flying out twice and striking out twice. He’s hitless in his last 44 at-bats, dating back to last September, two short of the major league record.
“I hope that he feels like he’s making progress,” Hyde said. “He took a couple decent passes on those fly balls. Just didn’t happen.”