BALTIMORE—It’s no secret that the Orioles have been allowing home runs at a record pace. When Alex Cobb, who started the second game of a Saturday doubleheader, allowed home runs to Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron in the first inning, it meant the Orioles had become the first team in baseball history to allow more than 50 home runs before the end of April.
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Dan Straily allowed three solo home runs, two to Eddie Rosario, as the Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins 6-5. The Orioles surrendered eight home runs in the Game 2 16-7 blowout loss to the Twins.
“A lot of times, baseball games come down to one or two pitches, and before you throw the ball you don’t know what impact it’s going to bring to the game,” Straily said after Game 1.
“One of those would have changed the outcome for us. It brings back the importance of being focused on every single pitch and trying to execute them. Today, a couple of the home runs were not even bad executed pitches. It was just bad game-calling on my end of it.”
Straily left after five innings with the score tied at 3. Jimmy Yacabonis allowed three runs in 2/3rds of an inning.
“We’ve given up a lot of home runs,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re looking to execute a little better with two strikes. A lot of the damage has been done with two strikes against us, and it’s just something we’ve got to get a lot better at.”
Pedro Severino, Straily’s catcher, who hit his second home run of the year, doesn’t have an easy explanation for the bevy of homers.
“The pitcher sometimes miss the pitch up in the zone, and that’s why they get a homer,” Severino said. “We are not perfect. Sometimes, we miss the pitch and still get an out. Sometimes, we miss it, and they get a homer.”
Straily said that pitching at a small home stadium shouldn’t be a disadvantage.
“All ballparks have their challenges,” Straily said. “Everywhere you go has something a little different about it. I pitched a full season at the Great American Small Park in Cincinnati.
“…You can also argue that it can help you as a pitcher because hitters are trying to hit home runs when they come here, and they’re a little more aggressive. It gives us a little bigger zone to swing at…The challenge when you’re pitching here is to make sure guys don’t barrel balls.”
Dwight Smith Jr. and Renato Nunez had the Orioles’ first back-to-back home runs in the third inning.
Tanner Scott sparkled in relief, retiring all six batters he faced, striking out five.
Davis Heating Up; Chris Davis had two hits, a single and a double in four at-bats. Davis is 7-for-17 and his average is up to .140.
Davis had an extra-base hit, and possibly a home run, taken away from him when Eddie Rosario, who had two home runs of his own, snared the ball at the top of the left field fence.
Making a move: After the game, the Orioles optioned right-hander Josh Lucas to Triple-A Norfolk. Lucas had a 4.15 ERA in three games.
A move was necessary when Cobb was activated from the 10-day injured list.
Right-hander Branden Kline was recalled from Norfolk to serve as the 26th man in the second game.
Injury updates: Nate Karns, who is on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain, allowed three runs on two hits while recording one out in a rehab stint for Norfolk, Karns walked two and did not have a strikeout.
Austin Hays, who’s recovering from a sprained left thumb, has begun a hitting progression in Sarasota. Hays is hitting off a batting tee.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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