Orioles reach quarter pole with win; Davis back at cleanup; Means' strong start - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles reach quarter pole with win; Davis back at cleanup; Means’ strong start

BALTIMORE—On a chilly, damp Sunday, the Orioles equaled their season high with four home runs. All five of their runs came on the long ball, and the Orioles registered a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Chris Davis and Stevie Wilkerson hit home runs in the second inning, and Dwight Smith Jr. hit a two-run homer in the third against Griffin Channing. Pedro Severino added a home run in the sixth.

Davis’ home run was his fifth and his second in three games as he tries to get his average over .200 for the first time since the end of the 2017 season. His average is .189, and he batted cleanup for the first time this season.

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“I told [manager Brandon Hyde] I’ll hit anywhere in the lineup,” Davis said. “It doesn’t really matter. It was nice being in the four-hole. It felt very familiar.”

In the seventh inning, he had a liner that second baseman Tommy La Stella made a fine play on. He struck out twice and walked.

“I felt good. Little cold, little windy, but I felt good,” Davis said. “I felt good the last week or so, and felt like I’ve been seeing the ball well and having good at-bats. A couple of at-bats got away from me today, just going up there and being a little too aggressive. But overall I’m happy with the way things are going.”

Smith, who had two home runs in 47 games with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and 2018, hit his eighth in his 37th game with the Orioles.

Wilkerson hit his third home run in 17 games this season. Severino hit his fifth in 20.

The Orioles had many more scoring opportunities and left 12 runners on base, one shy of their season high. In the eighth inning, they loaded the bases, but Rio Ruiz’s line drive was caught by a diving David Fletcher in left.

The win broke the Orioles’ fifth four-game losing streak. Their record is 14-26 at the quarter mark of the season, two games better than last year.

“Honestly, it feels like we should be more than two games better than we were last year,” Davis said “It’s a different feeling in this clubhouse. You can feel it when you walk in. It’s a different  atmosphere. We’re having fun. We’re enjoying ourselves. We’re taking our job seriously, but at the same we’re going to enjoy each and every day, and I think that’s big for this group of guys.”

Hyde would like to have more wins, but overall is happy with how his team plays.

“I feel like there’s multiple games that we’ve had chances to win that we haven’t, and I hope that as we improve and our guys get better, guys start having more confidence and we can win those games that we lost the first 40,” Hyde said.

“There have been a lot of close games that have gotten away from us. I’m hoping these next 40 that we continue to improve, and those games we can adjust and make better decisions from a standpoint of being able to stay in those type of games instead of losing those games.

“Happy with our effort for sure these first 40 games. I think our effort has been phenomenal. Now it’s continuing to improve and continuing to learn at the big league level. Now it’s about how to stay in games late.”

Means goes deep: John Means threw 110 pitches in six innings, the most an Orioles pitcher has thrown in 2019. Means allowed a home run to Mike Trout in the third and gave up four hits, walked three and struck out four.

“I feel good about it, but I definitely wasn’t on,” Means said. “That’s for sure. Didn’t feel great. Didn’t feel like my fastball command was there. I was just lucky that I could throw my changeup and slider for strikes and that really helped me.”

Paul Fry, Shawn Armstrong and Mychal Givens each pitched hitless innings.

“I definitely feel like a starter now, Means said. “(Andrew) Cashner comes in and he’s like, ‘Oh, they finally let you go over 100 pitches.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know, I was feeling it.’ It didn’t feel that bad. It felt natural. I’ve done it before. I’ve done it all my career, so I’m used to it.”

Nunez scuffling: Designated hitter Renato Nunez was 0-for-4, striking out three times. Since April 26, Nunez is 4-for-52, and his average has fallen to .221.

Nasty weather: The start of Sunday’s game was delayed by two hours, 42 minutes. Because the Angels and Orioles have few mutual off-days, the teams were determined to play on Sunday.

In 2019, the Orioles have had three rainouts and three rain delays totaling seven hours, 46 minutes.

The announced attendance was 16,387, and the Orioles invited fans to take any open seat in the lower bowl. They also are inviting fans who attended to return for a “value” or “classic” game later this season. Game time temperature was 54 degrees, quite cool for May 12.

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