Means, bullpen combine for Orioles win; offense doubles up; Smith closer to return -

Rich Dubroff

Means, bullpen combine for Orioles win; offense doubles up; Smith closer to return

BALTIMORE—After starter John Means needed 103 pitches to get through five innings, the Orioles needed four innings out of their rested bullpen to hang on to a two-run lead.

Shawn Armstrong (pictured above), Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier and Mychal Givens combined to allow one run on just one hit in four innings and the Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2, on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles began the series three games behind the Blue Jays, who are also rebuilding, and with just eight home wins —  the fewest in baseball.

“I’m aware of it,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “With where we are, our process that we’re going through, I’m not concerned about the standings.

“I’m concerned about how we play, and I’m concerned about trying to win a game that night and how we prepare that day, and if we’re playing the game the right way, giving these guys opportunities to develop at the major league level.

“At the same time … it feels a lot better to win than lose, for sure.”

The Orioles are 21-45, and can win consecutive games for the first time since May 4-6 if they beat Toronto on Wednesday. They’re also looking for their first series win since April 22-24.

Means threw 33 pitches in the first inning alone. He got the win for the first time in five decisions, improving to 6-4. In Means’ previous two starts, he pitched six innings each time, allowing a combined two runs on seven hits and didn’t get a decision. His earned run average is 2.60.

“My pitch count was up every inning,” Means said. “It seemed like there was some long at-bat or a runner getting on. I just couldn’t get that clean inning. But thanks to the bullpen for helping out. [Armstrong] did a great job coming in.”


The bullpen has been improving. Since the Orioles’ bullpen imploded on June 4 and turned a 12-5 ninth-inning lead against the Texas Ranger into a 12-11 win, they’ve pitched 20 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits.

“Those six games, our bullpen has thrown the ball great and they’re kind of feeding off each other right now,” Hyde said. “They’re throwing more strikes. They’re attacking hitters more. They’re able to get to two strikes and put guys away and it’s been great.”

Offense effective: For the sixth time in 21 wins, the Orioles scored four or fewer runs.

They had a season-high six doubles among their 11 hits. Anthony Santander had three hits, Jonathan Villar had two and Stevie Wilkerson broke an 0-for-13 streak with a single in the eighth.

Keon Broxton, who came in as a defensive replacement, is in an 0-for-18 slide.

Smith closer: Outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., who has been on the seven-day concussion injured list since June 7, is improving, according to Hyde. He could return on Friday

“I think it’s going to be close,” Hyde said. “I think he’s progressing every day, still going through tests. I know that they had a light workout with him [Monday] to see how everything recovered. I think everything went well.

“Obviously, we’re going to err on the side of caution. He’s progressing and moving in the right direction.”

Minor matters: Seven Frederick Keys have been named to the Carolina League All-Star team. The All-Star Game will be played June 18 at Frederick’s Nymeo Field.

Pitchers Mike Baumann, Steven Klimek, David Lebron and Cody Sedlock, infielder Willy Yahn and outfielders Cole Billingsley and Zach Jarrett are on the North team. Its manager will be Keys manager Ryan Minor.

Branden Kline, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Friday, was transferred to Double-A Bowie to make room for the arrival of Tom Eshelman, who was acquired on Monday from Philadelphia for international signing bonus money.

Draft picks signed: The Orioles signed 20 of their 41 draft choices on Tuesday. The highest pick to sign was fourth-rounder New Mexico State shortstop Joseph Ortiz. They also signed  OF Johnny Rizer (7), RHP Griffin McLarty (8), C Jordan Cannon (10), CF Mason Janvrin (14), RHP Kyle Martin (15), RHP Shelton Perkins (16), RHP Morgan McSweeney (17), RHP Malachi Emond (18), RHP Clayton McGinness (20), 3B Toby Welk (21), CF Shayne Fontana (23), RHP Garrett Farmer (25), RHP Nick Roth (26), LHP Dillon McCollough (27), RHP Jonathan Pendergast (28), LHP Dalton Stambaugh (30), C Harris Yett (32), CF Craig Lewis (33) and OF Trevor Kehe (36). Arizona State right-hander James Ryan was signed as an undrafted free agent.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 12, 2019 at 7:50 am

    I’m going to explode if management sends Santander back down when Smith returns. He needs to be in the lineup every day even if it’s at Smith’s expense. This kid is a keeper and a future star. Jettison Broxton.

    • Camden Brooks

      June 12, 2019 at 8:03 am


    • CalsPals

      June 12, 2019 at 8:18 am

      See if Philly would be interested in Broxton, seriously were trading minor leaguers for international signing money, after trading international signing money for others, kinda looks like a change of plans, I hope, not just craziness….

    • SpinMaster

      June 12, 2019 at 8:27 am

      Boog: I totally agree with you on Santander. He needs to be our everyday right fielder. I now worry when Trumbo comes back as to where he plays and who goes. It seems like Nunez will need to go back to 3rd to keep his bat in the lineup. Rio Ruiz, if he has options needs to go back to Norfolk or Bowie because he now looks like someone who can’t hit if he isn’t playing every day. Outfield of Smith (Left), Hayes (Center) and Santander (Right) with Wilkerson as the 4th OF’er.

    • Bhoffman1

      June 12, 2019 at 8:49 am

      DJ as fourth outfielder not Stevie. He will be sent down anyway when Smith is activated. If Santlander keeps on hitting he has to stay. Crazy that a big athletic guy like Broxton cannot hit and why did Elias think he could hit here? I guess they needed a emergency CF

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 12, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Lets face it boys … Crush needs to go. And let’s try & trade Jumbo for a bag of chips. I think you gotta keep Wilkerson for now. Remember, he’s a infielder first and with that versatility, he’s valuable. Send Ruiz down .. let Hanser & Nunez battle for 3rd base. I think it may be September before we see Hays.

      And let’s not forget … Elias really isn’t interested in winning games this year.

  2. CalsPals

    June 12, 2019 at 8:15 am

    I was shocked when I read Smith was closer, then I read it, go O’s…

    • ButchBird59

      June 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      🙂 !!! Me too. Smith’s our closer? Who the *&^% is he?
      I should have known better as Rich is an expert grammarian. 🙂

  3. Jack

    June 12, 2019 at 9:41 am

    The last few months of 17 and all of 18 was so painful, that this teams spirit and the hope for better days has me enjoying the season.

  4. Jbigle1

    June 12, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Means didn’t get any help in the first inning when Mancini couldn’t run down the flyball in RF and Davis dropped his foul ball. Mancini’s one wasn’t egregious but an outfielder with appropriate speed might’ve had that one.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 12, 2019 at 11:42 am

      No doubt he belongs on 1st base.

      • Jbigle1

        June 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm

        Yeah for sure. Mancini obviously works hard out there but you can only do so much when you just don’t have the speed to run balls down. That’s why it really would not surprise me to see him in another teams uniform come July 31st. Considering we have Mountcastle knocking on the door and Nunez occupying the DH role. It’s a tough place to be when you have 3 1B/DH types On the same team. .

    • Jbigle1

      June 12, 2019 at 11:48 am

      I can’t understand why we send Kline down to AA. Isn’t the hope to develop him further? I don’t understand why that would be the guy you’d say should go to AA rather than some organizational filler in AAA. I like the Eshelman pick up but why not option Chris Lee or Luis Gonzalez? You know some guy who really isn’t in the plans to contribute to the major league team.

    • ClayDal

      June 12, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      I don’t think they were necessarily demoting Kline when they sent him to Bowie. I think they want him to work on his off speed pitches in a less pressurized environment. He’s got electric stuff and when you look at all he went through, he is a remarkable story. Probably just needs a reset, he should be back soon

      • Jbigle1

        June 12, 2019 at 1:35 pm

        I see. You’d think with a move like that they’d send him to A ball or something though because the gap between AA and AAA isn’t huge. But I see the point.

        • Rich Dubroff

          June 12, 2019 at 4:36 pm

          Bowie is also closer so he can be monitored mroe intently.

  5. ButchBird59

    June 12, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Nice outing for Dean Kremer last night in Bowie: 7 innings, 0 runs, 1 BB, 8 SOs
    Rylan Bannon’s average is up to .272 and he’s playing decent at 3B and 2B.
    We may yet get something out of that Machado deal.

    • Bhoffman1

      June 12, 2019 at 6:32 pm

      No won talks about Mason McCoy. Batting 330 and hitting every night

  6. Orial

    June 12, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Doesn’t Trumbo feel back spasms coming on? And isn’t Davis’ hip bothering him again? Sorry couldn’t resist.

    • CalsPals

      June 12, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      Maybe we could’ve gotten two for one of CD had hip surgery w/Corn Cobb….lol

    • Bhoffman1

      June 12, 2019 at 6:35 pm

      CD needs brain surgery. I apologize but he needs psychological help. He’s Mr Denial. Not starting again a RH pitcher tonight. His days are numbered. He will become the highest paid unemployed person in the history of the world

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