BALTIMORE—In a season when the Orioles have set a Major League Baseball record for most home runs allowed, it seems fitting that they hit the one that established a new high for MLB homers in a season.
Jonathan Villar’s three-run home run, 443-foot blast in the bottom of the seventh was the 6,106th home run struck in the major leagues this year. It also mattered for the Orioles, breaking a 2-2 tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Villar’s 21st home run, which broke the MLB mark set in 2017, was followed by a two-run homer by Pedro Severino in the eighth and propelled the Orioles to a 7-3 win over the Dodgers Wednesday night.
Renato Nunez walked to start the seventh against left-hander Caleb Ferguson. Austin Hays, who had the first three-hit game of his career, singled to right, where his ball was flubbed by Chris Taylor. With runners at second and third, Mark Trumbo grounded to third, and the runners held.
“Somebody told me after the homer [that it was the record-breaker],” Villar said. “That’s unbelievable … That’s awesome. They put the bat in the Hall of Fame. I’m excited for that.”
Shawn Armstrong, who got the final two outs of the seventh and then worked the eighth, was the winner. It was his first decision in 43 appearances for the Orioles.
The win broke a six-game losing streak for the Orioles and was their 47th, equaling last year’s win total. The Orioles have lost 98. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was asked about its significance.
“It’s not important to me,” Hyde said. “That’s last year. This is this year. We want to get better every year. I don’t think 47 wins is anything to celebrate. We’ll celebrate when we get 95.”
Hyde, who has watched his team give up a major league record 280 home runs, liked being on the other side of history.
“The home runs are up everywhere, and it’s tough to keep the ball in the ballpark,” Hyde said. “It’s tough to keep the ball in this ballpark on a humid night when the ball was traveling. I’ve seen enough home runs here from the other side, so it’s nice to get one from our side.”
It was also a night to celebrate for Hays, who had two singles and a double after being recalled by the Orioles last Saturday, five days after Norfolk’s season ended.
“It was almost relaxing on the body to go home for four or five days to quietly reset, then get my work in the cage and get going on the field defensively, and in the games,” Hays said. “It’s just all instinct. I’m really comfortable where I’m at right now, and really excited to be on the field with these guys.”
The Orioles scored their first run in the second against Ross Stripling. Trey Mancini and Dwight Smith Jr. hit back-to-back doubles. Smith was thrown out at third trying to advance on a wild throw.
Stripling was replaced in the fourth by Dustin May, who worked two scoreless innings.
Orioles starter John Means, who was dominant, allowed a one-out single to David Freese and walked Austin Barnes with one out in the third.
Austin Barnes led off the sixth with a double and A.J. Pollack followed with his 14th home run to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Hanser Alberto walked to start the bottom of the sixth. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Joe Kelly and scored on a two-out single by Smith.
Severino hit his 12th home run against Adam Kolarek, a two-run shot in the eighth, to extend the lead to 7-2.
Mychal Givens, who had nine straight scoreless appearances, allowed a run in the ninth.
Thursday’s game will begin at 7:15 p.m., and will be televised on FOX.
Means’ night and season: Means pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out six.
With perhaps three starts left in his season, Means who has a 3.47 ERA in his rookie season, says it’s too early to evaluate the season.
“I don’t think I’m quite there yet,” Means said. “No, I think once I head back home I might start thinking about it a little bit more, but right now I know I have a bullpen in a couple days and I know I have another start coming up.”
Despite his strong season, Means said he still wants to win over the coaching staff, although it appears to be more of a motivational tool for him.
“I don’t think he has anything to win,” Hyde said. “I don’t know what he means by that, to be honest with you. He’s been our best starter all year and he’s given us a chance to win in the majority of the games that he’s pitched.
“I think he’s always disappointed. He’s had a couple of these outings where he’s kind of cruised through five, gotten into the sixth and given up a homer, had a tough break go not his way. So maybe he means something by that, no pun intended.
“But, no, John Means for me is a competitor. I think he’s improving … I like his presence. I like the way he holds runners. There’s a lot of things in his game I like.”
Baysox even series: The Bowie Baysox defeated the Trenton Thunder, 7-2, to even the best-of-five Eastern League championship series at 1-1.
Cody Sedlock allowed a run on four hits in five innings to get the win.
The Baysox scored four runs, three unearned, against Luis Severino, the New York Yankees’ rehabbing starter, in 3 2/3 innings.
Bowie rightfielder T.J. Nichting had three hits and two RBIs, and designated hitter Yusniel Diaz contributed an RBI triple.
Zac Lowther, who was supposed to start Game 3 in Bowie on Thursday, has been placed on the injured list. He’ll be replaced by Alex Wells. Tyler Herb will start Friday’s Game 4.
If a fifth game is necessary, it will be Saturday night at Bowie at 6:35 p.m.