Orioles lose, 6-5, to Nationals on throwing error by Ruiz as Means has emotional return; Santander homers twice - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles lose, 6-5, to Nationals on throwing error by Ruiz as Means has emotional return; Santander homers twice

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—It was a difficult day for John Means. Returning to the mound 12 days after the death of his father, Means was hoping to pitch two innings.

Instead, Means threw 34 pitches and faced only seven batters in the first inning. He retired just two of them and allowed three runs in a 6-5 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Means, who made the shortest start of his career, wasn’t the losing pitcher. The Orioles hit three home runs against Max Scherzer, two by Anthony Santander and another by Pedro Severino, to tie it at 5.

A throwing error by Rio Ruiz in the eighth inning allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Means’ return was the story of the day.

“It wasn’t easy, but it’s one of those things you’ve got to do,” Means said in a video conference call.

“It’s the job, so I’ve got to go out there every five days. I look forward to getting out there again.”

Trea Turner led off with a walk. Juan Soto dumped a single into left field. Turner scored on Asdrubal Cabrera’s single. Kurt Suzuki’s pop fly landed just out of the reach of first baseman Renato Nuñez for a single to load the bases.

Carter Kieboom’s sacrifice fly scored Soto. After Josh Harrison popped out, Victor Robles’ single scored Cabrera to end Means’ start.

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“Physically, he looked good,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s gone through a lot the last couple of weeks. I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest with you.”

Means was supposed to start the Orioles’ season opener on July 24 but arm fatigue prevented that. He had a rough outing on July 30th when he allowed five runs in the first inning to the New York Yankees but was better on August 4th, the night his father died when he allowed a run on two hits in 4 2/3 innings.

“He’s still building,” Hyde said. “This is kind of a spring training for him.”

Jorge López, who was claimed on waivers a week ago from Kansas City, replaced Means.

“It’s going to take a little while,” Hyde said of Means. “We’re going to do what’s best for John and the club. It’s not going to be because of lack of effort on his part. He had a setback early, and he had this unfortunate circumstance. It’s just going to take a little bit to get back to normal.”

Means’ father, Alan, died from pancreatic cancer, which he had been dealing with for a year. He was 57.

“Being home with the family was good,” Means said. “Getting to see them and be there for them, and make sure they’re all right was good. It hadn’t really set in. Today was pretty much the day, getting back to the job. It’s been tough.”

Santander homered against Scherzer with one out in the first. It was his sixth homer of the year.

López worked through the fourth without additional damage.

Turner and Soto began the fifth with singles. Cabrera struck out on a pitch in the dirt, and the runners moved to second and third. Suzuki’s sacrifice fly to deep center scored Turner, and Evan Phillips replaced López, who worked four innings.

“That was fantastic,” Hyde said of López. “That picked us up. Really impressed with his outing.”

Hyde said it was possible that López could follow Means in his next outing, which would come on Friday against Boston.

Means could throw about 50 pitches, then increase by 15 in subsequent outings.

Kieboom’s RBI single scored Soto, and the Orioles were behind, 5-1.

Severino hit a three-run home run, his fifth, with one out in the sixth, and the Orioles cut Washington’s lead to 5-4.

Santander’s seventh homer, his second of the game, tied it at 5 in the seventh.

He became one of 12 players to hit two home runs against Nationals starter Max Scherzer.

“I feel very honored, very happy to face him,” Santander said through a translator. “I’m trying to beat him. He’s trying to beat me. Thankfully, I was fortunate to hit two home runs off of him … He’s definitely one of the best of all time.”

Ruiz’s throwing error on a ground ball by Suzuki in the eighth allowed Soto to score with the go-ahead run.

“That was an unfortunate play,” Hyde said. “Suzuki hit the ball, not a good runner, wasn’t running down the line very hard. Rio, I thought, lost the intensity in his throw. I’m sure he recognized that he had plenty of time and instead of doing his normal routine with catching the baseball, moving his feet and making a strong throw, I thought he let up a little bit.”

Travis Lakins, who walked Soto with one out, was charged with the loss.

Scherzer got the win, pitching seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, striking out 10, walking one. He’s 4-0 in seven starts in Baltimore.

Tanner Rainey hit Renato Nuñez to begin the eighth and then Chance Sisco, Severino and Dwight Smith Jr. were called out on strikes.

Daniel Hudson, who struck out two, including pinch-hitter Chris Davis for the second out, got the save.

The Orioles, who equaled a season high with 15 strikeouts, are 12-9. After sweeping two series against the Nationals and Philadelphia, they lost two of three to Washington.

Get out of here!: Home plate umpire Will Little ejected Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long in the bottom of the second. Little dismissed Long with a loud, “Get out of here!”

Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who was sitting under the tent past third base, was also ejected. He was the second Washington starter ejected in the past four days. Stephen Strasburg was thrown out on Thursday at Citi Field.

Hyde follows Maddon’s lead: From 2015-2018, Hyde was a coach under Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, and in each of those years, the Cubs qualified for the postseason.

With the Orioles playing better than expected, and the playoff chatter increasing, Hyde says he’ll try to remember how Maddon handled the pressure.

“I learned a lot from Joe and his style,” Hyde said. “I’d never been in the postseason before I was with Joe in ’15. One thing I got from him is just how consistent he is, how consistent he is through 162 games, and understanding there are waves through the season when you’re playing well, and you’re not playing well. It doesn’t matter if it’s April or September.

“It’s just coming into the clubhouse the same way with the same routine, one-day-at-a-time mentality, no game is bigger than the next. We’re not going to try to get up for this series. We’re not facing this guy, we need to get going.

“It’s just a real consistent mindset and that’s what I’m trying to be with these guys, try to be the same if we’ve lost three in a row than if we won three in a row. I think that’s helpful. It creates a calm in the clubhouse. It allows guys that have never been two games out in the middle of August before … I want them to feel a sense of calm and just go out and play.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Bancells Moustache

    August 16, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    If you have a Major League caliber first baseman on the roster, he makes the play on Ruiz throw and the ground ball on the previous play.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 16, 2020 at 6:39 pm

      Dang BanMo … Beat me to it.

      I was just thinking about saying that Crush most likely would have dug that ball out. But then again, I don’t think most right minded managers would have had him in the lineup to start with.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 16, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Tough loss. Now let’s see if our BizarrOs can put a hurtin’ on the Baby Jays. It’s AL East time.

  3. Bumble bee

    August 16, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Crush can’t play anymore. We got a good little squad of young hungry players. Even after this loss our team is Omazing

  4. Orioles fan 4weaver

    August 16, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    8th inning was tough with runner in scoring position to tie game, O’s stike out looking for final two outs. completing all 3 outs in the inning, taking third strike pitches. Needed to be more aggressive at the plate. Go O’s beat the Jays!

  5. AZ ORIOLES Fan

    August 16, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    I agree Crush could have handled the throw or at least prevented the run from scoring. With that being said he is so late on fastballs not sure if he (Davis) will get the swing back. It is frustrating but I agree he should be sitting

  6. Ekim

    August 16, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    Rich… In seeing this parade of “no names” in the box scores (I refuse to watch “fake” baseball) it got me thinking about what happened to the 15 warm bodies we got for Gausman, Machado, Britton and Schoop? With no minor league games to track their so called “progress” they have vanished… except for Phillips and for a horrendous few minutes the other night, Cody Carroll. With the current rules and the “list” of 60 players I’m sure some are stashed there. Could you give an update on who is where… and who is now gone? Just saying…

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 16, 2020 at 11:27 pm

      Ekim, from the Machado trade, Breyvic Valera is long gone, Yusniel Diaz and Dean Kremer are on the 60. Zach Pop and Rylan Bannon are in the organization. From Gausman, Phillips is here, Bruce Zimmermann is on the 60. Brett Cumberland and JC Encarnacion still in the organization. From Britton, Carroll is in Bowie. So is Dillon Tate. Josh Rogers and Pop both had Tommy John surgery. From Schoop, Jonathan Villar is gone, Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona still in the organization.

    • Ekim

      August 17, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Thanks. It’s more than I thought but still not a very impressive “haul” for giving up 4 starting players. Thanks Dan D. (NOT!)… just saying…

  7. Bhoffman1

    August 17, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Is there any reason to not release Chris Davis. He is not going to be part of this team next year and he’s gotta be paid anyway. I knew the spring hope would not continue in the season. He’s shot and embarrassed yet his paycheck is more important then anything to him or he would just walk away

    • CalsPals

      August 17, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Saving face, only reason I see, he appears to be teachers pet(Angelo)…go O’s…

      • Bancells Moustache

        August 17, 2020 at 9:30 am

        That’s where I was going with my initial comment. You can draw a direct line from the go ahead run in the eighth to you-know-who being on the roster. I rarely talk about him because that horse has been dead for a LONG time, but he wasn’t a pressing concern when the team was a 100 loss candidate. Now, with them entertaining notions of competitiveness, he needs to go.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 17, 2020 at 10:48 am

      His numbers are actually worse this year then the last two. I would just sit him every game and let him know thats the plan for the next two years too. Yes your playing with 27 guys but possibly it will make him walk away. I know he’s feels he’s should be paid but it all history of sports he’s probably number one in under performance for the money he’s getting

  8. Mickraut

    August 17, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Bottom of the 8th was disgusting. With 2 strikes, you have got to swing at anything close.

  9. willmiranda

    August 17, 2020 at 11:42 am

    We have to keep Davis because people need a scapegoat. In two of the three weekend games the O’s as a team played, in my opinion, poor baseball and lost. But if we focus on Davis, we don’t have to remember, for example, that Ruiz’s defense is still a work in progress. Like many here, I hope the O’s do well and blow past the 20-win prediction. I’m happy that their off-season activities helped them hit the ground running as the season opened. But i also wonder whether other teams will find their sea legs as the season goes on and provide tougher competition.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 17, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      Uh yeah … the AL East looms. And the Rays…and Jays.

      And needing a scapegoat is can not be the reason he’s still here, can it? It’s the $$ that they don’t want to eat.

    • Bancells Moustache

      August 17, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      It’s not scapegoating, it’s acknowledging that Renato Nunez caused Soto to score due to the fact that he is not a First Baseman. Ruiz throw was off target but it wasn’t uncatchable. Davis makes that play, and the previous play Nunez bobbled on the ground ball, but Davis can’t be put on the field because he can’t hit the baseball.

  10. Birdman

    August 17, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    As I understand it, a “scapegoat” is someone who is unfairly blamed for the poor performance of others. Not sure “scapegoat” is the right description for a player who make $23 million a year, hasn’t hit over .179 in 3 seasons, and strikes out about 40% of the time.

    • willmiranda

      August 17, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      I concede that scapegoat is a flexible term. I tried to use it in the sense that group blame is attached to an individual, not necessarily blameless in himself, to avoid confronting other weaknesses of the group. I do think it a bit unfair to blame someone for not being good enough to be on the field unless he has deliberately made himself incompetent by wicked behavior. I also think it is not right to blame him alone for his contract; all the signatories bear responsibility, as well as those of us –moi included– who thought it was a good idea at the time.

      • Birdman

        August 17, 2020 at 3:50 pm

        Agree that we can’t blame Davis for the contract – by all accounts, it was the result of PA in full know-it-all mode. I also agree that it was not unreasonable, at the time, to sign Davis to an extension. What was unreasonable was the length and amount of the contract, especially when the O’s were apparently bidding against themselves.

    • CalsPals

      August 17, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Poor signing on Angelos part, don’t blame CD, can he be sent to the alternate site?…go O’s…

      • Phil770

        August 17, 2020 at 6:05 pm

        Of course we can blame CD, he signed the contract too and it was to perform like a highly paid major league player. Performance doesn’t have to be at his best years, but it must protect against abysmal performance. Frankly, I was disappointed that PA signed Davis; he let the entire team down when he “forgot” to apply to take his Adderall.

        I also blame the Union/CBA system and Scott Boras.

        The entire system needs to be reworked, from service time, to arbitration, to free agency.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 17, 2020 at 7:17 pm

          I think we’re a bit past the adderall incident. The thing is the guy simply lost it mentally and now I believe physically as well. Even where he makes contact nowadays, the ball simply doesn’t jump off his bat. When is the last time you can remember him even getting to the warning track?

    • ClayDal

      August 17, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      Davis has too much service time to be sent to the minors, without his permission. Even if he gave permission to go to Bowie, doubt it would do much good. From this amateur observer’s view, Davis has no more bat speed. The strikeouts were always there, even when he hit 53HR’s in 2013. Now, even on the rare occasions he makes contact, it isn’t solid contact. I can’t see him ever turning it around-at least in Baltimore. Time to move on

    • Bhoffman1

      August 17, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      Phil your 100 per cent right. I feel it’s all about greed now. Davis has enough money to live comfortably the rest of his life. He’s got to be miserable going to the park everyday but atleast he doesn’t have to hear the boos.

  11. Bhoffman1

    August 17, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Valaika batting fifth. Holiday , Velazquez and Mullins 7,8 and 9. Our power right handed lineup. go O,s make me eat my words again.

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