Home runs by Stewart and Mountcastle lift Orioles to 2nd straight victory; Wells gets 1st win - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Home runs by Stewart and Mountcastle lift Orioles to 2nd straight victory; Wells gets 1st win

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—After erasing the embarrassment of their 14-game losing streak, the Orioles head into an offday with a two-game winning streak.

On Wednesday, the Orioles used the long ball and long relief to defeat the Minnesota Twins, 6-3, before 5,945 at Oriole Park. Home runs by DJ Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle provided enough offense for a group pitching effort led by starter Matt Harvey and a Rule 5 pitcher who threw three scoreless innings for his first major league win.

It was the first time the Orioles (19-37) recorded consecutive victories since they won three straight from April 29-May 1. It was their first series win since May 3-5 in Seattle, and their first home series win of the season.

“I just think we’ve played well the last couple of days,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ve swung the bats well … We haven’t been playing with a lead in, I don’t know how long. We played with a lead the last couple of nights, and did a nice job and added on, and that was huge.”

After the Orioles played a doubleheader on Saturday in Chicago, it left them without a properly rested starter for Wednesday. Hyde didn’t want to start John Means on three days’ rest but decided instead to pitch Harvey, who also started on Saturday, but only for a couple of innings.

Harvey ended up pitching three innings, throwing 43 pitches, and allowed Ryan Jeffers’ first home run in the second. Jeffers was recalled by Minnesota after Mitch Garver, who started at catcher on Tuesday, had emergency groin surgery after Trey Mancini’s foul ball hit him.

“I think it was the first time I’ve ever done that,” Harvey said about being used more as an opener. “You have to make things up as they go.”

Hyde said that he planned to pitch Harvey for only two innings, but Harvey talked the manager into a third.

“I treated it like a normal start,” Harvey said.

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Harvey felt some responsibility for the losing streak.

“There were a lot of games we should have won where we scored runs and me, myself didn’t do a very good job keeping runs off the board, “Harvey said. “We got an early lead. We had a big discussion about flipping the page, and we started off June better than we did in ending May.”

Rule 5 draft choice Tyler Wells (1-0) relieved Harvey and pitched three nearly spotless innings, marred only by a leadoff single by Nelson Cruz in the fourth. Willians Astudillo hit into a double play.

Shawn Armstrong pitched a scoreless seventh and gave up two runs in the eighth. Jeffers’ triple scored Nick Gordon and, after Paul Fry relieved Armstrong, Jorge Polanco’s sacrifice fly scored Jeffers. Fry recorded the last five outs.

DJ Stewart led off the fourth with a single against Randy Dobnak (1-5). Ryan Mountcastle singled and, with Stewart on second, Maikel Franco grounded to Dobnak, who threw to second to force Mountcastle. Gordon’s throw to first was wild, and Stewart scored.

In the fifth, Freddy Galvis walked with two outs, and Stewart hit his sixth home run to right field, and the Orioles led, 3-1. It was Stewart’s fourth homer in the last 10 games.

“I’m trying to be more compact to the ball and not go around it,” Stewart said. “Not really seeing anything different, just getting into a better spot to hit and not missing as many pitches.”

The series was costly for Minnesota (22-33). Garver was hurt in Tuesday’s game. On Monday, Rob Refsnyder suffered a concussion when he hit his head on the center field wall chasing a home run by Mountcastle.

Reliever Caleb Thielbar left Wednesday’s game with a groin injury after striking out Galvis for the second out of the seventh.

With Anthony Santander on first, Alex Colomé walked Stewart, and Mountcastle homered to right-center, his sixth. It was the Orioles’ first three-run home run since May 5th and boosted the lead to 6-1.

“Mountcastle’s home run was enormous,” Hyde said. “That’s really the hit we haven’t been getting, the breakthrough home run to get in their bullpen and not a couple of their high-leverage guys pitch against us every night.”

Notes: Grayson Rodriguez pitched five innings for Bowie in his Double-A debut against the Hartford Yard Goats. He allowed a run on four hits, walking two and striking out eight. … The Orioles’ last series win at home came last September 13-15 against Atlanta.

Call for questions: It’s time for our monthly mailbag. Please leave your questions in the comments or send them to: [email protected].

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    June 3, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Very interesting story in USA Today regarding baseball injuries this yr….go O’s….https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2021/06/03/mlb-injuries-2021-baseball-season-increase/7510128002/

  2. Orioles20

    June 3, 2021 at 7:28 am

    I would like to know what Chris Holt does that Darren Holmes didn’t do while Holt was gone. It’s not a coincidence that the starters have pitched better since he’s been back. The whole pitching staff has. Paul Fry could be a very interesting trade candidate. I know the Cubs had interest in him last year.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 3, 2021 at 8:24 am

      It remains to be seen if it were a coincidence. It may make sense to make that judgement after more than 2 games. After all, they’ve been playing the twins.

      • Phil770

        June 3, 2021 at 8:45 am

        The same Twins which swept them last week? Fry seemed to be off last night, a “here we go again moment”, Holt hustled out to the mound, talked Fry and Wynns and after, Fry was lights out. Maybe it was coincidence, dumb luck or something other than Holt’s insights, still glad he’s back.

        • Hallbe62

          June 3, 2021 at 12:47 pm

          Didn’t see Holt out there in the 9th, but Wynn’s definitely made a quick trip to the mound, whispered something to Fry, and he immediately settled down and got the outs

          • Phil770

            June 3, 2021 at 1:30 pm

            Good point, but if Holt went out in the 9th it would be his 2nd trip and he would have had to remove Fry from the game. Seems more plausible that Holt called out from the dugout for Wynns to go out. But if Wynns is the secret, wished we would have brought up sooner.

          • Hallbe62

            June 3, 2021 at 2:48 pm

            Agree Phil

      • Orioles20

        June 3, 2021 at 8:47 am

        When Holt was gone the lost every game in that span and the pitching sucked. He comes back and they pitch great. Yeah they’re playing the twins but they still have guys like Cruz and Donaldson.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        June 3, 2021 at 10:16 am

        Gentlemen, I’m not saying the pitching coach doesn’t make a difference, just saying I think it’ll take more than 2 games to make a definitive call on that one. Heck, maybe a little credit should go to a new catcher? After all, he showed up for the same 2 games.

        Nooooo….if I don’t miss my guess, the O’s pitching will hit many more rough spots with or without Holt. Talent is talent, and a lack of talent is a lack of talent.

        Another couple weeks of this, and I give Mr. Holt all the credit that you guys want me to.

        • Phil770

          June 3, 2021 at 10:29 am

          Severino played last night.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            June 3, 2021 at 12:24 pm

            Uh double checked … Wynns was the catcher.

            But it’s spitting hairs either say, I seriously doubt the catcher makes that kind of difference anyway…..again….especially if it’s only 2 games. Like I said before, another couple weeks of this, and I give Mr. Holt all the credit that you guys want me to.

    • Horncall

      June 3, 2021 at 11:18 am

      I actually was thinking the exact same thing.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 11:31 am

      I don’t believe severino played Wednesday…go O’s…

      • Phil770

        June 3, 2021 at 12:55 pm

        Severino played Tuesday night, hit a home run, in the win that broke the losing streak. Holt was the pitching coach for both wins.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 1:23 pm

      Phil said Holt hustled out to the mound & talked to Fry & Wynns, then later said Severino played, that is what led to confusion, Phil & Horncall thought Severino played last night, Wynns does do a better job behind the plate than Severino, he should be catching every time he can…go O’s…

      • Phil770

        June 3, 2021 at 1:37 pm

        CalsPals, sorry for the confusion, it happens more when you get older, you’ll see. Anyway, Boog seemed to be suggesting that Wynns caught both wins, so my “last night” reference was incorrect, as you have pointed out; probably should have said previous game or Tuesday’s win. I’ll admit that I am a lot more impressed with Holt than you folks, but if Wynns is the secret weapon, so be it.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          June 3, 2021 at 4:44 pm

          You were right…I DID think Wynns caught both games … and if Holt IS the secret weopon…so be it…it’s just a bit early to say that….of course that is JUST my opionion. Again…I’m not saying he’s not …

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 1:43 pm

      I think Holt is doing a great job, & I get it as you get older, right there with you, no harm no foul…go O’s…

  3. [email protected]

    June 3, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Grayson Rodriguez had 8 strike outs not 2

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 3, 2021 at 9:06 am

      Thank you for the correction.

  4. PC in OC

    June 3, 2021 at 8:11 am

    CalsPals, Thank you for putting that article out. Very interesting.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 8:33 am

      Not a problem…go O’s…

  5. Bman

    June 3, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Rodriguez struck out 8, and between him and smith they struck out 15. Not bad! One of these days Norfolk will get some guys back from injury and get consistent pitching. Will the Os draft House who keeps getting mentioned with them, or go under slot again? Stewart seems like he’s heating up a little bit. It will be good to get Harvey back in the pen and Hays in the lineup. How soon till Elias starts making trades, not till July?

  6. Orial

    June 3, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Any suggestions that the O’s have been hit particularly hard by the injury bug are a little off base. Other than Hays,Santander,and Stewart to a lesser degree the O’s have been spared the agony of an abundance of other teams. It’s an Epidemic throughout MLB. Mountcastle’s 3 run HR was as big as it gets. Big because it was him(on the heels of Tues HR) and big because it was a 3 RUN HR–something the O’s are usually victim of. Great to see he and Stewart lead the attack. Speaking of Stewart—there’s something about him,I’m not quite ready to give up on him. Things looking good but boy do the O’s need a hard throwing strike pitcher(s) coming out of the ‘pen. Even Fry gets scary when we put all our marbles on him.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 11:33 am

      Orial, baseball has been hit hard by injuries, feel free to read article posted above…go O’s…

      • Orial

        June 3, 2021 at 2:40 pm

        I’m stating that in the wider realm of MLB and it’s injury epidemic the O’s don’t really stand out. Some teams have been heavily decimated. This situation facing MLB is very concerning especially considering that it’s not even a contact sport. The article you posted is definitely eye-opening.

  7. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 3, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Nobody seems to be excited about Mountcastle’s progress? I know it’s been slow in coming, but he’s gradually working his numbers back up. Batting .238 currently, was in the 170’s range not all that long ago was it? And wasn’t the league average below that .238 mark? He’s also showing a little of that power lately. Rookie of the year can still be had IMO.

    AND my boy DJ Stewart had a game didn’t he? I know very few around here like the guy’s game, but there’s just something about him that makes me want to stick with him a while. I think despite his current numbers, he’s really a decent hitter, and not nearly as bad in right field as most make him out to be. He’s powerful and fast. A good combination. I’m not one for anlaytics, but I read this spring where his launch angle is one of the top 2 or 3 in the game …for whatever thats’ worth.

    Geeeze, what a difference a 2 game win streak makes! I’m not going to go back to my 80 game prediction, but maybe we’ve seen the bottom already and things will get better for the rest of the year. If only Mikey would allow it …

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      Agree regarding Mountcastle, was trying not to jinx him…go O’s…

    • Unoptionable-Option

      June 3, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      Mountcastle’s average dipped to 0.167 on 4/25. Since then he is batting 0.283. He is batting 0.313 since May 15th with 3 homers.

      Not sure about the ole launch angle, but DJ has developed a very good eye the past two seasons, very low chase rate and high walk rate. I like his game…

    • Icterus fan

      June 3, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks for sharing those positive stats about DJ.

      I really want DJ to make it. I do. I’m no brilliant evaluator of talent; I sit in my chair staring at my TV being opinionated.

      But I see a bit of a bull-in-a-china-shop kinda player. He’s a gamer, and plays all out which we like. Good arm, too.

      But he seems to make many
      plays turn into heart stopping moments, defensively. I hope he puts up numbers and stays off the IL.

      The power is there, and I’ll take the homers, but he has such a long loopy swing, I wonder if he cut that down a bit if his average and RBI would improve as he goes for a bit more contact.

      Just some ramblings.

  8. TxBirdFan

    June 3, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    The M & M & M & M boys have been doing their jobs recently but we need the rest of the Alphabet to kick in and be more consistent, especially the pitchers. I don’t like all these off days just as they started to click a little better.

    Boog – 80 wins seems is a huge stretch. They’d have to play .580 ball the rest of the way – they’ve played .340 ball so far. I just don’t see it. At this point I’d just like to see them avoid 100 losses.

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      I see some advertising potential there…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        June 3, 2021 at 4:48 pm

        Replacing the Snickers? (I never got what that was about)

    • CalsPals

      June 3, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      M&M’s vs Snickers LOL…go O’s…

  9. Phil770

    June 3, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    RM has hit into some tough luck, too. As you have pointed out often, especially with these young guys, gotta stick with them. I do hope he can get back to the plate discipline that he showed last year. I have seen a number of at bats where he has swung somewhat wildly at pitches well off the plate.

    • Icterus fan

      June 3, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Agree. RM does chase stuff low and away. I like the aggressiveness, though, and he has the strength to pull in the hands and hit it a long way (as we saw last night)
      Hopefully he’s back on track and will be more selective.

      • willmiranda

        June 3, 2021 at 2:42 pm

        Mounty is a natural hitter he’ll do fine. As many have pointed out, he’s still a rookie –since last year was a scheduling aberration– and adjusting to major league pitching. You don’t learn to deal with ML breaking balls while getting extra seasoning in Norfolk; you just get to fatten up on minor league pitchers.
        Nice to have an off day to enjoy the twin wins!

  10. dlgruber1

    June 3, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    I gotta say over the years, ever since Harrisburg got a team, I’ve become more interested in minor league baseball. One of the things I LOVE about it are the teams names. I mean, how can you not wanna root for a team called the Yard Goats? You’ve also got the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and Altoona Curve among many others. I’m sure there are many great team names around the country I’m not aware of but minor league baseball has a charm all its own, beginning with the names of the teams.

    • Unoptionable-Option

      June 3, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp is my personal favorite, I love a good oxymoron.

      Realty/apartment rental website has this list of 10 minor league team names:

      https://www.olympusproperty.com/apartments/nm/albuquerque/olympus-encantada/blog/10-best-minor-league-baseball-team-names

    • dlgruber1

      June 3, 2021 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks for the list, that’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about! My top 3 from that list would be the Amarillo Sod Poodles, Rocket City Trash Pandas and the El Paso Chihuahuas. All are great tho. Thanks again. Maybe I’ll have to add to my hat collection now.

    • Shamus

      June 3, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      Good stuff!!!!

    • DcOsfan

      June 3, 2021 at 10:38 pm

      Another fun aspect to minor league baseball is the unusual and sometimes wacky promotions. On a trip out west the San Jose team offered free goon if a player hit a home run over the rf fence and it hit a junked car parked there. The Stockton team gave away loaves of bread – two loaves to kids and one to adults.

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