Cruz drives in 5 runs against Orioles' bullpen; Mountcastle in concussion protocol; Mateo, Diplán debut -

Rich Dubroff

Cruz drives in 5 runs against Orioles’ bullpen; Mountcastle in concussion protocol; Mateo, Diplán debut

Photo credit: Mitch Stringer USA Today Sports

BALTIMORE—A day before he’ll be inducted into the Orioles’ Hall of Fame, longtime shortstop J.J. Hardy spoke about how much fun the 2014 Orioles were. While there’s no one from the team active on the Orioles, 41-year-old Nelson Cruz is still playing for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cruz, who was acquired by Tampa Bay on July 22nd from Minnesota, played only that one season for the Orioles, hitting a major league high 40 home runs. He left the team when they refused to match a four-year contract from the Seattle Mariners.

Seven years later, Cruz is still a dangerous hitter. He drove in five runs to lead the Tampa Bay Rays past the Orioles, 10-6, before an announced crowd of 11,320 at Camden Yards on Friday night.

The Orioles had a 5-2 lead after five behind the gritty pitching of starter John Means. Conner Greene took over for Means in the sixth and allowed a three-run home run to Cruz, his 22nd.

The bullpen would falter again in the eighth, as would the defense. Paul Fry (4-4) allowed a bloop single to right by Mike Zunino. Like Wednesday night against the Yankees, when two fly balls to right weren’t caught, rightfielder Anthony Santander was slow in getting to the ball and second baseman Ramón Urías wasn’t able to help because he was on the left side of the infield in a shift.  Fry then walked Kevin Kiermaier and Jordan Luplow, and Dillon Tate relieved him.

Cruz hit a liner to third that handcuffed third baseman Jorge Mateo, who was claimed on waivers from San Diego on Thursday. Mateo was playing third because Maikel Franco had shifted to first when Ryan Mountcastle had to leave the game because of a possible concussion. Cruz’s liner resulted in a two-run double, and Wander Franco followed with a two-run single, the ball grounded through the left side of the infield as the Orioles were again in a shift. Tampa Bay led, 9-5.

Manuel Margot made it 10-5 Tampa Bay (66-44) with an RBI single.

Fry and Tate faced eight batters and retired only one. In his major league debut, Marcos Diplán recorded five consecutive outs.

“We struggled out of the ‘pen,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought Diplán did a nice job. The other guys had a tough time throwing strikes. They got hit around …I t was definitely a disappointing loss.”


Drew Rasmussen (1-1) pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief for the win.

Cedric Mullins extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single, He stole his 21st base, and scored on a two-out single by Mountcastle. It was Mountcastle’s seventh straight game with an RBI.

Mountcastle was out trying to steal and was slow getting up after he was hit in the head by Franco’s tag. He stayed in the game initially but came out after the second inning.

“He is being evaluated and monitored under concussion protocol,” Hyde said.

That’s when Franco moved from third to first, and Mateo, making his Orioles’ debut, came into the game at third.

Tampa Bay scored two in the top of the second as Margot led off with a single, and Zunino doubled him to third with one out. Kevin Kiermaier grounded to Mountcastle at first, but Means, who was late arriving at first, couldn’t handle the throw, and after Margot scored, Zunino came home on Means’ error.

Catcher Pedro Severino hit his ninth home run against Ryan Yarbrough with two outs in the second. Franco and shortstop Richie Martin had consecutive doubles, and the Orioles (38-70) led, 3-2, after two. It was Martin’s first hit since September 29, 2018.

Austin Hays’ 12th home run, leading off the fourth, gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead.

After fouling a ball off his groin area with two outs in the fifth, Mancini doubled and scored on Mateo’s triple. Mateo showed off the impressive speed that has him ranked as the third-fastest runner in baseball.

Means left after five with a 5-2 lead. He allowed two runs, one unearned, on eight hits, walking one and striking out five. He threw 94 pitches.

“It was the definition of a grind of a start,” Means said. “That’s what happens when the fastball command just isn’t quite there. I had to use every pitch from pitch 1 to pitch 94. I wasn’t really able to get into a groove. This team’s pesky. They’ve gotten me the last couple of times.”

Martin’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 10-6

Notes: Spenser Watkins (2-2, 3.81 ERA) will face Shane McClanahan (5-4, 3.74) on Saturday night. … Mancini’s third-inning double broke an 0-for-17 skid. … Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena was placed on the Covid-19 injured list. Arozarena is 17-for-37 (.459) with seven homers and 16 RBIs against the Orioles this season. … Diplán is the 52nd player used by the club this season, the 14th to make his major league debut for the Orioles, and the 12th pitcher.

Knight’s debut: Dusten Knight, who was the San Francisco Giants’ 28th-round draft choice in 2013, made his major league debut on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, allowing two runs on three hits in the eighth inning.

“Thirty thousand screaming Bronx fans. What better way to have my first game?” Knight said.

The 30-year-old waited at Triple-A Norfolk when he watched a succession of his teammates get their chance with the Orioles.

“I was hopeful I would come,” Knight said. “Seeing those guys get the opportunity they so long deserve, there was always the thought in the back of my mind: ‘Maybe this could be the year. Maybe this could be the opportunity.’”

Knight was known in the minor leagues for celebrating a save with a back flip. Former Oriole Will Clark, who was a minor league instructor in the Giants’ organization, convinced Knight to do it.

“If Hyde gives me the green light, I’ll do it,” Knight said. “If not, I might just keep it in my back pocket.”

Minor League update: Mike Baumann threw six innings of one-hit ball in Norfolk’s 3-2 loss to Jacksonville. Baumann struck out six and walked two.

The Jumbo Shrimp scored three runs in the ninth against Dean Kremer (0-5), who gave up two hits and walked three while striking out four in 2 2/3 innings.

Rightfielder Robert Neustrom hit his fourth home run.

Second baseman Malquin Canelo drove in four runs to lead Double-A Bowie over Somerset, 8-3.

Third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean had three hits. Leftfielder Yusniel Diaz was hitless in five at-bats.

Blaine Knight (3-3) allowed one run on four hits in three innings.

Zach Peek pitched five scoreless innings, allowing five hits to lead High-A Aberdeen over Jersey Shore, 3-0. Peek (1-0) struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.

Connor Gillispie pitched four hitless innings for his second save.

Catcher Maverick Handley had three hits and drove in three runs. Handley hit his fourth home run, a two-run shot.

Houston Roth (6-2) allowed three runs on five hits in five innings as Low-A Delmarva lost to Down East, 8-4.

Rightfielder Trevor Kehe and shortstop Jean Carmona each had two hits.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. musicmanjr

    August 7, 2021 at 9:15 am

    O’s were leading the Rays 5-2 at the end of the 5th inning.. John Means struck out Ji-Man Choi to end the 5th. Means’ pitch count was at 94. There was no doubt in my mind that Hyde would pull Means. Sure enough, In the 6th Greene comes in and was totally ineffective giving up three runs.

    Hyde has absolutely no FEEL for the game. I used to get angry at some of Showalter’s moves. Right now, I’d love to see Buck in the O’s dugout. Buck Showalter was a genius compared to Brandon Hyde.

    • jimcarter

      August 7, 2021 at 2:19 pm

      Haven’t you noticed that 100 pitches is a standard for starters? Why risk injury for these delicate pitchers when the team is destined for one of the two worst records in baseball anyway? Showalter already had his 100+ loss season with a much more talented team. MLB hasn’t been beating his door down for a reason.

      • Buzz1979

        August 7, 2021 at 2:59 pm

        Thank you, he was mr. .500!

        • Hallbe62

          August 7, 2021 at 4:24 pm

          Call him what you may, the man won more baseball games than any other MLB manager over the 5 year period 2012 – 2016. Complete with 3 Playoff Appearances over that same period.

          Now…..produce another Oriole manager, not named Earl Weaver, to do the same.

      • Hallbe62

        August 7, 2021 at 4:18 pm

        “with a much more talented team”……….???(+&????

        Highly, and I do mean HIGHLY debatable.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 8, 2021 at 2:34 pm

          That team simply quit on itself.

      • musicmanjr

        August 7, 2021 at 5:08 pm

        Jim, I’ve noticed the “100 pitch rule.” The real ‘standard’ is for starters to go six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs allowed. Also known as a Quality Start. John Means is our Ace. He has started 16 games, with eight Quality Starts. Our bullpen is abysmal. Kevin Cash would have stayed with his starter. As I mentioned earlier, Brandon Hyde has no feel for the game. He’s locked into the analytics, “can’t leave my starter in for more than 100 pitches.” BTW, absolutely no one would agree that Hyde’s even close to Showalter as a manager.

  2. NormOs

    August 7, 2021 at 9:23 am

    There is NO bullpen! Elias’ so-called rebuild is not even close since there is not one reliable relief pitcher out there and we all know that in today’s world of pitching, 6 thru 9 belongs to relievers. So the O’s are the most vulnerable when they go to Elias’ pen. It’s a damn shame after 3 years we still have to put up with this and there is no end in sight.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 7, 2021 at 10:49 am

      I agree 100% Norm.

      The end you speak of should have been at the start of this year. The lineup is really not all that bad, even if they’re holding Rutschman back. I said way back that they could finish at or over .500 this year, but only IF Elias would allow it.

      He has not allowed it. Decent bullpen help could have been had this past off season for a reasonable price. Evidently, Elias and the O’s management define ‘reasonable price’ as minimum wage. They should have invested in the bullpen along with a serviceable starter. Instead they decided that another year of tanking was in order.
      Maybe next year is the year Elias gets serious about the big club. We can only hope.
      It’s a process.

      • OhMy!

        August 7, 2021 at 11:04 am

        Okay BRR time to call your bluff…

        Here’s a link to relief pitcher free agents during the off season, please pick out which ones Elias should have signed. I’ll wait! Thanks!

        www dot spotrac dot com slash mlb slash free-agents slash 2020 slash relief-pitcher

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 7, 2021 at 2:08 pm

          Joe …. I never bluff … unless of course I’m bluffing … which in this case I’m not saying if I’m bluffing or not.

          OK. I’ll play this childish game. I went to your list … spent about 10 minutes looking it over…primarily the bargain basement types, (since our team isn’t willing to spend much at this time and I wanted to keep it halfway realistic), and came up with this abbreviated list, basically off name recognition. Keep in mind…I admittedly am a layman as we all are around here except Rich and maybe #1Fan. But if I wanted to spend more time OR if I were a GM..I’m sure I could have come up with MANY more examples of arms the O’s could have tried to sign this past year. OK… Enough rambling .. here are but a few names that would have worked for me.

          Our old friend Mychal Givens at $4 million would have been nice.
          Wiley Peralta at $1.5 would be sweet.
          Hell … Could have kicked the tires on TJ McFarland for $1 million ….(don’t laugh too hard at that one)
          Sean Doolittle at $1.5 million would be an upgrade to our pen.
          Jose Alvarez and his 2.6 ERA in 41 IPs looks like a decent deal for 1.5 million.
          and lastly …
          How would Brad Boxberger’s 2.53 ERA and 46 IPs fit for a cool 1 million while wearing black and orange?

          Tell me how all these guys could have escaped Mike Elias? He simply wasn’t interested in upgrading the team’s pen for THIS year. T-T-Tuh-TANK.

    • OhMy!

      August 7, 2021 at 10:51 am

      Rebuilds should be completed in 2.75 years? Got it!

    • Cali Orioles

      August 7, 2021 at 11:49 am

      Bullpen is not the priority. Re-build is not a flip of the switch and done. Dip!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 7, 2021 at 3:17 pm

        The bullpen is certainly a priority. In the age of the 5 inning starter, how can you say otherwise? Dip?

  3. Puyerunner

    August 7, 2021 at 9:50 am

    I’m bewildered. Up 5-2 with a rested bullpen after a day off and you put in Connor Greene for his third MLB appearance. In his first two appearances he gave up one and two runs respectively. I’m all in favor of giving him some MLB experience, but why not put him in after we’re down a bunch of runs. I hope he develops. Meanwhile it may seem a moot point because of the struggles of the implosion of Fry and Tate. Still.

  4. EkimC

    August 7, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Rich… I continue to applaud your “Minor League Update” segment. I follow all 4 teams but only the results and an occasional box score so by you filling in some of the details it is appreciated. One thing on today’s report… Yusniel Diez was 0 for 4. We got hoodwinked on this guy. How many chances can they give him? Unproductive from the start, he’s just blocking a true prospect. Sheesh!

    On the game itself, 15 hits and but 6 runs? It was nice to see some of the guys get on base but there’s no production. Got to have production when you’ve got a porous bull pen… if you can call it that. It’s more of a “calf” pen what with all the first timers being thrown to the wolves game in and game out. Mikey’s philosophy is likened to throwing pies at a wall and hoping one would stick.

    Am going to Bowie on Wednesday hoping to see a REAL baseball game… just saying…

    • OhMy!

      August 7, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Are you kidding? How many chances have they given Diaz? This is the first season he has struggled offensively and he has been injured and yet here you are posting the unproductive from the start, given chance upon chance upon chance, blocking a true prospect tripe…none of that is true.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 7, 2021 at 3:19 pm

        I’m certainly not ready to give up on the guy, although his 1st couple years of MILB numbers have been a bit disappointing.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 7, 2021 at 11:39 am

      Thank you, Ekim.

  5. Orial

    August 7, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Wait a minute before I get started we have a Blaine Knight and a Dusten Knight both in the equation now? That’s just not fair for senile people like me. Glad Dusten(I think that was the one) was elated at his first appearance in front of 30,00 Bronx fans. Of course let’s not mention the giving up of 2 runs in one inning(an Orioles debut tradition). So we’ve got a stand-up comic(Greene) and a back flipper(Dusten Knight–again I rethink that’s the one). Geesh. I didn’t see it but I can only assume Mountcastle was sliding head first. Geesh. Tate’s taking a little heat lately but doesn’t it seem Hyde’s bringing him into impossible situations? Damn Mr. Elias should have pulled the trigger on any Fry deal. O’s bullpen has been consistently inconsistent. Now we get to pin all our hopes on Diplan. Let’s see how “that” works out. Love what Baumann’s doing. Please oh please let him be the real thing. Kremer’ s about ready to exit thst rear door to oblivion. Really sad. Are Santander and Stewart really the same guy in disguise playing in RF? If only McKenna could heed that opportunity. Geesh.

    • CalsPals

      August 7, 2021 at 11:16 am

      My opinion, if Mountcastle had slid headfirst he would’ve been safe & had no blow to the head, Rays got lucky, it was a poor throw way on the first base side of the bag, Wander just took the throw & tried making a play, as he should & got Ryan in the head with the tag, part of the game, unfortunate…go O’s…

      • Orial

        August 7, 2021 at 11:31 am

        Thank you CalsPals(or is it ClayDals?) So he DID slide the right way. Unfortunate. Btw-gotta get Hays learning Mountcastle’s plate approach.

      • willmiranda

        August 7, 2021 at 11:38 am

        Thanks for the update, CP. Mountcastle’s one of the best young players in baseball, although not a management favorite.
        Someone definitely worth rooting for. A definite positive on the Birds.

    • Icterus fan

      August 7, 2021 at 12:36 pm

      Willmiranda, can you expand on why Mountcastle is not a management favorite?

      • willmiranda

        August 7, 2021 at 2:21 pm

        Thanks for the question. I’ll just talk off the top of my head to get this out fast. I assume that you don’t want me to expand on management’s motives but on why I conclude that he is not among their favorites. This morning, after Mounty was put on the concussion protocol, the first reaction here was that he must have done something stupid. Why so? Obviously the writer had the impression that the player was inept. Management manages not only personnel but also their images. Much of our media information comes in the form of quotations from managers, general managers, etc. So, the public perception is conditioned by management and in Mounty’s case it has not been a strongly positive one. Going back several years, the reluctance to promote the player even after an MVP AAA season has made the word “seasoning” a standing joke on this board and perhaps elsewhere. And the reasons for not advancing him were never practical ones, like Mancini is blocking the way, but criticisms of the player, like not taking enough walks. Or the old standby, weak defense, although they were moving him all over the diamond, not giving him a chance to settle in. Admittedly, I am skeptical about allegations of defensive shortcomings; they usually seem too convenient. For example, Judge’s pop fly the other night was simply lucky, uncatchable. A looping fly down the right field foul line opposite an extreme shift is going to be a hit. Moreover, over the last two years or so, some of the defenders –aside from Gold Glove candidate Santander– have been poor enough for me to wonder how Mounty could be worse. Although I don’t read a lot aside from BB about the O’s, I have read almost nothing laudatory about Mounty from management. I did catch some positive quotes from the manager after a trouncing by the Yankees, the only positive things about the game, but still tinged with the “he’s making progress but has a long way to go” note. I’ve never come across even the suggestion that Mounty might be a part, much less a key part, of the team when it becomes good. Anyway, those are some of the reasons for my opinion.

    • CalsPals

      August 7, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Will, unfortunately makes sense to me, the writer could’ve stated what I did in the article as easily as I did, but probably much more eloquently, he has quietly put together a great rookie year, although you can’t find much here or by the O’s accentuating his play, I think he will be a huge part of any future the O’s have & not having him as part of that “process” would be a huge mistake, clean cut kid, classy, wears his uniform with pride, doesn’t complain about anything, what more would you want…go Mountcastle & go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      August 7, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Willmiranda. If he’s not a management favorite, I hadn’t picked up on that based on nuanced comments from management.
      I don’t have the time to read between the lines to try to suss out whats really being “said” by mgt in regard to Mountcastle, so was just surprised to read that portion of your post.

      He came up as a third basemen (I think) but his arm and defense (I think) were suspect. So he’s tried some OF with mixed results. He looks comfortable at 1st base, but that’s Trey’s position. His defense can’t be expected to improve without continuity.

      Agree that he seems like a dedicated employee, doesn’t cause waves or pop off with drama. Comes to work everyday and tries to produce. Hopefully he IS a part of the future.

  6. Buzz1979

    August 7, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    A real head scratcher pulling Means so soon, for who? Green? I will have to quote John McEnroe…”You must be joking???” Bet Elias, and all his brothers, regret hanging on to Fry, and Scott, at the deadline!

    • jimcarter

      August 7, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      You assume that someone wanted these players at the deadline.

  7. Orial

    August 7, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    Means 95 pitches isn’t enough? I questioned whether Mountcastle slid head first
    ,yes an assumption,but don’t they all now days? Mounty was poor as a 3rd baseman,2nd baseman,OFer,and not enough walks while in the minors are not a management agenda to hold him back but flaws that he has and has to improve upon. I think he’s advanced quite well with that limited skill set. Solid,much improving hitter who adjusts(very impressive). Has speed(thus the steal attempts). I DO think he’s so much a part of the future that I think Mancini is exoendable(but unable to be traded). He’ll never awe us in the field(though he’s getting smoother at 1B). What I love about him is his ability to learn and adjust at the plate.

  8. Buzz1979

    August 7, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    Shaun Anderson was CLAIMED!!! by the Padres!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 7, 2021 at 6:53 pm

      Which means he’ll immediately transform into the 2nd coming of Goose Gossage.

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