What a start! Burnes strikes out 11 to pace Orioles to 11-3 Opening Day win over Angels - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What a start! Burnes strikes out 11 to pace Orioles to 11-3 Opening Day win over Angels

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE—During spring training, Corbin Burnes wasn’t especially sharp, with a 6.75 earned-run average in five starts. Starters often say they’re working on things, experimenting with new pitches, and in this case, Burnes was also getting to know his catcher, Adley Rutschman, a new team and a new league.

Burnes made two Opening Day starts for his former team, the Milwaukee Brewers, and neither went terribly well. On Thursday, Burnes was spectacular, allowing a first-inning home run to Mike Trout, and retiring the other 18 batters he faced.

In six innings, Burnes threw 82 pitches and struck out 11 to lead the Orioles to an 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels before a sellout crowd of 45,029 at Camden Yards on Thursday. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called Burnes’ start an “awesome, awesome performance.”

The day began with an introductory briefing with the Orioles’ new lead owner, David Rubenstein, who joined some of his partners on the field to yell: “Play Ball.”

Rubenstein was seemingly everywhere, introducing himself to workers at concession stands, taking a well-received turn at television commentary and thoroughly enjoying himself.

During his briefing, Rubenstein cautioned that he didn’t want Opening Day to be the high-water mark of the season. He wants a World Series appearance for the Orioles, who haven’t been there since 1983.

Expectations are already high for this team, and Rubenstein has done nothing but feed into them. That’s just fine for the restive fan base, most of whom can’t remember that last World Series.

While the Orioles started Burnes (1-0), a former Cy Young Award winner, who has struck out 200 or more in the past three seasons, Los Angeles (0-1) countered with Patrick Sandoval, who was 17-37 in his first five seasons.

Sandoval (0-1) lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits.

Rightfielder Anthony Santander drove in four runs with a two-run home run in the fourth, an infield out in the first and a sacrifice fly in the second.

Catcher Adley Rutschman had a two-run single in the second, designated hitter Jordan Westburg an RBI single in the first, and the Orioles’ eighth run scored on first baseman Ryan Mountcastle’s sacrifice fly in the sixth. Centerfielder Cedric Mullins, who was just 3-for-27 (.111) in spring training, added a three-run homer to center in the seventh.

The Orioles’ 11 runs was the second most in an opener, trailing the 13 runs they scored on April 5th, 1982 in a 13-5 win over Kansas City.

Meanwhile, Burnes, who was obtained on February 1st from the Brewers for left-hander DL Hall and infielder Jory Ortiz, was having his way with the Angels, striking out two batters in five of his six innings, and one in the third.

Burnes struck out each Los Angeles batter except for catcher Logan O’Hoppe.

The 11 strikeouts tied for the second most in team history in an opener. Dave McNally had 13 strikeouts  on April 7th, 1970, and Mike Mussina had 11 on April 5th, 1998.

Mike Baumann walked leadoff batter Aaron Hicks, who played for the Orioles last season, and pitched a scoreless seventh. Dillon Tate allowed two runs in the eighth, one unearned, and Keegan Akin worked the ninth.

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