What they're saying about Orioles' 6-4 walk-off win over Royals - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Orioles’ 6-4 walk-off win over Royals

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE—What happened: Jordan Westburg hit a two-run, opposite-field home run in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-4 Orioles win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

Westburg hit an 0-2 fastball over the right-field wall for the game-winner. He had fallen behind in the count on two curveballs.

“I just tried to stick to my approach,” Westburg said. “I wanted to stay on that heater. That last pitch, I figured he was going to switch something up after showing me two curveballs. I’m glad I could. I really wasn’t trying to do too much, just trying to move the ball and get to the next man.”

The 25-year-old Westburg had just three home runs in 68 games last season after showing much more power in the minor leagues.

“My hope isn’t necessarily to hit for more power,” Westburg said. “I’d like to. At the end of the day, that’s not my goal. My goal is to put together competitive at-bats for the ballclub and, hopefully, that comes with a little bit more power. It just so happened that it went out.”

Manager Brandon Hyde is impressed by Westburg’s power.

“He’s got the ability to hit the ball the other way, as you saw tonight,” Hyde said. “When he’s going to right-center, driving the ball the other way, he can do things like he just did.

“He’s just adjusting to major league pitching. You see it in batting practice, and he’s shown it in the minor leagues that he can drive the ball out of the ballpark, to all fields. It doesn’t need to be one-sided, pull-sided. He can use the whole field. As he continues to get comfortable, you’ll start seeing it more often.”

The Orioles trailed, 3-0, on a 440-foot homer by Kansas City shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., and a 418-foot two-run home run by catcher Salvador Perez in the third against Dean Kremer. They scored three runs in the fourth on an RBI single by rightfielder Anthony Santander and a two-run home run to left by first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, his first of the season.

Mountcastle’s infield single scored shortstop Gunnar Henderson in the eighth for a 4-3 lead. With new closer Craig Kimbrel making his first appearance for the Orioles, the Royals tied it when Dairon Blanco stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Maikel Garcia.

Third baseman Ramón Urias and Henderson made errors in the first inning, putting Oriole starter Dean Kremer in a jam.

“Give Dean a ton of credit for getting five outs and putting a zero up there,” Hyde said. “Those kind of innings can unravel on you when you make routine errors. We’re going to play really good defense this year. We’re going to have to. We take a lot of pride in that.”

The Orioles did make a number of good plays, most notably Santander, Mountcastle, Henderson and Rutschman.

The Orioles have yet to start Colton Cowser in the outfield in their first four games. Cowser struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

“It’s easier when the season gets going and you get a chance to give guys days off and rotate,” Hyde said. “I think you’re going to see him in the next couple of days and possibly a start [on Tuesday]. Right now, there are some regular guys I’m going to rest when it’s appropriate. Guys are going to get their turn. It’s kind of tough when the season just started.”

What’s the word? “That was the coolest moment in my career so far. I’ve never had a walk-off in all the years I’ve played baseball.”­Westburg on his game-winning home run.

What does it mean? The Orioles are 3-1. “I think we picked up right where we left off last year,” Kremer said. “This lineup is going to put up some runs. It’s going to be our job to hold the other team to less. I like where we’re at, and I think we’re going to continue to get better from here.”

What’s next? The Orioles will host the Royals on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. Left-hander Cole Irvin will face Alec Marsh.

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