What they're saying about Orioles' 5-2 win over Pirates in more wintry conditions - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Orioles’ 5-2 win over Pirates in more wintry conditions

Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


PITTSBURGH—What happened? On another wintry day, the Orioles improved their record to 5-2 with a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

Game-time temperature was 40 degrees, and the Orioles, who played in horrid weather this week during their series with the Kansas City Royals, got home runs from Ryan O’Hearn, Gunnar Henderson and Cedric Mullins and 6 1/3 solid innings from Grayson Rodriguez.

“That was really, really tough conditions to play in,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Every sort of weather possible. From the first pitch, I thought [Rodriguez] was on. Great pitch mix, kept them off-balance, great fastball throughout, outstanding performance.”

Craig Kimbrel retired the Pirates in the ninth for his first save with the Orioles.

“That was dominating,” Hyde said.

In Wednesday’s walk-off win against the Royals, which came after a five-hour rain delay, several hundred fans saw the eighth- and ninth-inning heroics, led by catcher James McCann.

“It just felt colder,” Hyde said about Friday’s Opening Day for the Pirates. “The snow and the hail in the face is never real pleasant during a major league baseball game. The first time [Ryan] Mountcastle caught a ground ball in the snow, and the first time Yenny Cano has pitched in the snow. They don’t have much snow in Cuba. I thought he did really, really well in the elements.”

What about Rodriguez? While Hyde coached in Chicago and has seen raw weather early in the season before, it was Rodriguez’s first time of pitching in such bitter weather.

“I’m from Texas. I don’t see that a whole lot,” Rodriguez said. “The hail was different. That was a first. That’s for sure. It was a lot of fun to experience that.”

In his first two starts, Rodriguez has allowed two runs on nine hits in 12 ½ innings for a 2.19 earned-run average. He has struck out 16. His first start began in 68-degree conditions. This was much colder.

“It was just another game, basically,” Rodriguez said. “Once the hail started the first time, I think it was the at-bat with [Rowdy] Tellez, it got a little hard to see home plate for a second. It ultimately kind of let [up]. It was fine other than being a little cold, conditions were fine for me.”

The Orioles won, 13-4, in Rodriguez’s first start, and the offense gave him enough to work with in his second.

“Our offense is impressive,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully, we get to see them do that a lot. They can swing the bats really well. Today is a tough day to hit. Our guys going out there and swinging the bats as well as they did, that’s a huge plus for our pitching staff, and that’s going to take us a long ways this season.”

What about the brutal weather? Henderson, who’s from Alabama, hasn’t experienced this much blustery weather before.

“The snow came on and off,” Henderson said. “It wasn’t too bad. I actually enjoyed it out there.”

After six weeks in Florida and decent weather for last Saturday and Sunday’s games, it’s been downright unpleasant since then.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t’ want to have just a normal game, no rain, have some sunshine out there,” Henderson said. “Just embrace the conditions while they’re here, and eventually the sunshine will be out.”

Teams can take precautions for hot and humid games, but there aren’t many options for cold-weather games.

“Make sure they have handwarmers,” Hyde said before the game. “There’s nothing really you can do. If a guy is iffy, you err on the side of caution, especially early in the year if the grass is super wet. As the game goes, everybody gets acclimated. They do a nice job of keeping us warm in the dugout.”

What about slumps? Austin Hays, who was under the weather and didn’t start, struck out as a pinch-hitter for Colton Cowser in the seventh inning. Hays also grounded out in the eighth, and he’s hitless in 13 at-bats.

Ramón Urías singled in the seventh. It was his first hit this season after 15 hitless at-bats.

What’s the word? “Luckily, it didn’t snow whenever I was up to bat. There were some unfortunate at-bats whenever it was starting to come down pretty hard out there. It’s kind of a hang-with-‘em day out there.”­-Henderson on playing in rotten conditions.

What does it mean? Before the game, the Pirates honored former Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who was born in Pittsburgh, and onetime team president Larry Lucchino, another Pittsburgh native, who both died in the last two weeks.

What’s next? The Orioles and Pirates will play the second game of their three-game series on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. Tyler Wells (0-1, 4:50) will face Bailey Falter (0-0, 13.50). Temperatures are expected to be slightly warmer.

Minor league news: Double-A Bowie added outfielder Billy Cook from Triple-A Norfolk, and placed infielders Max Wagner and Maxwell Costes on the 7-day injured list. Right-handers Dan Hammer and Nick Richmond were placed on the development list. Outfielder Hudson Haskin is on a rehab assignment with High-A Aberdeen.

Transaction: The Orioles traded utilityman Diego Castillo to the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations. Castillo, who was in spring training as a non-roster player, was acquired from the New York Yankees off waivers in February.

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