Orioles' offense backs Burnes with 4 home runs in rout of Rangers - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ offense backs Burnes with 4 home runs in rout of Rangers

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports


BALTIMORE-What happened? Corbin Burnes allowed one run on nine hits in seven innings and was backed by four home runs as the Orioles won their second straight, 11-2 over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Combined with Toronto’s 9-2 win over the New York Yankees, the Orioles are percentage points ahead in the American League East. It was the Orioles’ second straight win after five consecutive losses.

Heston Kjerstad drove in three runs with a two-run home run, his first of the season, and a sacrifice fly. Cedric Mullins had his first three-hit game of the season and homered for the second straight game. Adley Rutschman and Colton Cowser also hit home runs.


“That was a really good game for us offensively,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “A lot of good things offensively for us tonight.”

The Orioles’ 57 homers in June is the most in any June in franchise history and one home run shy of the club record for home runs in any month, set in May 1987, when they hit 58.

How is Kjerstad swinging? Kjerstad was only 2-for-14 (.143) when he was in the majors earlier this season. Since his Monday recall from Triple-A Norfolk, he’s 4-for-11 (.364).

“I’ve definitely had a couple of good games. I want to stay where I’m at, keep it rolling,” Kjerstad said. ‘What I’m feeling right now, I hope to build upon every time I get in the lineup.”

“He’s got some power, and he showed that tonight,” Hyde said. “That ball comes off his bat a little bit different. Great to see him get into one. First time this year he has.”

Kjerstad is feeling much more confident than he did in April and May when he played in just seven games.

“When I came up earlier … I was trying to force it,” he said. “Overswinging from time to time. Trying to make something happen when it wasn’t a pitch that I normally handle. A little bit more settled in. A little bit more comfortable.”

How did Burnes rebound? In Burnes’ previous start, he allowed four runs, more than he had in any other start, in a 5-1 loss at Houston. Even though he equaled his season high with nine hits, eight were singles.

“Coming in, we knew they were one of the most aggressive teams in the league,” Burnes said. “They put the ball in play. They don’t walk a lot. They don’t strike out a lot … The plan was to make sure the first two pitches were good pitches. Chances are they’re going to be in play. That was the case tonight. A lot of balls on the ground. About half of them got through.

“The other half we made great plays on. We made some pitches there when we needed to to get out of it. Overall, we played a great game. Obviously, when we come out there and score that many runs, it’s pretty easy to go out there and pitch in front of that.”

The Orioles have scored just one run in Burnes’ three losses, and the 11 were the most they’ve scored when he was starting.

“I go out and pitch the same whether we’ve got 20 runs or we’ve got no runs,” he said. “My job is to go out  and execute as many pitches as I can and give the team a chance to win. You get a little bit more breathing room when you get some runs.”

Which Orioles are All-Star voting finalists? Six Orioles are finalists in voting for the American League All-Star team. Catcher Adley Rutschman, first baseman Ryan Mountcastle and shortstop Gunnar Henderson finished first while designated hitter Ryan O’Hearn and third baseman Jordan Westburg finished second. Outfielder Anthony Santander finished fourth among outfielders.

“That was really cool,” Hyde said. “Two-thirds of the positions on the field are All-Star finalists. They’re all so well-deserving. I hope they get a ton of votes. I hope we send all six.”

Hyde pointed out that O’Hearn was designated for assignment less than 18 months ago.

“It’s incredible,” O’Hearn said. “When you’re a kid, you dream to be a major league All-Star. It seemed unattainable for a long time. Until the last year or so, I didn’t believe it could actually happen. I’m not there yet, but to be a finalist is an honor and something I don’t take lightly.”

O’Hearn was in fourth place when results were last announced on Monday. His competition is Houston’s Yordan Alvarez.

“It was cool to see my name up there near the top,” he said. “Get some notoriety and all that. Birdland supported me and voted for me. It means a lot. Very cool to have a fanbase like the Baltimore Orioles fanbase that had my back like that and thought that I was worthy of going to the All-Star Game.”

They’ll face off in the final phase of voting that begins on Sunday at noon and runs through July 3rd at noon.

Did beating the Rangers matter? The Orioles hadn’t seen the Texas Rangers since last October when they were swept in three games in the Division Series.

“We didn’t really talk about it,” O’Hearn said. “It’s burned in our memories from last year. It’s something we definitely don’t want to happen again. It’s June, so we’ve got a long way to go to get to where we want to be in October, and then we’ll take it from there.”

Kjerstad was on the Division Series roster but didn’t play.

“Everybody in this clubhouse was really pumped,” he said. “I think most of the guys were more focused on another win to add to the column this year.”

What’s the word? “Hopefully, there’ll be seven or eight or us running around at the All-Star Game. That would be great.”-Burnes on Orioles in the All-Star Game.

What does it mean? Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez put together two strong starts in succession to break a five-game losing streak. They’ll need other starters to pitch well, too.

What’s the stat of the day? 9. The Orioles have secured their ninth straight winning month, the team’s longest streak since May 1982-September 1983, when they had 11 straight winning months.

What’s going on in the minor leagues? In his third rehab start, starting pitcher Dean Kremer threw 75 pitches, allowing four runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings in Triple-A Norfolk’s 14-4 over Charlotte. Kremer, who’s on the 15-day injured list with a strained right triceps muscle, walked two, struck out five and allowed two home runs. In his previous start, Kremer threw 39 pitches last Saturday and recorded just two outs.

“I feel much better about him than the last time he threw,” Hyde said. “It was nice to see him get to 75 pitches. Definitely on radar. We’ll see what happens.”

Third baseman Coby Mayo had three hits, drove in four runs and hit his 17th home run. Centerfielder Kyle Stowers, catcher Daniel Bañuelos and leftfielder Hudson Haskin also homered.

Silas Ardoin drove in all three runs for Double-A Bowie in its 3-2 win over Reading. Starter Seth Johnson allowed three hits in four scoreless innings, walking three and striking out four.

Catcher Samuel Basallo was removed from the game with a lower body bruise.

Bruce Zimmermann, who’s been on the injured list with a hamstring injury pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings for High-A Aberdeen, allowing one hit, striking out six and walking one in the IronBird’s 6-1 win over Brooklyn. Shortstop Carter Young hit a two-run home run.

Centerfielder Jake Cunningham hit a three-run home run as Single-A Delmarva beat Down East, 4-3, in a game completed after Wednesday night’s suspension. Riley Cooper and Eccel Correa (1-0) combined on a two-hitter as the Shorebirds completed their sweep with a 5-1 win in seven innings.

What’s next? Albert Suárez (3-2, 2.70) will face Max Scherzer (1-0, 0.00) at 7:05 p.m. on Friday. It’s Scherzer’s second start after recovering from offseason back surgery.

Call for questions: Most weekdays, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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