The local kid already made good.
Today, he made better.
Steve Johnson, a graduate of St. Paul’s who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk this morning, made his major league debut in the eighth inning and received a loud ovation from the Camden Yards crowd.
Johnson, pitching for the first time since July 8, walked the first two batters he faced. He ran the count full to Jhonny Peralta and went 3-1 on Alex Avila. The last pitch to Peralta was extremely close.
Ramon Santiago laid down a sacrifice bunt to leave two runners in scoring position.
Don Kelly fell behind 0-2, his knees bending on a 71 mph curveball for the second strike, and swung through a 92 mph fastball.
Austin Jackson took a 90 mph fastball and 81 mph slider for strikes, leaned back to avoid being hit by a 91 mph fastball, took a 93 mph fastball that appeared to catch the outside corner, ran the count full, fouled off a 92 mph fastball and struck out looking at a 91 mph heater.
Johnson walked off the mound to a louder ovation, his pitch count at 24, his first big league inning in the books.
Johnson spent two days with the Orioles in Seattle, but he didn’t get in a game. He jumped into this one with both feet. His legs didn’t buckle.
Update: Johnson faced four batters in the ninth and retired three of them. The second one, Miguel Cabrera, homered deep into the right-center field seats to extend the Tigers’ lead to 4-0.
Johnson just lowered his head as contact was made. The outfielders didn’t budge.
Cabrera’s 20th homer came on a 2-2 changeup from Johnson, who was pitching at Camden Yards for the first time since his freshman year at St. Paul’s.
Johnson retired Quintin Berry on a fly ball to left, Prince Fielder on a fly ball to the center field warning track and Brennan Boesch on a grounder to second. He allowed one run and one hit in two innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. He threw 47 pitches, 28 for strikes.
Johnson’s fastball was clocked at 90-93 mph. He also mixed in changeups and a curveball that dipped, so to speak, to 69 mph.
Justin Verlander blanked the Orioles on three hits over eight innings in the Tigers’ 4-0 victory - the seventh time the Orioles have been shut out this season.
Jim Thome tied his season high with three hits. He also had three for the Phillies on June 8 against the Orioles.