BOWIE, Md. - For the second year in a row, Manny Machado made an impressive debut with a new team.
The Orioles top-rated position prospect must have a flair for the dramatic. With everyone paying close attention to his first at-bat in the Double-A Eastern League Thursday night, he smoked a first-pitch fastball from Harrisburg’s Patrick Gilliam over the wall in left-center in the second inning as Bowie beat the Senators 4-2 in front of 4,268 chilled fans on opening night.
“How about that? He got the monkey off his back right away,” Bowie manager Gary Kendall said. “Swung the bat real well today and looked okay defensively. I was most happy with our team’s defense tonight overall.”
Last year, in his first game at Single-A Delmarva, Machado went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. In June, in his first game for Single-A Frederick, he went 1-for-4 with a second at-bat homer.
Tonight he followed his homer in the second with a fourth-inning single as part of a 2-for-4 night.
“Thank God I went out there and had a good start,” Machado said. “That’s really good for a confidence booster. I’m just trying to go out there and do what I’m doing and just having fun.
“I saw he was throwing first-pitch fastballs to everybody. I knew he was going to throw me a fastball. I’m 19 years old, I knew he was going to challenge me. A lot of guys are going to come challenge me up here. I put a good swing on it and it went out.”
While he has had some good first games before, Machado said he had never homered on the first pitch of a season before.
“No, first time. First time for everything.”
It was an impressive start overall for the Baysox as Machado and Buck Britton hit solo homers and Tim Bascom pitched six scoreless innings to get the win.
“Overall, the team, we came out swinging the bat. Buck, that was a heckuva at-bat, 2-0 and he hit it pretty hard. The team did really well in this cold. Tim threw a helluva game. It was a good game by everybody overall,” Machado said.
Jonathan Schoop went 1-for-3 with a double in his Baysox debut.
Bascom faced two major leaguers who began injury rehab assignments with Harrisburg tonight. Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse came up a combined six times against Bascom and went 0-for-5 with a walk and four strikeouts against the right-hander.
Bobby Bundy pitches tomorrow night here at 7:05 when Bowie hosts Harrisburg in game two of the 2012 season.