When the Orioles' Anthony Santander launched a two-run shot in the first inning Sunday, it was a big swing for Baltimore. It provided the Orioles an early 3-0 lead, and they would go on to win and sweep Miami.
But it was also a milestone home run for Santander. His 17th of the year was also the 100th of his career - a mark he reached in his 526th MLB game. He becomes the 29th player in the history of the Orioles, which of course dates to 1954, with 100 homers.
Next up for him on the O’s career list, tied for 27th all-time with 106 homers are Jonathan Schoop and Gary Roenicke. Tied for 24th on the list are the trio of J.J. Hardy, Doug DeCinces and Harold Baines with 107 homers in a Baltimore uniform.
Santander has had quite the career for a player that the O’s got via the Rule 5 draft from Cleveland in December of 2016.
“Wow, first of all thank God, all the glory is to him,” Santander said in the O’s clubhouse before the Dodgers series opener. “I’m really happy and proud of myself. I never thought about it but with hard work and consistency I was able to reach that number.
“I knew I was sitting on 99. But when I hit it I was just thinking about the game and didn’t initially realize that was No. 100. I noticed later on.”
His 17 home runs, ranks third among MLB switch hitters. His 50 homers the last two seasons are the most among MLB switch hitters.
Per Stats and Stats Perform, Santander is the 14th active Venezuelan-born player to hit that century homer mark.
MLB, Most Active Players with 100+ Career HRs by Birth Country & Country Players Leader -
* United States 70 - Giancarlo Stanton (389)
* Venezuela 14 - Miguel Cabrera (508)
* Dominican Republic 13 - Nelson Cruz (464)
* Puerto Rico 6 - Francisco Lindor (203)
* Cuba 4 - Jose Abreu (251)
Santander is proud to join this list of Venezuelan-born players.
“Yes, 100 percent. Especially being here in the United States representing my county and my family. That is something special,” he said.
The Orioles have entered another stretch of games against very tough opponents. And Santander believes the team is ready for the stretch.
“We are a talented team. We go out there to have fun and enjoy competing. There is a lot of energy here. We can play with anyone we are going to face,” he said.
The pitch that beat the Orioles: On my WBAL Radio postgame show last night there were callers questioning the selection of a fastball that reliever Bryan Baker threw that got hit for a grand slam. Chris Taylor's slam, on an 0-2 heater, turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 Los Angeles Dodgers win and they beat the Birds last night.
The Orioles' eight-game win streak ended. But the Tampa Bay Rays also lost, so the O's (57-36) remain one game back in the AL East.
Taylor fouled off a few Baker fastballs before he got one up and away that he could handle and hit 416 feet.
You can second guess throwing a fastball there. But Baker just needed it probably either more up above the zone or more away or both. I wondered why not go changeup or slider down in the zone there? One reason against that is a wild pitch would score a run if he buried the pitch too far below the zone. So he threw a fastball and Taylor went out and got it.
The O's saw 3-0 and 4-1 leads get away.
He left leading 4-2, but right-hander Grayson Rodriguez's final line showed four runs in five-plus innings. But I thought he showed well against one of baseball's best lineups. The Orioles showed a lot in confidence in Rodriguez in bringing him back to face the Dodgers and Rays this week. Last night's outing provides him something to build on and was much better than what we saw from the kid in May.