Part of Dean Kremer’s rise to effective major league starter last season, with the periods of dominance, was attributed to his stinginess with the home run ball. Eleven allowed in 22 games, fewer than one per nine innings.
Opponents hit seven against Kremer in spring training this year, mostly solo shots, and have slugged five in his first three outings since the Orioles left Florida.
Brent Rooker, the cleanup hitter in Oakland’s punchless lineup, delivered a three-run shot tonight in the first inning. Kremer turned to watch the completion of the ball’s 420-foot trip to center field, waited for a new one and went back to work. Hopeful that he’d settle in and the offense would pick him up.
A bigger influencer in Kremer’s turnaround has been his ability to limit damage and prevent a game from spiraling out of control. Carlos Pérez led off the fifth with a homer after Kremer retired 11 of 13 batters, and the right-hander was removed with one out and his pitch count already at 90.
The Orioles had Kremer’s back in the same way that they did with rookie Grayson Rodriguez the previous night, scoring twice in the seventh inning to tie the game. But Oakland loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and scored three times in an 8-4 victory before an announced crowd of 10,181 at Camden Yards.