More leftovers for breakfast

CHICAGO - Jonathan Araúz had a special day for the Orioles in the final game of the series against the White Sox, his first hit with the club a home run.

Special for sure, but not as unique as you might think.

STATS research finds that 38 players since 1974 have homered for their first hit with the Orioles, the most recent before yesterday being outfielder Keon Broxton in 2019 in Colorado.

Broxton’s ball carried 474 feet and landed on the left field concourse. Must be the thin air.

Araúz settled for a mere 390, with a 100.2 mph exit velocity.

Luis Sardiñas did it in 2018. Trey Mancini’s first two hits in the majors were home runs in September 2016. Nelson Cruz’s first two hits with the Orioles were home runs in 2014.   

Maybe you’d expect it from those two. But how about some others on the list?

Taylor Teagarden in 2012
Bill Hall in 2012
Scott Moore in 2007
Jon Knott in 2007
Freddie Bynum in 2007
Kris Benson (yes, the pitcher) in 2006
Nick Markakis in 2006
Ed Rogers in 2005
Sal Fasano in 2005
Karim García in 2004 (first two were homers in same game)
Chad Mottala in 2004
David Newhan in 2004
Javy López in 2004
Pedro Swann in 2003
Jack Cust in 2003 (he didn’t fall down rounding third)
Jose Morban in 2003
Marty Cordova in 2002
Casey Blake in 2001
Albert Belle in 1999
Calvin Pickering in 1998
Jesús Tavárez in 1998 (zero recollection of this guy)
Pete Incaviglia in 1996 (his first two were homers)
Matt Nokes in 1995
Andy Van Slyke in 1995
Mark Parent in 1992
Sam Horn in 1990 (never knocked down warehouse as predicted)
Stan Jefferson in 1989 (after moving on up from minors)
Keith Moreland in 1989
Craig Worthington in 1988
Dave Van Gorder in 1987 (see Jesus Tavarez)
Rene Gonzales in 1986
Tom O’Malley in 1985
Dan Graham in 1980
Lee May in 1975

García is an interesting case. He was acquired from the Tigers in June 2000, went 0-for-16 in eight games and was released in October.

The Orioles traded reliever Mike DeJean to the Mets in exchange for García in July 2004 and released him a month later. He didn’t play again. But he hit two home runs in a July 20 game in Kansas City.

Benson’s only major league home run was hit on June 17, 2006 at Shea Stadium, a solo shot off the Mets’ Pedro Martínez in the third inning.

Against his former team.

Against a future Hall of Famer.

Now that’s weird.

Benson was the first Orioles pitcher in 34 years to hit a home run. Roric Harrison was the most recent in the final game of the 1972 season, right before the American League implemented the designated hitter.

“There's been a lot of memorable games for me, but this definitely ranks up there," Benson said after allowing one earned run in eight innings.

Benson never hit a home run, even in Little League, joking that the fences kept moving back. His wife, Anna, held the baseball outside the clubhouse. Reporters naturally found her.

They also found Martínez, who said, “He's a pitcher. When you are up 3-1, I am not going to fool around. I am going to make him hit it. If you do, congratulations."

* Jorge Mateo’s trip to Chicago resulted in a bruised rib cage from a 99 mph fastball and a little more life in his bat.

Mateo was 0-for-14 in his last five games and 2-for-24 in eight. He singled in the opener against the White Sox, was hit by a pitch, walked and stole two bases the following night and was 2-for-3 with a double, home run and walk on Saturday.

“He’s scuffled, and he’s working so hard to kind of get out of this,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s so incredibly talented. They’ve been pitching him away quite a bit, showing him in and pitching him away. It was nice to see him stay on two balls (Saturday). You watch his BP, he uses the whole field, he hits line drives the other way, he hits hard ground balls through the middle. He’s got a nice approach. In the game it just gets a little quick at times.

“I thought (Saturday) he slowed the game down a little bit, let the ball get to him and stayed on a couple. He’s so strong, he kind of mishit that ball for the homer in left-center. And he’s a game-changer when he gets on the bases. He knows what he needs to do and he’s working hard at it.”

Anything he tried against Dylan Cease yesterday didn’t produce the desired results. Mateo struck out in his first two at-bats and flied out, but he drew a walk against Kendall Graveman in the ninth inning to load the bases with no outs.

* The taxi squad increased to four yesterday with reliever Beau Sulser joining reliever Marcos Diplán, infielder Rylan Bannon and catcher Cody Roberts. Sulser was told Saturday night to join the Orioles.

The Triple-A Norfolk Tides were in Lehigh Valley, and Sulser caught a flight out of Allentown. He arrived in Chicago yesterday morning.

This is Sulser’s second taxi squad adventure. He also joined the team in Kansas City.

Sulser has made one appearance for the Orioles, allowing two runs and seven hits in three innings in a May 27 game in Boston. He’s surrendered seven earned runs with 19 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings with Norfolk.

“Everything’s going well,” he said. “I’ve been throwing the ball well down in Norfolk, so just have to continue that. Back up on the taxi squad, so I’m here if they need me, and hopefully they do at some point.”

No one needed to brief Sulser on the Orioles’ recent surge, or a bullpen that registered a 1.29 ERA in 11 games before yesterday, the lowest in the majors during that span. Cionel Pérez had a scoreless eighth after loading the bases with one out.

“Just because now that I know everybody, I want to know how everybody’s doing and just keep up with the team,” Sulser said.

“When you’re down there, the goal is to be up here and you envision yourself up here, so you always try to keep tabs on how they’re doing, how your team’s doing, because I still feel like I’m part of this team. And I want to be up here helping them win. So yeah, I’ve been keeping tabs and they’ve been shoving.

“It’s been fun to watch. They’re throwing really well. Lights out.”

Sulser fits right in among the cast of waiver claims.

“It just gives credibility to everybody that’s a pitcher in this organization,” he said. “You’d rather be a guy who’s claimed to a team that’s throwing well, because then you’re part of a good bullpen. So, it’s fun to watch.

“You can learn a lot, too, watching these guys.”

Sulser’s brother, former Orioles reliever Cole Sulser, is on the Marlins’ injured list with a right lat strain. He has a 3.86 ERA and 1.286 WHIP in 26 games and averages 10 strikeouts per nine innings.  

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