Orioles follow news of Westburg's All-Star selection with losing effort against Cubs (updated)

Jordan Westburg took the high road earlier today. Then, he put a fastball on a flight to the seats near the bullpen area.

This is how you celebrate your selection to the All-Star Game. By hitting like one again.

The Orioles didn’t exhibit the same timing. They followed the news of Westburg’s late inclusion as an injury replacement by committing two errors in the third inning that led to a pair of unearned runs against Dean Kremer, who walked three batters by the third, surrendered two homers by the fourth and lacked the sharpness of his previous start.

The Cubs scored in each of the first four innings, Kremer was gone by the fifth and the Orioles lost the series opener 9-2 before an announced crowd of 30,373 at Camden Yards.

The Yankees still trail the Orioles (57-34) by three games after losing to the Rays.

Westburg was met by a huge media gathering at his locker this afternoon and insisted that he understood why he didn’t get chosen and was “very honored and humbled” to be a finalist and in the conversation. Disappointed, yes, but only because he didn’t know how many times he’d get the opportunity.

It arrived a few hours later with Rafael Devers backing out due to a sore shoulder.

The reaction was "pretty powerful," Westburg said. "I don't know that I could put it into words. Just really cool being able to call my wife and call my parents and hear the excitement in their voice. My heart was pumping, I was shaking. I kind of blacked out there for a second. But it was really cool news.

"We talked earlier in the game and I was trying to kind of move on from it and focus on playing tonight's game and moving forward the next couple days and into next week. Prepare to jump into the second half. But this is exciting new plans. I don't mind changing the schedule up a little bit and being in Arlington."

Nice location for a Texas native who earned an everyday job in spring training, whether at second base or at third. The Orioles gave him every chance to succeed and he seized it in his first full major league season.

"Man, it's a blessing, first and foremost," he said. "God's been so good to me in my life. Certainly coming into the year I didn't expect to be in this situation, I didn't expect to have the opportunities that I was going to have. I believed in myself and I had confidence in my ability. Ultimately, the game of baseball is pretty unpredictable. It's just really cool.

"I don't have a whole lot of words right now. I'm still processing everything. But it's really cool."

When did manager Brandon Hyde find out about Westburg?

Well, that's a story within itself.

"Before I answered the five questions in here why he didn't make the team, which was putting me in a super awkward spot," Hyde said. "I tried to do the best I could. I just celebrated with him right before. It was actually right after you guys were interviewing him why he didn't make the team, then I had to answer why he didn't make the team when I knew he made the team. I'm glad he made the team."

Westburg doesn't have the kind of personality that brings an overly animated reaction. Not necessarily stoic, but controlled on the outside.

"I don't think he gets real excited, but he was very, very happy and he was looking forward to calling people back home, and telling them," Hyde said. "It was a great moment."

Westburg led off the second with a 418-foot shot to the splash zone. The crowd appreciated the moment and roared its approval.

There wasn’t much else to cheer about on this sticky night. Jameson Taillon retired 12 in a row and 14 of his last 15, with only two runs allowed in seven innings. The Orioles had one baserunner after the third, on Heston Kjerstad's single.

On the home run, Westburg managed to settle himself and focus on the at-bat with his head still swirling.

"I was still kind of a nervous wreck," he said. "The news hit pretty hard and it's a whirlwind getting texts and trying to coordinate plans with family and friends. So to be able to slow the game down and have a big moment like that, I know we ultimately lost the game, which is never good, but that was a pretty cool moment."

Bryan Baker replaced Kremer, who threw 85 pitches in four innings and allowed five earned runs and seven total with seven hits, three walks and three strikeouts. His ERA expanded from 3.93 to 4.42.

Five scoreless innings in his initial start after leaving the injured list were followed by constant turmoil.

"I got a few more swings-and-misses the last start," Kremer said. "It's easier to pitch when you're getting swings-and-misses. Those guys are a good contact team and they got a piece of just about everything.

"I thought I was in and around the zone and they just put some swings on some decent pitches."

Kremer threw 10 pitches in the first inning. He wanted one back, the fastball to Michael Busch that landed in the back of the flag court. It was the first run surrendered by Kremer in the opening frame in 11 starts.

The Cubs chose to rally in the second rather than strike quickly. They loaded the bases with one out and Tomás Nido scored Ian Happ with a fly ball.

The first two batters reached on singles and Kremer thought he had a 6-4-3 double play on Dansby Swanson’s ground ball, but the out call at first base was overturned. Miles Mastrobuoni walked and Nido followed with his sacrifice fly.

Anthony Santander broke out his patented move of charging a shallow fly ball and making a diving catch, which prevented at least one more run from scoring.

The bases were loaded again in the third after Seiya Suzuki’s RBI single that scored Cody Bellinger, who reached on an infield hit and advanced on Gunnar Henderson’s throwing error. Ian Happ walked and Ramón Urías booted Christopher Morel’s potential double-play grounder.

Urías fielded Swanson’s grounder, stepped on the bag but threw late to first base to increase the Cubs’ lead to 4-1.

Kremer walked Mastrobuoni to reload the bases and Santander ran down Nido’s fly ball in foul territory. Kremer threw 58 pitches in three innings and 27 more in the fourth, which began with Kremer hitting Nico Hoemer and included Busch’s single, two retired batters and Happ’s three-run shot onto Eutaw Street with two strikes.

"Just wasn't as sharp as the outing against Seattle," Hyde said. "He gave up the homer to Busch and then didn't get hit real hard. A lot of miss-hits and fortunate breaks for them. Really bad pitch to Happ in that spot. He had the split going really well in Seattle. That was really inconsistent. The fastball didn't have the same amount of life that he had. Kind of searching out there for me."

Happ is the second Cubs player to clear the flag court, joining Jason Heyward in 2017. Tonight’s homer is the 127th to land on Eutaw Street in the ballpark’s history.

Happ had a single, walk and homer through the fourth. He posted a .313 average at home and a .171 average on the road, the lowest in the majors among qualifying hitters, heading into tonight.

"Thought I would out-smart him," Kremer said. "Had him down and away, down and away, down and away. Thought I could stand him up, up and in, and he got the bat to it."

All-Star starters Henderson and Adley Rutschman began the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles against Jameson Taillon. Mastrobuoni dived to his left to stop Santander’s ground ball and start a double play as Henderson scored. Happ made a diving catch in left field to rob Ryan O’Hearn.

The last-place Cubs came to play.

They couldn’t do much with Baker, who retired six of seven batters and didn’t allow a run or hit. Suzuki had an RBI double off Keegan Akin in the eighth and Dillon Tate surrendered a run in the ninth.

At least the day wasn't a total loss. Westburg is the fourth Orioles All-Star.

"Everybody in this clubhouse is happy for him," Kremer said. "He's well-deserving and incredibly hard worker. We're very excited for him. He deserves it."

* Corbin Burnes and Albert Suárez start the next two games for the Orioles. The Cubs counter with left-handers Shota Imanaga and Justin Steele, which could get Austin Hays back in the lineup.

* Double-A Bowie’s Trace Bright (0-9) allowed one run and three hits in four innings and he struck out five batters.

Mac Horvath hit his eighth home run with High-A Aberdeen. Enrique Bradfield Jr. singled three times and stole three bases to run his total to 44.

Jackson Baumeister allowed two runs and struck out seven in three innings.

Jake Cunningham hit his third home run for Single-A Delmarva.

Leftovers for breakfast
O's game blog: O's host the Cubs as the homestand ...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/