Orioles recall Kjerstad, notes on tonight's game

The Orioles won again last night and are in first place in the American League East with a 15-7 record. Their 126 runs scored and .780 OPS lead the American League. Their 35 homers lead the majors.

And now, the mid-market rich get richer.

Outfielder Heston Kjerstad was recalled today from Triple-A Norfolk, bringing him back to the majors for the first time since the Division Series. Catcher David Bañuelos, activated yesterday from the taxi squad, was optioned to the Tides.

Kjerstad is the actual replacement for outfielder Austin Hays, who went on the 10-day injured list yesterday with a left calf strain retroactive to Sunday. He’s battering Triple-A pitching, hitting .349/.431/.744 with four doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 21 games. He’s also drawn 12 walks.

The first promotion came on Sept. 14, with the Orioles selecting Kjerstad’s contract. He went 7-for-30 with a double and two home runs.

A reward was inclusion on the playoff roster, but Kjerstad didn’t get an at-bat during the Rangers’ three-game sweep.

Manager Brandon Hyde could post a lineup this evening that includes two first-overall draft picks in Adley Rutschman and Jackson Holliday, Kjerstad as a second-overall selection, Colton Cowser as a fifth, Jordan Westburg at 30th and Gunnar Henderson at 42nd. Ryan Mountcastle, who didn’t play last night because of a sore knee, was 36th.

Tonight’s starter, Grayson Rodriguez, was taken 11th overall in 2018.

MLB Pipeline ranks Kjerstad as the No. 29 prospect in baseball and fourth in the organization.

Rodriguez held the Angels to one run in six innings and struck out nine in his first start. Taylor Ward homered.

Angels right-hander Griffin Canning is 0-3 with an 8.05 ERA and 1.579 WHIP in four starts. He faced the Orioles on March 30 and allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. Henderson hit a leadoff home run.

Last night’s 4-2 win assured that the Orioles would go 99 regular season series in a row without being swept. They’ve won three of four games against the Angels this season.

Closer Craig Kimbrel left the bases loaded for his 423rd save, passing Billy Wagner for seventh on the all-time list. His next one will tie John Franco.

The Orioles stole four bases last night to make them 19-for-20.

Cowser homered last night and has registered a .923 slugging percentage on the road, compared to .690 at Camden Yards. He’s batting .429 on fastballs on the road this season, per STATS.

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