The Orioles set a franchise record tonight with eight home runs and came within four runs of tying another mark in a 19-3 stomping of the Phillies before 26,964 at Camden Yards.
Before we get to those details, manager Buck Showalter provided an update on center fielder Adam Jones, who sat out tonight’s game after undergoing an MRI on his right shoulder.
Showalter described Jones’ status for Wednesday night’s game in Philadelphia as “iffy.”
“He did go and get an MRI before the game and there was nothing there that ... Well, everything is serious when Adam Jones misses a game, but nothing structurally that he shouldn’t be able to come back from,” Showalter said. “The question is when, whether it’s tomorrow or the next day or in Toronto. But I feel confident it will be one of those three days.
“He dove for that ball head-first last night. And he’s got a banged-up toe from jamming it and he fouled a bunch of balls off, and he’s also got that ankle that he turned. So it might be a good time to let him take a little blow. Anytime Adam talks about it and doesn’t fight it, you better multiply it times two. He talked to me earlier in the day after lunch about how he was feeling, so we were able to get ahead of it.”
As the game was set to begin, left-hander Wei-Yin Chen sent out two tweets expressing his disappointment in being optioned to Single-A Frederick and assuring fans that he’s healthy and ready to pitch.
“He did or his agent?” Showalter asked. “Who did? I just didn’t know which one.”
Well, the tweets appeared on Chen’s account. Showalter was asked whether the message sent to Chen was clear regarding the team’s plans for him.
“It was,” Showalter said. “We have a pretty good relationship with him. He knows we’re doing what’s best for him physically and for our club and that is our priority in no special order. What’s best for him is what’s best for our club and we’ve been doing this for a long time and we’re very proud of the health of our people and our pitchers. Trying to get ahead of things. And that is our priority, not something that might happen in the offseason.”
Chen is a pending free agent, in case you were wondering about the last part.
As for all the home runs, which enabled the Orioles (33-31) to move two games above .500 for the first time since April 19, was the ball just carrying more tonight?
“We squared up a lot of mistakes they made and had a lot of good at-bats with the walks. It just kind of snowballed,” Showalter said.
“I’m proud of the way Chris (Tillman) pitched. We had a lot of long innings and he went out there and pitched six innings. That’s a difficult environment to pitch in, but I’m sure he was happy with it.”
Chris Parmelee homered twice, singled twice and was pied three times - courtesy of Jones, Manny Machado and Delmon Young.
“It was nice to see Chris come up and make an impact right away,” Showalter said. “It’s been a long journey back for him.”
Parmelee is the latest player from Triple-A Norfolk to make a contribution.
“I think it’s a product of the environment and their talented people and timing is everything with them,” Showalter said. “I tell people we have to know who we are and the players feel like we’re going to out-opportunity people. If they go down and do the job, we’re going to create an opportunity for them. It doesn’t mean you’re going to overlook other guys. Delmon’s done good things for us and will again this year, and it’s a good challenge for me to continue to keep people in the mix. We’ll take them as they come. It’s a good problem to have, but we’ve got other guys down there who are going to get an opportunity at some point. But the what-ifs are always there.
“We were able to stay engaged in this thing in April and May without some of our normal bullets, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean that other people taking their place can’t do the job, either, you know? We’ve seen it with a lot of guys. That’s the environment you try to create, the why not?
“Chris Parmelee was a first-round pick and some guys at 27-28 kind of look around. I know Chris is in the best shape of his life. He can to spring and you could tell he was on a mission and he got our attention. Much like Chaz Roe. Went on every trip, played the heck out of first base and the outfield. He’s engaged in every pitch. You could tell it was important to him and that gets your attention.”
It got so bad for the Phillies, outfielder Jeff Francoeur pitched two innings in relief. He allowed two runs, including Ryan Flaherty’s homer in the eighth that set the team record, walked three, struck out Nolan Reimold and hit Caleb Joseph.
Showalter said he wasn’t worried about his player’s safety with a position player on the mound.
“Not Jeff. He’s a pro,” Showalter said. “He’s been around a while. He’s done that before. I understand it. We’ve all been there. It’s tough. Do you take, do you swing? You’re trying to be professional about it. Our guys, they put their head down and run.”
I asked Showalter if, in moments like this one, he puts himself in the other dugout and sympathizes. He does.
“We’ve all been there and will be again,” he said. “Things can snowball at this level. There are too many talented people. It could happen to us tomorrow with them. It’s one game, one win. Get on the bus tomorrow and head to Philadelphia and try to score more than they do in nine innings tomorrow. I know they’ll be trying to return the favor tomorrow.
“It’s tough to tell your guys to stop swinging or stop trying. It’s tough. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.”
Per STATS: The Orioles posted their best mark (7-1) in a homestand of at least eight games since July 4-11, 1977. Also, Parmelee is the second player with two home runs in his Orioles debut, the other being Sam Horn on April 9, 1990 at Kansas City. And he’s the third Orioles player with four hits in his debut with the club, joining Horn and Ronny Paulino (April 7, 2012 against the Twins.)
Philles reliever Justin De Fratus was ejected in the sixth inning for an inside pitch to J.J. Hardy following Parmelee’s second home run. He thought plate umpire Lance Barksdale should have issued a warning.
“I know what it looked like. It is what it is at that point,” he said.
Asked whether the pitch was intentional, De Fratus replied, “It doesn’t matter. I got tossed.”
Manager Ryne Sandberg said De Fratus didn’t do the right thing.
“We needed him to pitch,” Sandberg said.