Maybe they should be considered lower high-leverage.
Givens stepped on the mound last night with a runner on base in the seventh, one out and Evan Longoria representing the tying run. Longoria struck out on a changeup. Brandon Crawford struck out on a 96 mph fastball.
An entire ballpark exhaled.
Manager Brandon Hyde let Givens leave on a high note after a third batter, with Kevin Pillar flying out to center field. Hyde wanted the right-hander-versus-right-hander matchup before calling upon Richard Bleier, who registered his second save.
Fans behind the home dugout stood to cheer Givens as he walked to the bench and accepted high-fives.
“He just dominated,” Hyde said following a 9-6 win over the Giants. “He threw strikes. He threw strikes, attacked hitters. Threw some good sliders. I think we’re on the right track.”
Ten batters came to the plate for the Giants in the top of the first and Andrew Cashner was one away from exiting as Dan Straily warmed. He reached 46 pitches, retiring Joe Panik on a ground ball to make the second baseman 0-for-1 with a walk in the inning.
“A game like that, you never know what’s going to happen,” Hyde said. “You start thinking ahead about how we’re going to piece this together. I didn’t think Cash would go more than three even though he got through the first. He got through five.”
And a game that included a 45-minute first inning was completed in 3 hours, 9 minutes.
* Austin Wynns was on the field early yesterday to work with catching instructor Tim Cossins, a series of drills including throws to second base and pickoffs to first while staying on his knees.
“It was just sharpening up, just getting on the field rather than in-game and do your routine,” said Wynns, who could return to the lineup this afternoon following a night game.
“It was like, you know what? Let’s just talk, throw to bases, feel it out, break out some of the kinks. We haven’t done that this year, so it was good.
“It was much needed. I actually went up to Cuz and asked, so it was cool.”
Cossins is known in the industry as the “catching guru.” Wynns is developing a nice relationship with him.
“He’s awesome, he’s such a great dude,” Wynns said. “He has such a great understanding, feel. He has so much knowledge. Pick that mind every day. You have to. If not, it’s like your fault. You better pick his mind.”
* Right-hander David Hess is back on the mound today in search of his second win after tossing 6 1/3 hitless innings in Toronto on April 1. He recorded 14 of 17 outs via ground balls or strikeouts in his last outing in Denver and carried a 1-1 tie into the sixth before the Rockies erupted for five runs.
“I think really keeping the same mindset, the same intent with each and every pitch,” Hess said. “Just trying to make each one as good as possible. Trying to get the same results hopefully that came in the first five innings and really just again going out and trying to make as many quality pitches as possible.”
Hess is 0-3 with a 9.47 ERA and 1.737 WHIP in four home starts and 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA and 1.281 WHIP in seven games (six starts) on the road. His 18 home runs allowed, most in the majors, are divided evenly.
None of the Giants players have a plate appearance against Hess, which is a little surprising. The roster includes Longoria and Pillar, who came to them from the American League East.
“I’ve seen Toronto quite a few times and every game Pillar seemed to be either on the bench or hurt,” Hess said. “I don’t know how we missed each other so much. But with a fresh team and guys that I haven’t seen before, we’ll make sure that the information that needs to be had is given.
“I’m sure they have the information on me, as well, and so that’s kind of the way the game is now. Even if you haven’t seen guys, you have video, you have scouting reports and everything you need to be as prepared as possible.”
Right-hander Shaun Anderson, a third round pick of the Red Sox in 2016 from the University of Florida, is a rookie making his fourth major league start. He’s worked five innings in each of the first three, allowing a total of eight earned runs and 11 total with 19 hits, four walks and nine strikeouts. He’s surrendered only one home run.
Today marks his first appearance on the road. And of course, none of the Orioles have faced him.
* DJ Stewart finally gets to face a right-handed starting pitcher after being fed three consecutive lefties. Not that it’s put him at a huge disadvantage.
Stewart was batting .400/.545/.750 against southpaws at Triple-A Norfolk and he’s 3-for-7 with the Orioles. It’s a good way to avoid wearing the label of platoon player.
“Obviously, last year when I was up here, I didn’t really play against lefties, but it’s always been something I prided myself on,” he said. “It’s technically harder to hit lefties because you don’t see them as much, but I take it as a challenge. It’s a hard matchup, but I like the challenge.
“To me, I simplify my swing a little bit more with the lefties. I’m not trying to do too much. Sometimes with a righty-on-lefty matchup, you can kind of see the ball so long that you kind of get big, but lefty, you’ve got to be short and simple and try to hit their good stuff or you’re not going to get it at all.”