They were blanked last night, but the Orioles would not be shut out today. Behind their biggest first inning of the 2018 season, they beat the Chicago White Sox 8-4 to avoid getting swept in three straight at Camden Yards.
The Orioles (43-106) avoided, at least for a day, tying the 1988 Orioles for most losses in club history. They won for just second time in 10 games and third in the last 15 games. They are 26-48 at home. Chicago (59-90) was looking for its first three-game sweep in Baltimore since Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 1998.
Cedric Mullins had his first career four-hit game, and Jonathan Villar added three hits and hit a homer onto Eutaw Street. Adam Jones added a homer and the O’s bullpen did a solid job after David Hess left before the fifth inning was over.
The Orioles took a 5-0 lead with their big first inning. It started with Mullins, who doubled to left center. Villar and Jones produced RBI singles for a 2-0 lead. With the infield in and runners at the corners, DJ Stewart hit a grounder to second and the throw home was late to get Villar, making it 3-0. Renato Núñez reached on an error, and that made it 4-0, and Breyvic Valera’s sac fly to right capped a three-hit inning to for a 5-0 edge.
Daniel Palka led off the White Sox second inning with the first of his two homers and the lead was cut to 5-1. It was back at five runs when Villar crushed a homer to right in the fourth. Villar hit No. 8 and it went 430 feet onto Eutaw Street for the 6-1 lead. It was the 98th home run hit to Eutaw Street in Camden Yards history, the 43rd by an Oriole and the second by Villar.
Hess pitched out of some trouble in the third and fourth, but didn’t make through the Chicago fifth. After Yoán Moncada reached on an error by first baseman Trey Mancini, Yolmer Sánchez hit a two-run homer to right. Two batters later, Palka homered again and the Sox were within 6-4. For Palka, it was his third multi-homer game of the season and his career.
Hess went 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs (three earned) on 104 pitches with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Over the last seven games, O’s starting pitchers have covered just 23 innings. Orioles starters have only one quality start the past 10 games and just three in the last 19 contests.
When Jones connected for No. 15 in the Baltimore seventh, the Orioles lead grew to 7-4. It was Jones’ ninth homer at Oriole Park this year and his first longball since Aug. 29 versus Toronto. Mullins singled in a run in the eighth for the 8-4 lead and his fourth hit. He went 4-for-5 and added his first career steal. He also made a diving catch. He also hit a ball 108 mph when he lined out in the sixth for his only out today.
The Baltimore bullpen recorded 4 2/3 scoreless innings today with right-hander Ryan Meisinger earning his first major league win. He recorded two outs in the fifth in relief of Hess and was the winning pitcher today. Tanner Scott threw a scoreless sixth with three strikeouts, then Miguel Castro went 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He was followed to the mound by Paul Fry who struck out both batters he faced in the eighth and two more in the ninth to earn the save.
Now 2-4 on this nine-game homestand, the Orioles host Toronto on Monday night to begin a three-game series.
Meisinger on his first major league win: “It’s awesome. Growing up in southern Maryland, I was an Orioles fan and then I got my first win as an Oriole. My parents and a couple of family friends were here to see it and that was really good. Fry had his first save, so we just got some stuff dumped on us in the shower and it was fun. It was fun to share it with the other guys. Just cool to have my first win and hopefully there is many more to come.”
Villar on hitting a Eutaw Street homer: “I loved that one. My second time to put a ball on that street and I feel happy for that. Somebody told me they put your name there, and for that, I feel happy, too.”
Hess on his day: “I think it was a little bit of a grind out there today. Really had to work, the pitch count was up there and didn’t get to go as deep as I’d like. I made a couple of mistakes that they didn’t miss. Went back and watched some video. For the most part, other than that, it was a pretty good outing. Definitely something to learn from and I’ve already talk with Winny (Austin Wynns) and we’ve kind of gone over it a little.
“The thing that is going to stick with me and kind of linger is the shutdown innings. I know that is something that is really important and that I take a lot of pride in. Today that was nonexistent. That is when the runs were scored. When they put up runs for you, you want to shut it down and have their back. You know the biggest thing today is that our team got a win. More than anything each time going out, that is what we want.”
Mullins on his all-around game today and making offensive adjustments: “It was exciting and a great team win. For me to contribute in a big way today - had a solid defensive play, was able to tag on a big RBI so our closers could come on and finish the deal. It’s a day-to-day process. I come and take a look at the pitcher, see what they have. Just a matter of sticking with my approach, trusting myself and putting good wood on the ball.”
Mullins on meeting Brooks Robinson last night: “It was awesome to meet Brooks Robinson for the first time. And to hear his stories. It’s awesome, he has a lot of experience. To be able to hear that I’m playing well from such a big name was pretty awesome.”