He struck out the side in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 8-4 win over Seattle that ended a 10-game losing streak and manager Brandon Hyde called his performance “huge.”
Yacabonis’ third stint with the 2019 Orioles began when he was recalled from Triple-A a week ago yesterday. In four games since, he’s thrown 5 1/3 scoreless on two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. That includes two scoreless innings on 31 pitches on Wednesday at Oakland when he was used as an opener.
“Just staying focused and attacking hitters and not trying to be too fine with my stuff,” said Yacabonis, whose fastball topped at 95 mph yesterday. “Just kind of throwing to the big part of the zone and making a quality pitch early in the count. And once you get ahead, the hitter is on the defense.”
He continues to work on repeating his delivery and producing consistent mechanics, work that continued in his most recent stretch at Triple-A Norfolk.
“Yeah, for sure. Was working on all different stuff, but mainly trying to get a consistent motion so everything comes out of the same window when I’m throwing,” he said. “And mainly also throwing my off-speed for strikes and being able to expand when I get to two strikes. If you get that off-speed over with the fastball location, that opens a lot of things.”
His slider was a big pitch yesterday. Of Yacabonis’ 15 pitches against the Mariners, eight were sliders and all three strikeouts came with that pitch.
“Past couple of outings, it’s just felt very comfortable in my hand,” he said after lowering his ERA to 4.70. “Almost like a fastball grip. Just get it out front and finish it. That could be a bread-and-butter pitch for me.”
Party like it’s 1969: The 1969 Orioles won 109 games, a team record, but lost in the World Series to the Mets. Too soon to bring that up?
They didn’t exactly look like throwback jerseys for the Orioles, but both clubs wore 1969-type jerseys Saturday. Seattle was celebrating 50 years since its first season as a major league team. In 1969, they were the expansion Seattle Pilots, the team that brought the majors to the Pacific Northwest for the first time. That team moved to Milwaukee after one season and became the Brewers.
The Mariners pointed out in their media notes yesterday other things that happened in 1969: Seattle’s own made their mark on the stage and in the sky. Garfield High School’s Jimi Hendrix performed a searing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. In Everett, the first Boeing 747 flight took place. Elsewhere in 1969, The Beatles performed in public for the last time on the roof of the Apple building in London. John Wayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in “True Grit,” the median price of a home sold in the U.S. was $25,200 and Walter Cronkite signed off the “CBS Evening News” each night, “And that’s the way it is...”.
Did skipper Brandon Hyde enjoy the throwback uniforms?
“Maybe we’ll wear them again (today). I don’t know,” he said with a laugh. “I had the wrong pants on. Right before the game started, I didn’t know what was going on. I had the wrong pants on and the wrong hat on five minutes before the game. Whatever uniform allows us to win, I’ll put it on.”
For one day, the Orioles could smile and laugh again, and music was blaring in the visitor’s clubhouse as the O’s were winners on Saturday.
More O’s notes
* The 10-game losing streak tied for the longest in the majors this year. Kansas City lost 10 in a row from March 31-April 11 and Detroit from May 13-26.
* Jonathan Villar hit a three-run homer yesterday, his ninth of the season. That is more homers than he’s ever had in the first half. Villar became the first Oriole to have at least two hits, three RBIs, one steal and one walk in a single game since Adam Jones on June 12, 2016 versus Toronto. Villar is the first O’s player to do that from the fifth spot in the batting order since Bob Kennedy on July 30, 1954 against the Yankees.
* Winning pitcher Andrew Cashner recorded his 100th quality start since 2013. He is tied for 15th among right-handers in the majors in that span.
* There has been at least one homer in every Mariners game to date, all 81 this year. That is an ongoing single-season major league record.
* In the first four games of this road trip, the Orioles scored nine runs on 17 hits and went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. In the last two games, they’ve scored 17 runs on 22 hits, going 8-for-20 with RISP.
Bowie is rolling: On the farm Saturday night, Double-A Bowie beat Harrisburg 5-2. The Baysox have won five straight, 12 of 13 and 15 of the last 18 games. The Baysox are 4-0 in the second half and in first place in their division.
Outfielder Yusniel Diaz is batting .379 (11-for-29) during a seven-game hitting streak with three homers and 14 RBIs. Right-hander Michael Baumann made his Eastern League debut with two innings of scoreless relief.
Short-season Single-A Aberdeen is in first place at 5-4 after an 11-2 win at Hudson Valley. Tristan Graham went 3-for-3 and is 7-for-15 (.467) for the IronBirds. Outfielder Johnny Rizer, the Orioles’ seventh-round draft pick this year out of TCU, is batting .400 (8-for-20) to start his pro career with four doubles, a triple and six RBIs. Winning pitcher Adam Stauffer gave up one run over 5 1/3 innings and is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in two starts.
Rewind for No. 22: MASN broadcaster Jim Palmer went 2-0 with an ERA of 2.00 in three starts versus the 1969 Seattle Pilots. At the plate in those games, he went 5-for-12 with a double and two RBIs.