A mixed bag for John Means as O’s lose to New York

There was some good and some not so good for O’s lefty John Means today. He went 5 1/3 innings and that was a season high, topping the 4 2/3 innings he threw Aug. 4 against Miami. He also threw a season-high 81 pitches. That is seven more than in his last outing against Toronto.

So, he continues to get stretched out and that part of his day was a positive. But he gave up two more homers this afternoon, and that was not a positive.

Means-w-Bottle-White-ST-sidebar.jpgIt got the Orioles’ pitching off to a so-so start today, and it did not get better. In search of their fourth series sweep of the season, the Orioles did not get it. Their offense and pitching struggled and they got thumped 9-4 by the New York Mets.

The Orioles (16-20) have lost six of eight and 12 of the last 16 games. They fall to 1-1 on this homestand and to 7-14 in home games for the year. They are going to need to elevate their play a few levels for this weekend when the Yankees come to Baltimore for four games in three days beginning Friday.

This was the third start in a row where Means allowed two home runs. So he has given up six homers in 12 1/3 innings in those three games. On the year, he has now allowed eight home runs over 20 innings.

That is a homer rate of 3.6 per every nine innings in 2020. Last season, when he was an American League All-Star, a 12-game winner and finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year vote, he gave up just 1.3 home runs for every nine innings.

Today, right fielder Michael Conforto, batting third for the Mets, hit Means hard twice. He blasted a two-run homer in the first for a 2-0 lead. He hit a middle in 94 mph fastball 375 feet to left center for his sixth home run. That ball was hit 102 mph. His RBI double in the fifth gave New York a 3-2 lead and was hit 111 mph off the bat. He finished the day 4-for-5 with five RBIs.

Means’ last batter homered off him. Pete Alonso crushed a rare Oriole Park second-deck homer down the left-field line in the sixth for a 4-2 lead. It was No. 6 for Alonso. That was just the fifth fair ball to reach the second deck in Camden Yards history since 1992.

Here are the five second-deck homers in Camden Yards history:

* 6/11/95 - Rex Hudler (Cal) at O’s (Moyer)
* 8/7/11 - Mark Reynolds (BAL) versus Toronto (Romero)
* 6/2/17 - Manny Machado (BAL) versus Boston (Porcello)
* 6-20-17 - Edwin EncarnaciĆ³n (CLE) at O’s (Tillman)
* 9-2-20 - Pete Alonso (NYM) at O’s (Means)

The Mets scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead, and then they added four in the eighth to break it completely open at 9-2.

Travis Lakins Sr. allowed one run in one inning and Cole Sulser gave up four hits and four runs (three earned) in one inning. Ryan Mountcastle went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and is batting .314.

After Thursday’s off-day, the Orioles host the Yankees in a pair of seven-inning games Friday beginning at 5:05 p.m.

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