Orioles unravel in new leads as Grayson Rodriguez allows 3 homers in 12-2 loss to Rangers – The Denver Post
Going into Friday, 92% of Orioles games this year had been decided by four runs or less. Night after night they played close games, and night after night they often won.
In their series opener at Camden Yards against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, however, the Orioles played their most lopsided game of the year by far. Grayson Rodriguez allowed three homers — including a fourth-inning grand slam to Rangers star shortstop Corey Seager — and eight earned runs as Baltimore fell, 12-2.
Heading into Friday, the Orioles’ biggest margin in a game this season was a 6-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals earlier this month.
With a reported Orioles debut crowd of 20,293 in their all-black City Connect uniforms — albeit with a colorful interior — Adley Rutschman gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with a first-inning home run.
But in the next frame, Rodriguez allowed a two-run homer to Leody Taveras, and in a nightmarish fourth inning, Rangers stacked it. Josh Jung tripled on a fly ball misplayed by right fielder Anthony Santander, Josh Smith scored a single and Robbie Grossman homered. Then the damage really started.
A walk, hit and error from shortstop Jorge Mateo — who could have ended the inning turning a double play — filled in bases for Seager, one of baseball’s highest-paid players. Rodriguez left his first pitch, a cutter, in the middle of the zone and Seager tattooed it 437 feet from right center field for the grand slam that sealed the fate.
By the time another run crossed the plate, it was an eight-run Rangers play-off.
It was the second time in three days the Orioles were involved in an eight-run inning, as Baltimore scored that many against the New York Yankees in Wednesday’s win.
Friday marked the third time this month that Rodriguez allowed at least six earned runs without finishing the fourth inning. In 3 1/3 innings Friday, he allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 83 pitches. After posting a 4.07 ERA in five starts in April, Rodriguez struggled in his five starts in May, recording an 11.14 ERA.
Austin Voth pitched in relief, allowing an earned run in 3 1/3 innings. Cionel Pérez then kicked a scoreless eighth.
Meanwhile, Rangers right-hander Jon Gray continued his strong season by throwing seven innings at once, allowing four hits and striking out eight. The Orioles mounted a mini-return in the eighth against reliever John King as hits from Ryan O’Hearn, Rutschman and Terrin Vavra scored a run. After a Ryan Mountcastle single, Ramón Urias – playing his first game in weeks after a hamstring injury – hit with the bases loaded, but was taken out.
In the ninth inning, a position player pitched for the Orioles for the first time this season. Rather than use a reliever in a one-sided game, manager Brandon Hyde opted to send outfielder Ryan McKenna to the mound.
McKenna pitched into practice pitches much slower than the batters, with some of his offers registering as low as 34 mph, allowing two runs in the final frame before inducing a late-inning double play, much to the delight of the crowd.
Orioles launch City Connect uniforms
The Orioles played for the first time Friday in their City Connect uniforms, which received mixed reviews from fans.
Before the game, relief pitcher Bryan Baker described the uniforms, which are all black but have a colorful patterned interior, as “right up my alley” because he likes to keep it simple.
“They have just the right amount of spice, I guess,” he said. “A bit of flair. I think they look sharp.
First baseman Ryan Mountcastle noted the black uniforms were easy to match, and Alabama native Gunnar Henderson likened the interior to camouflage. “I’m from the south, so I like my camouflage,” he said.
The Orioles will wear the uniform again Saturday and every Friday at home this season.
Ramon Urias returns
Urias (hamstring) was reinstated out of IL ahead of Friday’s game and entered the lineup at second base in the eighth inning, his first appearance since May 8. To make room on the roster, infielder Joey Ortiz was picked for Triple-A Norfolk.
Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said Friday that Ortiz had “nothing to deserve” to be fired.
“He came and helped us win several games both times and he’s going to do it again,” Elias said. “He looks like he belongs in the big leagues.”
Mullins back in line-up
Cedric Mullins was back in the lineup on Friday after missing Thursday’s game for personal reasons, Hyde said. It was the first absence of the season for Mullins, who entered Friday with an OPS of .865.
This story will be updated.
Rangers at the Orioles
Saturday, 4:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2, MLB Network
Radio: 97.9FM, 101.5FM, 1090AM