The consistent fall of rain in Baltimore perhaps offered some cover, but the first pitch of Tuesday night’s Orioles game and six others that followed made it clear: Summer has arrived early at Camden Yards.
After Chicago Cubs leadoff hitter Christopher Morel hammered Kyle Bradish’s first pitch over Oriole Park’s new left field wall to begin the night, the Orioles answered with five home runs of their own to beat Chicago, 9-3, in the first half of a two-game interleague set.
It took two pitches for Baltimore (24-33) to even the score with Cedric Mullins going deep, marking the first time an Orioles game featured both teams hitting leadoff home runs since Houston’s George Springer paired with Adam Jones in 2016. Trey Mancini sent Cubs starter Keegan Thompson’s next pitch into the bullpen in left-center, marking the first time the Orioles’ first two at-bats resulted in homers since Seth Smith and Manny Machado did it in 2017.
The Orioles broke the game open an inning later when Jorge Mateo hit a three-run home run beyond the new wall. It was Baltimore’s 11th three-run home run of the season, a total that entered the day as the most in baseball and surpassing their 2021 mark. They pushed two more runs across in the third, with Austin Hays doubling in a run then narrowly beating the throw to the plate on Ryan Mountcastle’s sacrifice fly.
The Cubs chased Bradish from the game in the fifth. The rookie right-hander took the mound having thrown 88 pitches, just three beneath his season high, but Willson Contreras sent No. 89 over the left field wall. A two-out walk ended Bradish’s night after 105 pitches, but the Orioles got that run back in emphatic fashion.
With two outs in the inning, Hays launched a 2-1 changeup from Alec Mills down the left field line, with the drive becoming only the seventh home run in Camden Yards’ 30-year history to reach the ballpark’s second deck. At a projected 464 feet, it was the fourth-longest home run at Camden Yards since Statcast began tracking in 2015, coming a foot shy of a Machado solo shot in 2017 for the longest at home by an Oriole in that time.
It was the fourth home run of the night over the deeper left field wall and seventh in six June games after there were eight in Baltimore’s first 24 home games.
For good measure, Ramón Urías homered in the sixth, making Tuesday the first time since August 2017 that five Orioles all homered in the same game. Mancini was part of both quintets.
As he’s managed his way through “some long days” in Baltimore, Brandon Hyde has often fallen back on his experience on the Cubs’ coaching staff, watching a rebuilding process unfurl and result in a championship.
Tuesday marked the first time he’s managed opposite his former team, for whom he was the first base coach on their 2016 World Series title club among what he called “seven pretty magical years there.”
He acknowledged it was a “little strange” to be managing against them, though Chicago has endured many changes since Hyde’s tenure there. Cubs manager David Ross was a catcher on the roster during Hyde’s coaching stint. Before Tuesday’s game, he chuckled thinking of a photo of he and Hyde missing on a high-five attempt after a Cubs walk-off victory.
“I think I sat next to Brandon as he stood on the steps at Wrigley every day of my tenure in Chicago when I was a player, and he’s a real old-school baseball-minded person. I think he’s got a lot of experience and I value him for his baseball opinion his. I call him for opinions, managerial opinions, people opinions, baseball opinions, spring training opinions, all the time.
“It was a special group. He’s a special man. Outside of us winning, he’s a great human being, great baseball man that I had a lot of good baseball conversations with. Learned a ton from him.”
Around the horn
>> Before the game, the Orioles reinstated infielder Chris Owings from the bereavement list, claimed right-hander Austin Voth from the Washington Nationals and designated right-hander Cody Sedlock for assignment. Voth, 29, has a 5.70 career ERA across five major league seasons and has pitched mostly in relief that past two years.
>> Adley Rutschman singled in the eighth inning to snap an 0-for-20 skid.
>> Terrin Vavra rejoined Triple-A Norfolk after rehab assignment with High-A Aberdeen, though the Tides’ game in Nashville was rained out.
This story will be updated.
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