NEW YORK — Since struggling in his Opening Day start at Yankee Stadium, Orioles right-hander Andrew Cashner has generally been a much more formidable pitcher.
Back in the Bronx ballpark for the first time since that first start, Cashner’s strong six innings weren’t enough to outduel Domingo Germán in a 3-1 defeat in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
But by continuing his run of success, Cashner further established himself as a worthwhile potential trade piece for the Orioles as contenders become desperate for starting pitching.
With six innings of two-run ball Wednesday, Cashner has a 3.25 ERA in eight starts since Opening Day, going at least five innings in all but one start and at least six innings in four starts.
Cashner regularly flexed high velocity in the first couple of frames, with his fastball exceeding 96 mph on occasion. He finished the outing with an average four-seamer velocity of 94.5 mph, his highest in a start this season.
He didn’t allow a hit the first time through New York’s lineup.
But after falling behind 3-1 in the count to the first batter he faced in the fourth, Cashner allowed a solo home run to Gleyber Torres, the Yankees shortstop’s third of the doubleheader. In 18 career games against the Orioles, Torres has nine home runs.
In the first game, Orioles right-hander David Hess was tagged for four long balls, including two from Torres in a 5-3 loss.
Hess has allowed 14 home runs this season, the most in the major leagues. As a staff, the Orioles have allowed an MLB-high 89.
“They were just pitches that didn’t have enough bite, and obviously, clearly went over the fence, so we just need to not do that, period,” catcher Austin Wynns said. “There’s too many home runs. It’s embarrassing. We have to put an end to that.
Manager Brandon Hyde took no solace in the home runs being of the solo variety.
“They’re still homers,” Hyde said.
Torres’s second home run of Game 1 came on a slider below the zone, one Hess watched afterward on video and figured would’ve bounced if Torres hadn’t hit it. With an exit velocity of 93.5 mph, it was New York’s softest-hit home run of the season and the softest the Orioles have allowed.
“That’s one that kind of leaves you confused to what exactly you’re doing and what’s going on,” Hess said. “He’s a good hitter. Obviously that pitch wasn’t good enough to get him out, so we’ll have to figure out something else.”
Since a solid outing in his season debut, Hess has a 7.03 ERA in seven starts, with the Orioles going 1-6 in those outings.