BALTIMORE — John Means’s previous outing before he held the behemoth Los Angeles Dodgers to two runs on four hits and pitched into the seventh inning in a 7-3 Baltimore Orioles win Wednesday night at Camden Yards was similarly strong, but he unraveled late.
So Means said after that game that finishing his starts well was what was going to allow the rookie left-hander and Baltimore’s lone all-star to win over the coaching staff.
It didn’t hurt that Jonathan Villar’s seventh-inning home run — a three-run shot that put the Orioles ahead to stay — was noteworthy in more than just the fact that it put the Orioles in position for their first win in more than a week. It also made major league history.
In an unprecedented season for home runs across baseball, Villar’s 443-foot blast off left-hander Caleb Ferguson was the 6,106th home run in the majors this season, breaking a record set in 2017.
It seems where home runs are concerned, the Orioles are always in the thick of them. En route to their major league record 280 home runs allowed (and counting), the Orioles also allowed the most home runs in a season before May 1.
In a season in which the Orioles’ pitching staff often has left Manager Brandon Hyde in the dugout looking like a man who really hoped his car would start but isn’t surprised it didn’t, Means has little to be worried about.
If anyone on this team has won over the coaching staff in Year 1 of what will assuredly be a long rebuild, it’s the self-starting left-hander who spent the offseason refashioning himself into a major league pitcher and almost all of this season proving himself to be a good one.
Just look at Wednesday’s effort, which combined with home runs by Villar and Pedro Severino ended the Orioles’ six-game losing streak and helped the club match their 2018 win total at 47-98.
— Baltimore Sun