Baltimore Orioles: DJ Stewart’s first homer leads Birds over Toronto
The Baltimore Orioles snapped a two-game losing streak with last night’s victory over Toronto. I’ve mentioned how the O’s have struggled against their AL East foes over time, however at the very least they finished strong against them. Jimmy Yacabonis got the start, and while he didn’t qualify for the win, set the Orioles up nicely. Yacabonis’ line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.
Part of rebuilding is getting a look at the future. And while it’s been rough-going for sure, there are parts of the future that look bright. DJ Stewart gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the third inning with a solo home run. It was Stewart’s first career homer, which is always special to see.
Toronto threatened in the fourth with the bases loaded and nobody out. However Yacabonis pitched out of it, helped out by Adam Jones nailing a runner at the plate. It was his first assist from right field, and it certainly impressed manager Buck Showalter (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Adam, I was talking to him in the dugout. You’re so used to throwing from a certain angle, getting used to that. You’re taught as a cutoff guy, if the ball ever goes toward the first base dugout, you cut it. I’m talking about a step or two, because the catcher never vacates to the right and then gets an out. You can vacate a little bit to the left toward the runner. We teach it that way anyway. If it comes from center or right. Anytime the throw takes the cutoff man to the right, you’ve got to cut it.
So, I said, ‘How was that angle, how did that feel?’ He said, That’s really the first one I’ve really had other than practice.’ But I thought Austin made a really good play, too. To say, ‘I’ve got to catch it and then see if I can beat him to the plate.’ It was a huge play.
The Orioles’ 1-0 lead stood up until the seventh when they got an insurance run on Cedric Mullins‘ RBI-single. Again, the O’s are getting a look at the future with Mullins in the lineup. He’s shown a lot of promise to this point, which is good to see. McKinney’s solo homer in the eighth for Toronto would cut the lead to 2-1, however the O’s would close the game out and conclude the 2018 season against their rivals with a victory. Too little too late for sure, but the games still count.