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Severino hits three of O's 5 HRs vs. Rangers

@alysonfooter
June 5, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Given the bizarre nature of the final inning of Tuesday's game between the Orioles and Rangers, it's only fitting that it ended with the catcher having to scamper after a wild pitch at the backstop and make a desperate throw to first base to finally end the near-debacle.

ARLINGTON -- Given the bizarre nature of the final inning of Tuesday's game between the Orioles and Rangers, it's only fitting that it ended with the catcher having to scamper after a wild pitch at the backstop and make a desperate throw to first base to finally end the near-debacle.

The Orioles won this one, 12-11, but the game wasn't nearly that close for the first eight innings.

The Orioles jumped to a quick four-run lead in the first inning, powered by Dwight Smith Jr.’s three-run homer and Pedro Severino's solo shot -- the first of three he’d hit on the night -- immediately after. But while Smith's first at-bat gave the Orioles a comfortable lead, his fourth-inning contribution -- a bases-clearing double -- essentially put the game out of reach while bringing his RBI total to a career-high six.

Smith said that of the two hits, he favored the homer, because it allowed the Orioles to jump out to an early lead, which can provide a big emotional boost as the game progresses.

"We can be aggressive in every aspect of our game, which is what we want to do," Smith said. "Control the tempo for the whole game. It almost got out of hand in the last inning, but luckily we held on."

Though the postgame scene in the clubhouse was pretty normal for a win -- music blared and players joked with one another before scurrying out to catch the team bus -- no one pretended that this win wasn't stressful.

Especially given the conclusion.

"I said, 'Oh man,'" Severino said. "I felt really bad, because I was just thinking in my mind, it's my fault if we lost that game right there."

Not really. That distinction would have gone to a couple of relievers who could not stop the Rangers' momentum as they piled on hit after hit, run after run. A 12-5 advantage became 12-11, quickly. And then came the crazy pitch.

With two outs and Shin-Soo Choo on second base, Mychal Givens was successful in getting Elvis Andrus to chase a pitch in the dirt for strike three. But the ball skidded away from Severino, forcing the catcher to make a mad dash to the wall to retrieve the ball.

Severino made a laser throw to Chris Davis at first, beating Andrus by a step.

Game over.

"It's a 'W' in the big leagues," manager Brandon Hyde said. "It counts."

But there was some frustration on Hyde’s part. He is realistic about what the Orioles have to work with this year. He understands how the roster was comprised and that this is only the beginning of what will be a long rebuild for the Orioles.

But he would like to see progress, especially from the relievers when they're given opportunities to put games away. That didn't happen on Tuesday. Instead of conserving the bullpen after a strong outing from Dylan Bundy and the offensive breakout, the Orioles used six pitchers to close out this win.

Josh Lucas walked two and yielded three runs (two earned) in the ninth, and Richard Bleier was no more effective, allowing three runs on four hits while recording one out.

"So many of these guys have been in other organizations -- designated, waived, traded for international money," Hyde said. "And you want to see them take the ball and prove that they're ready to pitch in the big leagues and have a big league career. Nights like this, you just want to see them do well. We just don't have a ton of experience with it."

Before all of the drama, the spotlight was planted firmly on two hitters, both of whom enjoyed career nights.

Smith's six RBIs were the most by an Orioles hitter since Manny Machado drove in six last May 11 against Tampa Bay.

Severino added a two-run shot in the seventh and a solo shot in the ninth for his first career three-homer game and the first by an Orioles catcher. All three long balls were no-doubters -- the first one traveled an estimated 414 feet; the second, 421 feet; and the third, 429 feet, all per Statcast.

"I don't want to say I don't have power -- I have power," Severino said. "When I used to be a young guy, I tried to hit every ball out. Now I stay through the middle and just try to get a base hit, and the homers are coming."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.