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Orioles hurt by long ball in Machado’s return

@JoeTrezz
June 25, 2019

BALTIMORE -- By welcoming Adley Rutschman and officially inking second-round pick Gunnar Henderson over the span of a few hours, the Orioles spent Tuesday investing heavily in their future. By hosting Manny Machado back at Camden Yards for the first time, they did so while acknowledging their past. The present?

BALTIMORE -- By welcoming Adley Rutschman and officially inking second-round pick Gunnar Henderson over the span of a few hours, the Orioles spent Tuesday investing heavily in their future. By hosting Manny Machado back at Camden Yards for the first time, they did so while acknowledging their past.

The present? That remains a work in progress.

A day defined by hope and nostalgia ended sourly on the field for the Orioles, who, fresh off a trying West Coast road trip, returned home to 21,644 fans and dropped the opener of their two-game Interleague series to the Padres, 8-3.

The highlights came from Machado, who received a rousing ovation from the home crowd before homering, driving in two and reaching base three times in his first game back in Baltimore.

Box score

"That was a really nice ovation for him,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It was well deserved for a great player and incredibly talented, someone who has done a lot here and played a lot of big games here, so I thought that was pretty cool."

But the final outcome came largely via more mundane issues, some that have saddled the Orioles for months: defensive lapses, baserunning mistakes and an alarming inability to keep the ball in the yard.

Baltimore allowed three other home runs on top of Machado’s 455-foot solo shot in the third, with Fernando Tatis Jr. uncorking a two-run homer against losing pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis, and Manuel Margot and Francisco Pena homering off Josh Rogers. Paired to begin a bullpen day for the second time in a week, Yacabonis and Rogers allowed eight runs over the game’s first five innings.

That put the contest largely out of reach, despite four hits from Hanser Alberto and the first opposite-field home run of Richie Martin’s career.

As it has done often in recent weeks, Baltimore jumped ahead with a first-inning run when Trey Mancini’s RBI single drove home Alberto in the first. But down four runs two innings later, the Orioles squandered their best chance to claw back in it when Dwight Smith Jr. was tagged out overrunning the third-base bag following a run-scoring double.

Besides Martin’s solo homer in the seventh, the Orioles went quietly the rest of the way against three Padres relievers and game-winner Logan Allen, who struck out five batters over six innings.

“I always say it’s about opportunity, and I’m getting an opportunity to play every day,” said Alberto, a career journeyman who qualified for the batting title Tuesday and is now hitting .318, fourth best in the American League. “Obviously we get a loss, but you’ve got to turn the page and be ready for tomorrow.”

It was, in the aggregate, a showcase of two teams on opposite poles of the rebuilding spectrum. The Orioles hope Rutschman and Henderson are the start of the talent pipeline that one day rivals the Padres' farm. San Diego has stockpiled prospects like Allen, Tatis and others before signing Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract this offseason. The Padres are a game below .500 after Tuesday, but are still playing their best baseball in years.

The Orioles were pushing for their first postseason appearance in 15 years when Machado debuted in 2012; they dealt the four-time All-Star for a package of prospects when their competitive window slammed shut last summer, and now find themselves rebuilding from the ground up.

“This is a place I called home for a long time,” Machado said. “I've got to try to win. I've got to try to take my young team that we have here to the playoffs, hopefully like we did here in Baltimore.”

Roster move
The Orioles made a minor but intriguing roster move prior to Tuesday’s game, claiming right-hander Tayler Scott off waivers from the Mariners and designating Sean Gilmartin for assignment. Gilmartin took the loss by allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings in his lone start of the season on Friday night in Seattle.

A day earlier, the Orioles found themselves hitting against Scott, whom the Mariners began using to open games earlier this month. Scott couldn’t get out of the first inning that night, issuing three walks and allowing two runs in what proved to be his final appearance with Seattle.

A 27-year-old rookie, Scott is the first pitcher from South Africa to appear in the Majors. He is 40-36 with a 3.95 ERA in nine Minor League seasons.

Scott was immediately optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.