BALTIMORE -- Camden Yards has long held the reputation as a hitter-friendly yard. But the way the ball is flying out of the park these days is something else entirely.
The Orioles and Twins set a Major League record by combining to hit 17 home runs over the course of Saturday’s head-spinning doubleheader, breaking the previous mark of 15 set by the Cubs and Milwaukee Braves on May 30, 1956. The Orioles alone surpassed another MLB record by surrendering three round-trippers in its 6-5 loss in Game 1, and eight more in a 16-7 defeat in Game 2, when Alex Cobb endured one of the worst starts of his career.
All told, the long balls swelled Baltimore’s total to 57 allowed over their first 22 games, by far the most in baseball history.
“I’ve never seen home runs given up like we do,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s something we just obviously have to improve on.”
The next closest team this season is the Brewers, who have allowed 38 round-trippers. The Orioles have eclipsed that number just at home, having surrendered a whopping 39 in nine games and 86 runs overall in 81 innings at Camden Yards this season. They are 1-7 in those contests.
“It seems like every game is home run derby for us right now,” said Cobb. “The ball is the same for every team, so we’re going to have to find a way to slow that rate down.”
Returning from the injured list after missing two weeks to a lumbar strain, Cobb was tagged for nine earned runs over 2 2/3 innings, five via home runs from Nelson Cruz, CJ Cron and Eddie Rosario. Mitch Garver (twice), Jonathan Schoop (twice) and Cruz also went deep later in the game for Minnesota. Back in Baltimore for the first time as a visiting player, Schoop hit his second off former teammate Chris Davis, who made his second career appearance on the mound in the nightcap.
Rosario (twice) and Willians Astudillo also homered off Dan Straily in Game 1, which the Orioles left one home run behind the 1994 Tigers’ all time mark of 50 allowed before the end of April. Cruz’s two-run homer off Cobb in the first inning of Game 2 tied that mark, and Cron surpassed it with a solo shot two batters later. After Garver connected for a three-run tater off Mike Wright in the third, Minnesota held a 10-0 lead.
The Orioles have nine games remaining this month, including four more against the Twins.
“You can tell it’s everybody being about the launch,” said Renato Núñez, who paced the Orioles’ attack with three home runs on the day, including two in Game 2.
For Cobb, the nine earned runs matched a career high, previously set June 6 against Toronto. After admitting this week he wasn’t fully relieved of the back spasms that sent him to the IL on April 6, Cobb downplayed concerns over his health, saying “the back is fine.” The righty also missed his first start due to a groin strain.
“Just looked rusty to me,” said Hyde. “Made a few mistakes that they hit hard and just didn’t last very long.”
The Orioles offense was similarly fueled by the long ball. Nunez’s multi-homer game was the first of his career, and he capped his banner day with a 397-foot blast off Fernando Romero. Hanser Alberto added his first career homer in Game 2 off starter Martin Perez, and Nunez and Dwight Smith Jr. became the first Orioles to go back to back this season when they did so off Jose Berrios in the opener. Pedro Severino also went deep off Berrios.
Twenty-five of the 34 combined runs in the twin bill, necessitated by Friday’s rainout, came via home runs.