HR bug continues to hinder Orioles' progress

August 12th, 2019

NEW YORK -- The Orioles’ season-long struggles limiting the long ball turned historic again Monday afternoon, with the club setting a new American League single-season record by allowing four more home runs in its 8-5 loss in Game 1 of a separate-admission doubleheader against the Yankees. It was Baltimore’s 13th consecutive defeat to New York.

surrendered a three-run homer to Didi Gregorius and a solo shot to Gleyber Torres in the first inning to break the old record of 242, shared by the 2017 Orioles and White Sox. Gio Urshela and Cameron Maybin homered off Ynoa later to swell Baltimore’s total to 245 on the year. That puts the O’s 13 shy of the all-time single-season record held by the 2016 Reds.

“The long ball beat us again today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just can’t give up so many home runs. Can’t recover offensively.”

Baltimore used homers for the bulk of its output as well, namely solo shots from and . Mancini sliced his over the short right-field porch in the third inning, his 28th of the year and 21st to either straightaway center or the opposite field. That leads all Major League right-handed hitters. Mancini's latest came on a 96.6-mph fastball from winning pitcher James Paxton that, at 4.17 feet off the ground, was the highest pitch hit for a home run in MLB this season.

Santander’s solo shot off Paxton in the sixth continued an impressive stretch for the young outfielder, who is now hitting .310 with 10 homers and an .869 OPS through 57 games.

“I think the biggest difference is the experience,” said Santander, whose first career homer came at Yankee Stadium last April. “I have a better understanding of what pitchers are trying to do against me. Also, playing regularly helps.”

The homers from Santander and Mancini both came on an 0-2 count. Paxton had allowed only two such homers over 122 career starts prior to Monday. The O's scratched two runs off Luis Cessa after Paxton exited, but they had their bases-loaded eighth-inning rally snuffed out by old friend Zack Britton. Urshela also added an RBI double off Ynoa, who matched a career high by allowing seven earned runs.

“As a pitcher, you want to get those guys out; you think about how to attack them,” Ynoa said. “Unfortunately, they really don’t miss any mistakes. So, it’s a challenge.”

All told, it was the latest iteration of a series defined by baseballs leaving the ballpark at never-before-seen rates. The Yankees have now hit 56 against the Orioles this season, extending their own single-season record for one team against one opponent. Torres’ opposite-field blast was his 11th homer in 15 games against the O's this year, tying Aaron Judge (2017) for the most hit against Baltimore in a single season. 

“They’ve made us pay for it all year when we miss location,” Hyde said.