After the Orioles' powerful lineup went without a home run on Opening Day, an announced 12,622 shivering fans were treated to their first in the third inning Wednesday night.
Chris Davis, who signed a seven-year, $161 million contract to continue to treat Camden Yards as a launching pad, hit his first long ball of the season to back newly signed veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Gallardo made his Orioles debut and gave up just two hits over five innings to get the decision. He threw 89 pitches — 52 of them for strikes — and struck out four before giving way to a parade of effective Orioles relievers. He might have gone longer, but he got off to a late start in spring training and the Orioles had a fresh bullpen after Tuesday's day off.
The Orioles supported him with single runs in four of the five innings he was in the game.
On top of Davis' homer both Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters delivered RBI doubles.
Closer Zach Britton, who got the win in the season opener, came on to pitch a scoreless ninth and get his first save. He allowed a leadoff double in the ninth, but sandwiched three strikeouts around a walk and stranded Eduardo Escobar on third.
The Orioles will have a chance to sweep the season-opening series Thursday when Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound against Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes, but rain showers are expected throughout the day.
The song remains the same
Obviously, manager Buck Showalter is a proponent of the theory that if it ain’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it. He posted the exact same offensive lineup for Wednesday’s game as the one that carried the Orioles to Monday’s walk-off victory. Manny Machado was back in the leadoff spot and Rule 5 draftee Joey Rickard hit ninth against Kyle Gibson, the second of three straight right-handed starters scheduled to take the mound for the Twins.
Davis was denied what seemed destined to be his first homer of the season Monday evening because of the chilly temperature, moist air and left-to-right breeze, but he went back to the same part of the park Wednesday and cleared the center-field fence to give the Orioles the lead in the third inning. Davis beat out an infield single in the first inning and has reached base multiple times in each of the first two games.
Upon further review
Twins manager Paul Molitor called for the first video review of the season at Camden Yards in the fourth inning, hoping to negate J.J. Hardy’s leadoff double after it appeared that he might have come off the bag while second baseman Brian Dozier still had the tag applied. The replay officials in New York didn’t see it that way and Hardy stayed put.
Rickard still rolling
Rickard hit safely in his first two at-bats on Opening Day and got his third hit of the young season with Schoop on second base in the second inning. The only problem was that he hit the ball too hard, lining it so sharply to right field that third base coach Bobby Dickerson had to hold Schoop at third. Rickard would go on to register his first major league RBI with a lineout to left that brought home the third Orioles run. He delivered his second single of the game in his final at-bat.