Baltimore Orioles

Orioles rout Blue Jays, 12-5, in Josh Rogers' major league debut

Rookie Josh Rogers woke up sick with nerves ahead of his major league debut Tuesday, a feeling only relieved by the simple fact that he’s done this before — and by the second straight outburst from the Orioles offense, helping him to a 12-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards.

Rogers, a 24-year-old left-hander who became the fifth player to appear and first to start in the major leagues out of the 15 the team acquired in a slew of July trades, allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings to earn his first major league win and help the Orioles take a second straight game from the visitors from Toronto. It marks the Orioles’ first series victory in their past eight attempts.


“I thought he handled all that pretty well, you know?” manager Buck Showalter said. “I think probably his most comfortable time was getting out there and pitching. You can tell he’s a guy who likes to pitch. … But he commanded the fastball pretty well. It’s a good start for him. He got a win.”

Said Rogers: “I couldn’t have drawn it up any better. Got some good run support early, and pitching with run support makes it a heck of a lot easier, especially in a debut like that.”


Big nights at the plate from Trey Mancini, Adam Jones and Chris Davis made it a simple night for the Orioles. Even in a lean year like this one, there’s not a lot remarkable about that. Seeing a debut like Rogers’ is the type of evening that they’ll be hoping to see more of.

Rogers, acquired in a four-player deal with the New York Yankees that also brought in former top pick Dillon Tate and reliever Cody Carroll, had a 2.08 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Norfolk before being summoned for his debut Tuesday.

He arrived in Baltimore on Monday night and assured manager Buck Showalter he’d show up early, because that’s how he typically operates. He was out strolling around right field in full uniform long before a starter typically heads to the bullpen to prepare — and it took until then for Rogers to settle into the day’s responsibilities.

“I can’t even lie, I woke up sick this morning,” Rogers said. “I was pretty nervous all day. I got to go to lunch with my family — my grandparents, dad, mom, sister, girlfriend. It was really good to kind of get away from it a little bit, stop thinking about it. ... But really, when I started playing catch in the outfield, everything just kind of settled in and it didn’t feel like another night, but it was just about trying to throw strikes.”

When the time came for his first major league pitch, Rogers was ready. He ran the count full to Toronto’s first two batters, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Devon Travis, before retiring them, and was out of the inning on 13 pitches. His first major league strikeout came in the second inning, when Kevin Pillar watched a 90 mph fastball nick the inside corner after Randal Grichuk led off the inning with a single.

Rogers only ran into trouble once the lineup turned over for a second time and Toronto had gotten a look at him. Travis and Justin Smoak singled to open the fourth inning, with Travis scoring on a one-out single by Pillar. Replay reversed what would have been an inning-ending double play, and after a two-out walk, Rogers struck out Aledmys Díaz to leave the bases loaded.

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“That’s a tough one,” Showalter said. “[Pitching coach Roger McDowell] was talking about it to me in the dugout, what a momentum swing that is for any pitcher, especially him. He made this double-play ball and we don’t quite turn it, and all of a sudden you’re back there, and it tests your mettle. It will. He handled it well. [Catcher] Caleb [Joseph] was saying that’s the best slider he threw all night.”

Smoak homered on a center-cut fastball with two outs in the fifth inning, and Rogers required a visit from McDowell after Grichuck followed it up with a single, but he quickly retired Pillar to finish his day and soaked in a pleasant ovation from the announced 11,762 in attendance on his way off the mound.


Rogers was as-advertised based on reports from before the Britton trade and since. His fastball averaged 92 mph in the first inning, but settled back into the 88-91 mph range later in the game. He got a pair of swinging strikes on his slider, which is his best secondary pitch, while mixing in a changeup as well.

He was able to pitch relatively comfortably the whole game because, on a team that’s in many places as green as the batter’s eye, the three stalwarts in the middle of their lineup produced in a significant way early.

Mancini doubled and scored on a single by Davis with two outs in the first, and once the heart of the order came around again, the Orioles broke the game open. Mancini tripled off the top of the center-field wall and scored on a single by Adam Jones. Jones and Davis, who singled again, each scored on a home run by Tim Beckham that made it 5-0.

Craig Gentry hit a two-run home run in the fourth, while Jonathan Villar and Gentry added run-scoring singles in the fifth. They rounded out the scoring with a sacrifice fly by Mancini and a two-run double by Davis in the eighth inning.

Four of the Orioles’ top five hitters — Villar, Gentry, Jones and Davis — had at least three hits. Jones’ four hits matched a career high.