Any frustration the visiting Boston Red Sox had about getting thumped by the Orioles in Friday’s series opener was paid back with interest Saturday night, as the hosts allowed five home runs in a 17-6 loss before an announced 21,339 at muggy Camden Yards.
Rookie right-hander Tom Eshelman held his own in his first two starts with the Orioles (30-66), but had things unravel in his third try.
After a scoreless first inning, Eshelman surrendered single, walk, run-scoring single, then allowed a three-run home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. to send the Orioles to an early 4-0 deficit. Rafael Devers homered in the third inning to make it 5-0, only for the Orioles to storm back and tie with a five-run third powered by a towering three-run home run by Renato Núñez.
But a fourth-inning throwing error by Richie Martin meant doom for Eshelman and the Orioles. Mookie Betts hit a home run after what would have been the third out of the inning, and Eshelman left two runners on for Jimmy Yacabonis, who allowed both of those to score and four of his own in an eight-run inning.
“That’s a good lineup, and it just looked like Tom — they fouled off a ton of pitches, and hit some mistakes,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “And he just had a tough time navigating that lineup. I thought Yac just didn’t have the same stuff as last night, when it was electric. We were hoping he could give us a little bit of length and it just didn’t happen. Just one of those really bad nights. Last night, his stuff was great. Tonight, it just looked a flat. I don’t know if he was tired or what.”
Eshelman was charged with nine runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 6.91. Yacabonis ultimately retired just the one batter while allowing seven earned runs, though left-hander Tanner Scott's three shutout innings were encouraging.
“It’s tough,” Eshelman said. “You’ve got a guy in here who was a double shy of the cycle, and for that not to be the headline is tough for me. The offense did a phenomenal job tonight, and for me not to get into the dugout quicker and keep going is kind of frustrating on my end of things. I’ve just kind of got to learn from what I’m doing and go forward an understand what I can do better.”
Saturday was the fourth time this season the Orioles have allowed 15 runs or more at home, and fifth time overall.
Santander strikes again
For the second straight game, outfielder Anthony Santander showed his power with a big home run, though Saturday’s was mostly consolation as it cut their deficit to 16-6 at the time.
Santander hit Eutaw Street for the second time this season — he was also responsible for the 100th Eutaw Street home run in the ballpark’s history on June 28 — as part of his first career four-hit game, and ended a double shy of the cycle.
The 24-year-old outfielder is batting 12-for-31 (.387) with seven RBIs on the homestand.
Núñez touches sky
On the one-year anniversary of his joining the Orioles, Núñez hit his 22nd home run of the season in unprecedented fashion.
With a launch-angle of 48 degrees, according to MLB Statcast data, Núñez's home run was one of the highest since the league began tracking such data in 2015. It went 169 feet high, and barely made it over the left-field fence at 364 feet.
Breeze on bump
For the second time this homestand, the Orioles had to turn to do-it-all utility man Stevie Wilkerson to pitch in mop-up relief, this time for two innings.
Wilkerson, who had a scoreless ninth inning on July 12 against the Tampa Bay Rays, retired the Red Sox on 11 pitches in the eighth inning but allowed a home run to Sandy Leon to spoil his shutout streak.
Wilkerson didn’t throw any of his 20 pitches over 60 mph, and ended the day with a strikeout of Andrew Benintendi.