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Orioles rookie Zac Lowther’s first start spoiled in 11-6 loss to Red Sox; Pat Valaika pitches ninth

Zac Lowther was never the hardest-throwing Orioles pitching prospect leading up to his first major league start Saturday, though he may well work the quickest.

That could ultimately be what he remembers from Saturday’s debut as a big league starter: one that quickly got away from him.

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In the Orioles’ 11-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox before an announced sellout crowd of 10,598 at Camden Yards, the visiting bats took advantage of the young strike thrower and made it a far less memorable day than he’d hoped.

“When I was missing, I was missing over the plate and to a good lineup like that you’re going to get hurt,” Lowther said.

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Lowther, the Orioles’ No. 19 prospect according to Baseball America, struck out the first batter he faced in a scoreless first inning, and the last batter he faced in the third. In between, he was handed a four-run second inning that featured a two-run home run by Michael Chavis. He allowed seven runs on seven hits with a pair of walks in 2 1/3 innings, with the last two runs scoring after he left on a single off reliever Shawn Armstrong.

After appearing in relief for his debut in the team’s last homestand, Lowther said there were no nerves this time around. He feels confident he can build off the positives on this one, even with the lopsided results.

“I made a lot of good pitches — maybe not when I needed to, but I’m going to take the good from this and kind of just dump the bad,” Lowther said. “You cant always learn from that stuff, but I know what I need to do to get better, so just being able to work on that in between outings is something I’m going to take forward.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said: “We stay positive with these guys. It’s not easy. That’s a good team. That’s a good lineup and they came in with a really good approach and a good plan off him and they executed. A majority of their hits were up the middle, the other way. They took what they were given. he just had a rough time getting through that second inning.”

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Later, Armstrong allowed two runs of his own, and after a scoreless inning from Travis Lakins Sr. in the fifth, Tyler Wells allowed a two-run home run to Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning.

Early lead

Though short-lived, the Orioles took the lead in the first inning when leadoff man Cedric Mullins singled, stole second and scored on a single by DJ Stewart.

Freddy Galvis’ fourth home run of the season came in the second inning to make it 4-2, while Trey Mancini and Ramón Urías had an RBI double and RBI single, respectively, in the Orioles’ sixth inning.

Garrett Richards pitched seven strong for Boston, but his successor, Austin Brice, struggled. Brice hit three Orioles and allowed a two-run single to Austin Hays in the ninth. Hays was the only Oriole with a multi-hit game, and is batting .323 in May.

Pat the pitcher

Infielder Pat Valaika came off the bench to pitch the ninth inning for the Orioles, lobbing the ball in the mid-60s and recording a scoreless, five-pitch inning. It would have been a three-pitch, three-out appearance had Urías not made an error on a leadoff ground ball at shortstop.

Valaika was the first Orioles position player to pitch since Bryan Holaday did on Aug. 14, 2020 against the Nationals.

Hyde said after the game that with Triple-A Norfolk in Jacksonville, making a move to add pitching ahead of Sunday’s matinee may be difficult.

Brandon Waddell claimed off waivers

Ahead of Saturday’s game, the Orioles claimed left-hander Brandon Waddell off waivers from the Minnesota Twins and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk while designating right-hander Jay Flaa for assignment.

Waddell, 26, is a University of Virginia product who debuted in 2020 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has struggled so far in 2021, allowing six runs (five earned) in four innings before the Twins took him off the roster this week.

He was mostly a starter in the minors with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.393.

RED SOX@ORIOLES

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: MASN Radio: 105.7 FM

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