The Orioles have been on pace for months to shatter the major league record for home runs allowed in a single season, so the third-inning homer that Asher Wojciechowski gave up to Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Austin Meadows — the 259th surrendered by the O’s pitching staff — was largely a formality.
Or, at least, it would have been if a severe thunderstorm had not put the first 4 1/2 innings in limbo for more than two hours. Since the game had not lasted long enough to be either official or suspended, the record-breaking home run and an additional homer by Rays shortstop Willy Adames would have been wiped out of the record book if the game had not been resumed.
After the teams returned to the field and the game became official, the Rays broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the sixth inning and went on to win the series opener, 5-2, before what was left of a dampened announced crowd of 8,153.
The Orioles had tied the record about 24 hours earlier when Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield hit No. 258 off right-hander Aaron Brooks in the third inning Wednesday night.
Manager Brandon Hyde took that one in stride, and why not? The Orioles won their second game in a row and the nightly meteor shower that has been visited on the them this year has long since ceased to surprise anyone. The record has not been in doubt for quite some time and the Orioles still have 34 games left to play.
At the rate they are giving up homers, they would end the season with a total of 329.
“We’re all tired of seeing them,” Hyde said Wednesday night, “and hopefully we can get better going forward.”
When the record finally was broken on Thursday night, he didn’t have much more to add.
"I’m a broken record when it comes to our homers. given up,'' he said. “I don’t know what to say except we’ve got a lot of work to do with our pitchers. To be able to compete in this division and in the big leagues, you’re going to have to keep the ball in the ballpark and we’ve had a tough time doing that this year.”