The Texas Rangers are having a lot of fun at the Orioles’ expense this weekend, and rookie David Hess got the brunt of it Friday night.
Hess pitched well for three innings, but the Rangers erupted for seven runs in the fourth and clubbed the Orioles, 11-3, before an announced crowd of 22,544 at Globe Life Park.
Six of the runs in that inning were charged to Hess (2-6), who hit Adrián Beltré with a pitch to lead off the inning and immediately gave up back-to-back home runs to Joey Gallo and Robinson Chirinos. He left with the bases loaded and reliever Donnie Hart came on to allow a grand slam to Rougned Odor that gave the Rangers (48-63) an 8-0 lead.
“More than anything, the way that inning started, I think Beltré getting hit by a pitch kind of gave them a little bit of fire,” Hess said. “Then I just left two balls over the middle of the plate and they didn’t miss them.”
So, Hess’ wild ride at the major league level continues. He was charged with five earned runs (seven overall) over just 3 1/3 innings, which inflated his ERA to 6.41.
He delivered four quality starts in his first five major league games to earn a regular place in the rotation, but gave up five earned runs or more in each of his next four starts to pitch himself out of the rotation. He made just two appearances in July, both in relief, before getting the chance to start again Friday.
“I think the book’s out there a little bit,” Hess said, “so they’re starting to make adjustments. That just means the execution of everything has to be a little bit better.”
It wasn’t pretty, especially coming on the heels of Thursday night’s ugly 17-8 defeat, but there were some positive rebuilding moments.
Rookie Evan Phillips, who came over in the deal that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves, made his Orioles debut and pitched two perfect innings, throwing just 25 pitches and striking out three. He was followed to the mound by Cody Carroll, who pitched a perfect seventh inning in his second appearance in an Orioles uniform.
“Evan had a real tough day,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He takes a bus to Gwinnett (Ga.) last night and then gets up this morning to take a flight and that gets canceled and he gets on another flight and gets here. Luckily, he had three days off and gave us two innings. … Carroll presented himself well again. That’s encouraging.”
The Orioles (33-77) also enjoyed another multi-hit performance from new second baseman Jonathan Villar, who had three hits, drove in his first run as an Oriole and is now 5-for-10 in two games batting leadoff.
The Orioles also turned in their third straight double-digit hits total and sixth in seven games to again try to chip away at a big early deficit. They scored twice in the fifth inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Villar and Tim Beckham, then added another run in the sixth on a leadoff single by Mark Trumbo and a long double by Chris Davis.
The Rangers were not done. They caught Mike Wright Jr. on a bad night and scored three times in the eighth inning. Wright had been pitching well, giving up just one run and four hits over his previous six appearances.