Aaron Judge’s second ball to left-center field went even farther than his first ball, almost completely clearing the bullpen en route to the statue plaza at Camden Yards, before a The ricochet sent it back toward the celebrating New York Yankees relievers.
They were nearly identical swings, both home runs by Judge of Orioles right-hander Tyler Wells. His three-run shot came in the first inning, when he jumped on a fastball and sent it 436 feet at 108.6 mph. The second was a solo shot, which left the Orioles in a hole and pumped up the pro-Yankees crowd.
The second blast, against a changeup in the strike zone, sailed off Judge’s bat at 113.5 mph and traveled 465 feet, making it the fourth-longest homer at Camden Yards since the stat cast in 2015. I started tracking. And as Judge, Wells and the rest of the announced 28,468 spectators craned their necks to follow the titanic shot throughout the night, the Yankees were on their way to a 7-6 victory to open the second half of the season.
It wasn’t the norm, however, with Anthony Santander’s three-run homer in the seventh. Santander’s leisurely stroll around the bases after his 16th homer of the season showed that when the first half of the season ended, the mentality that carried Baltimore through it never left.
But it was not enough. The loss begins a seven-day streak for the Orioles that matters on several fronts, most notably playing Baltimore (46-47) below .500 once again. With six more games against American League East opponents — two against New York and four against the Tampa Bay Rays — Baltimore’s record could decide what Kors executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said at the Aug. 2 trade. Will act before the last date.
The Orioles were on a run before the All-Star break, including a 10-game winning streak that lifted them above .500 at the end of the season for the first time since 2017. The break, and another loss on Friday, teased Baltimore.
There is still time to return to form. A flurry of wins over the next six games would go a long way toward proving that this team has earned a chance to compete for a wild-card spot rather than facing a veteran selloff. However, the first of those pivotal contests took a turn in the third inning.
With a 1-2 count against Joey Gallo — who had a .162 batting average — Wells couldn’t see his pitches. He walked Gallo with two outs, then gave up a single. The walk proved costly, putting Judge in scoring position for a three-run blast.
Doubles by Josh Donaldson and Jose Trevino plated another run before Judge’s fifth-inning homer, as Wells allowed five runs on five hits in five innings – a streak of 17 starts with three runs or less. is an Orioles record. A solo homer from Gallo and an RBI single from Isiah Kiner-Falefa
Baltimore answered that first Judge homer with two runs in the bottom of the third, as Jorge Mateo’s double scored Ramón Urías and Cedric Mullins’ single scored Mateo, all with no outs. But with the bases loaded, Austin Hayes struck out. A Urias groundout in the sixth scratched in another run.
Santander’s blast turned it into a game once again, even if Baltimore couldn’t quite get over the hump with Judge’s league-leading 35th and 36th long balls of the campaign.
An early evacuation of the hall is planned.
Momentary speculation about another injury for the highly-rated pitching prospect nearing his big league debut was put to rest Friday night when the Orioles announced plans to pitch one inning from left-hander DL Hall. was made
Hall, who Baseball America ranks as Baltimore’s third-best prospect, gave up his start for Triple-A Norfolk after allowing one run on two hits in his one inning. He dismissed two more batsmen, taking his total to 42 in his last five appearances.
Concerns about Hall’s early absence stemmed from the departure of right-hander Grayson Rodriguez earlier this season when he earned a promotion to the majors. Rodriguez initially felt shoulder discomfort appear, but what was eventually diagnosed as a lat muscle strain has sidelined Baltimore’s top prospect since early June.
Hall appears to be ready for the majors. The 23-year-old experienced a pitch-tipping spell in June, allowing nine runs between two starts. But he had a strong July for the Tides, with just two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings against him.
around the horn
>> Right-hander Kyle Bradish will make his third rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk since going on the injured list last month with shoulder inflammation.
>> Manager Brandon Hyde said the All-Star break “came at the right time” for Hayes. Still nursing a sore wrist entering the break, Hayes’ wrist looked as good as it has in some time Friday, Hyde said.
>> Three Orioles minor leaguers were named to the Dominican Summer League All-Star Game on Sunday: infielder Aaron Estrada and right-handers Harif Frias and Eris Rodriguez. Estrada, 17, is hitting .371 with three homers in 89 at-bats. Frias, 21, has struck out 37 batters in 22 1/3 innings and Rodriguez, 20, has a 2.55 ERA in nine games.
This story will be updated.
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