Friday night’s game meant a lot to Brandon Hyde, and he believed the same was true for Dean Kremer, except the Orioles’ right-hander wasn’t as willing to express it.
Both men are natives of Northern California, and Friday’s series opener at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park represented a homecoming. In Hyde’s five seasons as a major league manager, it marked his first game in San Francisco; he and his dad, Barry, used to traverse south from Santa Rosa to watch Giants and 49ers games at Candlestick Park.
For Kremer, Friday’s start marked his first in his home state as a major leaguer, with the Stockton native yet to pitch in any of California’s five big league venues. When Hyde broached the topic pregame, the 27-year-old “downplayed it,” Hyde said.
“I think he was in game mode, had his game face on,” Hyde added.
The approach proved worthwhile in Baltimore’s 3-2 victory, with Kremer supplying a quality start that became a winning effort thanks to Gunnar Henderson’s seventh-inning home run. Hyde said Barry and his mom, Lucy, were in attendance, along with a dozen or so friends. He hoped his team would give those converted Orioles (36-21) fans something to cheer about, and thanks to Kremer, they did.
After Maryland product LaMonte Wade Jr. sent Kremer’s first major league pitch in his home state into McCovey Cove beyond the right field — the Giants’ 100th “Splash Hit” since the ballpark opened in 2000 — Kremer allowed only four more hits and one other run over six innings. After a rough April, he has a 2.55 ERA over his past six starts.
After the first inning, streamers were released around the ballpark in recognition of Wade’s solo shot. The Orioles’ offense then offered reason to celebrate, striking for two runs off Giants right-hander Logan Webb, also a native Californian. Austin Hays opened the inning with a double that came inches from clearing the fence in center. After Aaron Hicks walked, Ryan O’Hearn grounded a single up the middle to tie the game, with Jorge Mateo’s swinging-bunt infield hit then bringing home Hicks.
The Giants evened the score on an RBI double from Mike Yastrzemski, a former Orioles minor leaguer, in the third, coming behind right fielder Anthony Santander throwing out the potential tying run at home a batter earlier. Both lineups then went quiet.
After Mateo’s infield single, Baltimore’s only base runner through the sixth came when he reached on catcher’s interference in the fifth. That ruling required a replay review, with another determining that Mateo was thrown out attempting to steal second.
Kremer issued walks to the bottom two hitters in San Francisco’s order to open the bottom of the fifth, but he responded by striking out Wade and getting J.D. Davis to ground into a double play. A clean sixth ended his night, with his 100th pitch being a changeup that froze Blake Sabel for a third strike.
Henderson hammered Webb’s 87th offering, a blast to right that didn’t reach the water but approached it rapidly. At 110.7 mph, it was the Orioles’ fourth hardest-hit home run of the year. It also left Webb with more than two runs allowed for the first time in eight starts.
Baltimore’s bullpen ensured it held up. Danny Coulombe worked a clean seventh, and although Yennier Cano found himself in rare trouble in the eighth, Baltimore’s breakout reliever got out of a jam thanks to second baseman Adam Frazier picking a 106.3 mph grounder from Yastrzemski to start an inning-ending double play.
With a scoreless ninth, Félix Bautista secured his 15th save.
Around the horn
- Infielder Joey Ortiz has yet to play for Triple-A Norfolk since he was optioned last week because he has not been feeling well.
- Baltimore acquired minor league catcher José Godoy in a trade with the New York Yankees. Godoy, 28, appeared in 26 major league games with Seattle, Minnesota and Pittsburgh the past two seasons. He was on the development list with New York’s Triple-A team.
- On the anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s death, the Giants had a pregame ceremony recognizing victims of ALS, including Sam Gomes, who coached Hyde and major league field coordinator Tim Cossins at Santa Rosa Junior College and remained close with them until his death last year. Jim Poole, who pitched for the Orioles and Giants and is battling ALS, delivered the pregame “Play ball!” call via video.
- The Orioles’ Florida Complex League team, the organization’s lowest stateside minor league affiliate, begins play Monday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. The FCL season goes through Aug. 22.
- Hays was named the Sports Info Solutions/Fielding Bible Awards Co-Defensive Player of the Month for his outfield play, sharing the honor with Toronto center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Hays recorded a majors-best 10 Runs Saved in May, with his throwing arm playing a key role.
This story will be updated.
Orioles at Giants
Saturday, 10:05 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM