When Manny Machado arrived at Camden Yards amid much fanfare, Orioles manager Buck Showalter insisted the 20-year-old player was promoted for no other reason than to help the team win.
And that is precisely what Machado did in his second game in the major leagues.
Machado thrust himself into the Orioles’ record book by hitting two home runs and driving in four runs, a power display that carried Baltimore past the Kansas City Royals 7-1 on Friday night.
After going 2 for 4 in his debut on Thursday, Machado hit a solo shot in the fifth inning and a three-run drive in the sixth. Both homers came off Luke Hochevar (7-10) and landed in the left-field seats.
The second clinched the victory, but Machado will never forget his first home run trot in the big leagues.
”It was the best feeling ever,” he said. ”The crowd here loves me, and for them to support me like that, after my first home run, it just felt great.”
After the second one, Machado was pushed out the dugout by teammate Adam Jones to acknowledge the request of a curtain call by the crowd of 17,277.
”It was great,” Machado said. ”I’ve dreamed about that my whole life, about going out there and getting that curtain call, and second game in the big leagues I get it.”
At 20 years and 35 days old, Machado is the youngest Oriole ever to have a multihomer game. Boog Powell was 20 years and 258 days old when he homered twice against Minnesota in May 1962.
Machado also became the 12th youngest major leaguer since 1918 to hit at least two home runs in a game.
Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, went 2 for 4 in his second straight start at third base. He had never played above the Double-A level before Thursday night.
And that explains why manager Buck Showalter was cautious in his praise of the youngster.
”It’s two games. He’s off to a good start,” Showalter said. ”He’s hit some mistakes and hit them well, which guys have to do up here. He’ll have the kitchen sink thrown at him and we’ll see how it goes. But so far, so good.”
Omar Quintanilla also homered for the Orioles, who have won six of seven.
Miguel Gonzalez (4-2) allowed one run and six hits in eight innings, striking out five and walking one. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in two home starts.
Salvador Perez homered for the Royals, who lost for the second time in six games. Hochevar had allowed only 13 homers in 22 starts before giving up three in this one.
”That’s what it falls on: three mistakes that they didn’t miss,” said Hochevar, who went 5 1-3 innings. ”Hitters don’t usually miss mistakes at this level.”
Not even Machado in his second game.
”These last two games he’s played really well. He’s hit mistakes, he’s hit good pitches,” Hochevar said. ”He’s having some really, really good at-bats. Plays good defense and obviously swinging it well right now.”
Baltimore led 2-1 before Machado notched his first home run and RBI with one swing at a 3-2 pitch. In the sixth, after Nate McLouth doubled in a run, Machado connected on a 1-2 pitch for a 7-1 lead.
Machado’s heroics overshadowed a fine performance by another Baltimore rookie, Gonzalez, who went eight innings for the first time.
”Just throwing strikes, getting ahead of guys,” Gonzalez said. ”My sinker worked well and my changeup was good.”
In his previous two starts at home, Gonzalez twice gave up a home run to the first batter he faced and yielded a combined six first-inning runs. He reversed that trend by striking out leadoff hitter Alex Gordon to begin a 1-2-3 first.
Perez hit a drive over the right-field wall in the second inning to put the Royals up 1-0. It was the 10th homer allowed by Gonzalez in 48 2-3 innings, although nine of those 10 home runs have been solo shots.
In the bottom half, Wilson Betemit led off with a double, and Quintanilla homered with two outs.
NOTES: The same fan ended up with both of Machado’s home-run ball. Adam Corder traded the first ball for several signed baseballs and a bat. He opted to keep the second ball. … Royals CF Jarrod Dyson left in the eighth inning with a twisted left ankle. … Orioles LHP Chris Tillman (5-1, 2.38 ERA) pitches Saturday in the third game of the series. KC will start Luis Mendoza (5-8, 4.36), who hasn’t faced Baltimore since 2008 with Texas. … The Orioles set the starting time for their Aug. 30 game against the Chicago White Sox at 12:35. The early start is because the Baltimore Grand Prix begins the following day. … Quintanilla had three hits to up his batting average to .333.