Villar’s record-setting HR carries Orioles past Dodgers 7-3
BALTIMORE (AP) — In a season defined by baseballs flying out of the park, the Baltimore Orioles have been on the wrong end of the equation more times than any team in major league history.
For a welcome change, the Orioles contributed to a long ball record with one of their own. The milestone homer , a three-run drive in the seventh inning by Jonathan Villar, carried Baltimore past the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Wednesday night.
Villar’s drive off Caleb Ferguson (1-2) was the 6,106th in the majors this season, breaking the previous mark of 6,105 in 2017. Villar sent a fastball deep into the left field seats to break a 2-2 deadlock and help the Orioles snap a six-game skid.
“Somebody told me after the homer (about the record). That’s unbelievable,” Villar said. “They put the bat in the Hall of Fame. I’m excited for that.”
The Orioles have yielded a major league record 280 homers this season, but on this night they hit the two that mattered most: Villar’s and a two-run drive by Pedro Severino in the eighth.
“The home runs are up everywhere and it’s tough to keep the ball in the ballpark,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’ve seen enough home runs here from the other side, so it’s nice to get one from our side.”
Having clinched the NL West title on Tuesday night before indulging in a boozy celebration, the Dodgers did not appear to play with their usual intensity.
“I imagine there may not be a winning record for teams (the day) after they clinch, but definitely not an excuse that we’ll use,” said starter Ross Stripling, who toiled for only three innings before getting the rest of the night off.
Manager Dave Roberts rested starters Joc Pederson and Justin Turner. A first-inning double by David Freese was Los Angeles’ only hit off John Means through the fifth, and the Dodgers finished with six hits — the most notable a two-run shot by A.J. Pollock that made it 2-1 in the sixth.
“I thought we were ready,” Roberts insisted. “You have to give credit to the guy over there who made pitches.”
Roberts used seven pitchers.
“I thought up until that seventh inning, we threw the ball really well,” he said.
The Baltimore seventh began with a walk, and Austin Hays‘ third hit of the game preceded Villar’s career-high 21st home run.
“Huge hit for us,” Hyde said.
The victory was Baltimore’s 47th of the season, matching its total from last year. The Orioles remain two defeats away from their second straight 100-loss season.
Shawn Armstrong (1-1) followed Means with 1 2/3 innings of one-hit relief to earn his second career victory in 100 appearances.
Roberts is in the midst of his fourth straight 90-win season with Los Angeles. Hyde is striving to win 50 games in his first year with the rebuilding Orioles.
Hyde, who won a World Series ring as a coach with the Chicago Cubs, can appreciate what it takes to be a constant winner.
“I have a lot of respect for the Dodgers. I have a lot of respect for Dave Roberts,” Hyde said. “That’s so hard to do, seven years in a row winning the division. He’s done some great things there.”
Dodgers: Turner (ankle) remained out of the lineup. Roberts said X-rays were inconclusive and that Turner would undergo an MRI exam. “Right now, with where we’re at, to push it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Roberts said. … INF Max Muncy (fractured wrist) is expected to rejoin the team Friday in New York. Muncy, who has 33 HRs and 87 RBIs, has been hitting live pitching in Arizona this week.
Orioles: Hyde is adamant about protecting the right arm of 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey (1-0, 1.69 ERA over 5 1/3 innings). “He hasn’t thrown this much since 2014, so he’s got some soreness,” Hyde said. “He’s never pitched into September, so we’re just giving him a little bit more time off.”
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (4-1, 2.55 ERA), who is 2-0 with an 0.87 ERA in 12 lifetime appearances against Baltimore, returns from a forearm strain Thursday night to make his first appearance since June 19 in the finale of the three-game series.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (6-13, 5.06) makes his 28th start, needing to win twice more to match his victory total of 2018.