Orioles third baseman Manny Machado cranks his first home run… (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore…)
After registering his first hit in his big league debut Thursday night, Manny Machado expressed disappointment that his milestone didn't come in an Orioles win.
But in his second major league game Friday against the Kansas City Royals, the 20-year-old not only helped the O's to victory. He hit his way into the franchise's record books.
Machado whipped Camden Yards into a frenzy by hitting his first two career home runs in a 7-1 win, becoming the youngest Oriole to hit two in a game.
"It's one of those nights that you're really honored and lucky just to watch," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I look at it more from a city of Baltimore standpoint. He'll put it behind him and realize there's another challenge tomorrow."
At 20 years, 35 days old, Machado became the 12th youngest player in major league history to have a multihomer game. Angels outfielder Mike Trout homered twice in a game last August when he was just 12 days younger than Machado.
Following Machado's second homer in the sixth inning — a three-run shot that created the final margin — the announced crowd of 17,277 gave Machado a standing ovation and the chants of “‘Man-ny, Man-ny” filled the ballpark. Teammate Adam Jones pushed the rookie to the top step of the dugout for a curtain call.
“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. I was great.”
In two games as a major leaguer, Machado, called up from Double-A Bowie before Thursday's game, is 4-for-8 with a triple, two homers and four RBIs.
The win, also backed by a sparking starting pitching performance by rookie Miguel Gonzalez, kept the Orioles (61-52) in the top American League wild-card spot
“Yeah, it's a new era,” Machado said. “We haven't won in a long time and this ballclub has been winning without me. And hopefully now that I'm up here I can contribute to the team and help them start winning. Buck brought me up for a reason and it was to help this team. So I'm going to do anything I can to help this team and try to make a playoff [game].”
Machado, who had two hits in his debut, hit both of his homers on two-strike breaking balls from Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar.
He smacked his first big league homer in the fifth-inning, taking a full-count slider from Hochevar into the left-field stands.
“It was the best feeling ever," Machado said of circling the bases for the first time. "The crowd here loves me and for them to support me like that, after my first home run, it just felt great.
“The best feeling ever.”
Machado became the youngest Orioles player to homer in a home since Jim Palmer — who was 19 years, 213 days old — homered in a pre-DH era game on May 16, 1965.
Machado came to the plate again in the sixth after Nate McLouth hit an RBI double to make the score 4-1.
This time, with two on and one out, Machado took a 1-2 curveball to the same spot in the stands, a towering fly ball into the Baltimore sky and into club history.
“He's going to be a nice young hitter,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You can classify those pitches as mistakes, but we made other mistakes today that were popped up or fouled back. He took advantage of it. That's the mark of a nice young hitter.”
With his second homer, Machado broke Boog Powell's record for the youngest Oriole to have a mulit-homer game. Powell was 20 years, 258 days old when he accomplished that feat on May 2, 1962. He also became just the second Oriole to two homers in a game within his first two career games, joining Curt Blefary, who homered twice in his second game on April 17, 1965 against Boston.
Millersville native Adam Corder, 15, sitting in the 14th row of Section 78, caught both of Machado's home run balls.
After the game, Corder met Machado, who was surprised to hear in the dugout that the same fan caught both his homers.
"I was like, what? That's crazy," Machado said.
Lost in the excitement was one of Gonzalez's best outings as an Oriole. The 28-year-old right-hander held the Royals to one run on six hits over a career-high eight innings.
Over his last two starts, Gonzalez (4-3) has allowed just one run over 15 innings, pitching to an 0.60 ERA.
"I stayed aggressive,” Gonzalez said. “I stayed in and out, changing pitches. That's what helped me out tonight. … Changing speeds helped me out. These guys are great hitters. That's what I like doing. I like throwing the changeup early in the count."
Gonzalez's only mistake of the night was a first-pitch fastball to Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the top of the second, a delivery that Perez sent into the right-field stands.
But Orioles second baseman Omar Quintanilla gave the O's a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the second inning, his second homer of the season, on a 3-1 pitch from Hochevar.
“It was pretty big,” Quintanilla said. “After that we took the lead and the team did a great job of putting some extra runs on the board. [I] can't say enough about Miguel. He did a great job tonight, and overall a great team effort.”
After the game — after Machado received a shaving cream pie to the face from Jones and infielder Robert Andino — the talk still focused on the rookie's big night.
Said Gonzalez: “His first two [homers] in the major leagues. There's going to be more coming. I'm real happy for him."
“Wow, he's done an awesome job so far,” Quintanilla said. “For somebody his age to come up and do what he's done, it's incredible. And you know he's got a lot of years to go, and I wish him the best.”