Kirby gets the first win and Mariners break out in a big way against Orioles


Kirby gets the first win and Mariners break out in a big way against Orioles

BALTIMORE — With the sparse crowd at Camden Yards nearly every game in the Orioles’ rebuild, the boisterous fan club descending from New York could be heard on nearly every out recorded by George Kirby.

Of course, they would make their presence known in a crowded visiting stadium.

They were particularly vocal and celebratory after each of his eight strikeouts.

But when the rookie right-hander went off the mound after his sixth inning of shutout pitching, they serenaded his outstanding performance and imminent first MLB win, as only they knew how.

“Hip hip… Jorge!!!”

“Hip hip… Jorge!!!”

“Hip hip… Jorge!!!”

With eight assists in the first three innings, only one of which he actually needed given his performance, the Mariners’ top pitcher scored his first big league win of his career in his team’s 10-0 win in Baltimore.

“Great start to the road trip,” said manager Scott Servais. “It was a nice way to give George his first win. He was outstanding.”

At a deodorant test, shirt-on-back-tape-on-back Tuesday night at Camden Yards, Kirby put on his best performance of his brief big league career to earn the long-awaited victory. He threw six scoreless innings and allowed just four hits with a walk, a hit batter and eight strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches with 62 strikes. This included 11 swings and misses and 15 called strikes. He only had eight three-ball counts and didn’t concede a hit.

With his sister, his former coach at Elon University, several of his college teammates, and several other friends from his hometown of Rye, NY leading the cheers, Kirby rewarded them for the trip.

“It’s a pretty great moment,” he said. “It’s something I’ll remember for a long time. It’s pretty cool. It’s great that they continue to support us. So far they have been there at every start.”

It was the kind of performance that had built up over his previous four starts.

“He was due for that first win,” said Servais. “When he got going after the first inning and started rolling, the command came. His second places were also really good today.”

The only inning he allowed multiple baserunners was the first inning. He beat Trey Mancini with an out and then gave Austin Hays a two-out walk to put recently called up Adleyrutschman on the plate. Reputed to be the No. 1 in baseball,rutschman is a hard-hitting catcher with power potential. Kirby maliciously finished him off and threw an unhitable Slider onrutschman’s back foot for a swinging strike three.

“He wasn’t really sharp in the first inning and often starters are most vulnerable in the first inning,” Servais said. “His slider was huge for him as he knocked out some guys. He putrutschman on that 3-2 shifter to get out of first and he kept going.”

Kirby found a rhythm from there and drove through the next five innings, despite allowing a baserunner to get into four of them.

“I just felt more comfortable,” Kirby said. “I started getting better at my fastball. I started counting better and not falling behind. You have to move forward.”

Given the ridiculous run assist that mostly came in the first three innings, it was easy for Kirby to be in offense mode. Facing a bullpen start from the Orioles, the Mariners hit 13 on the night and led 8-0 when Kirby went for the mound in the third inning.

“We knew they were dealing with a bullpen game,” Servais said. “It’s nice to get up early. In bullpen games you can sometimes get away with it when the other team gets going and is up against you.”

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Julio Rodriguez ripped a 384-foot double off the new and deeper left field wall to hit Ty France from first base. The ball would have been a homer at any other park in MLB.

Seattle opened it up in a three-run second inning in which Taylor Trammell drove a groundball from the second base bag that went for an RBI double in his first of four carries in a four-hit night.

Seattle pinned four more runs in the third inning, including a sack fly from Trammell and a laser of a two-run single from Cal Raleigh to left field. Ty France also added an RBI single.

Dylan Moore, Trammell and Raleigh – the 7-8-9 batters – combined for five hits, five runs made and seven RBI.

With Kirby smashing batsmen and the Mariners leading by more than a touchdown for most of the game, the only drama came at the top of the eighth. Unhappy with a hip third shot on an inside fastball, Rodriguez drew a line in the dirt where he thought the ball had crossed. It resulted in an automatic ejection from plate referee Lance Barrett.

“You can’t draw a line in the dirt that’s an automatic ejection,” Servais said. “He knows now.”

Rodriguez was stunned and said, “Seriously?” to Barrett as he was thrown.

“I swear to God I didn’t know,” he said. “I’ve watched a lot of baseball games everywhere and attended a lot of games, but I’ve never seen anyone get kicked out for it.”

Servais had already pinched Mike Ford for France and pinched Sam Haggerty for JP Crawford to give his starter some rest. With Rodriguez being ejected and Kyle Lewis unable to play, he had to get creative. He put backup catcher Luis Torrens, a former infielder, at second base for the final two innings.

“Before you know it, my catcher is playing second base,” Servais said.

It was an educational moment, to be sure.

“Julio is studying,” said Servais. “He messes up a few things now and then, but as he says, ‘rule of one.’ I only screw it up once.” So he’ll learn from that tonight.”

The last Mariners player to be kicked out for drawing a line was Ichiro on September 26, 2009. He did so in Toronto on a announced third shot by Brian Runge. Rodriguez found out this piece of history in the clubhouse. He also expected a scolding text message from his parents.

“That’s never going to happen again as long as I play baseball,” Rodriguez said emphatically. “I don’t want to be kicked out. I don’t want to disrespect anyone when playing the game. It’s something I can safely say will never happen again in my career.”


You May Also Like