[No, not this guy.]
In Baltimore Thursday, the Orioles hit 5 HRs in the first game of a doubleheader, accounting for all their runs in a 6-5 win over . All the runs and HRs came in 7 innings’ work by Colby Lewis, who allowed no other hits. Afterwards, Lewis said, “It seemed like one of those days where you have really good stuff and then you miss your spot or something and it’s just not a hit, it’s a homer. You can’t really look at it any other way. It was just kind of a weird game.”
I’ll say. This was one of the oddest pitching performances you’ll ever see.
The first 3 Orioles homered off Lewis in the bottom of the 1st, on 1-0, 1-1 and 0-2 counts. The first out came on a flyball, then he fanned the next 6. He had 9 Ks after 4 IP, and 11 through the 6th, trailing 3-1. He might have had more: Of the 7 outs in play to that point, 5 came with 2 strikes; the other 2 hit the first pitch.
In the 7th, another flare-up: HR, 5-pitch walk, first-pitch HR, 1-2 HBP, 3-0 count to Mark Reynolds. And then it went quiet again: Lewis came back with 2 strikes and Reynolds hit into a DP. After an infield error (on another 2-strike count), he whiffed Ryan Flaherty, who earlier connected for his first career HR, with his last 3 pitches.
Lewis finished with 12 Ks and 1 walk. Two-thirds of his 114 pitches were strikes, including 20 of 28 first pitches.
Five HRs allowed has been done 93 other times since 1918, with 2 each by 5 pitchers (including teammates Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, who are the others to do it this year). Eight of those pitchers even got a win; one was Mike Mussina in ’94, the first to allow 5 HRs in Oriole Park/Camden Yards. (More than half these games came since 1994.)
Lewis has given up plenty of HRs in the past, as Texas pitchers often do. He led the AL last year with 35, and he began tonight’s game with the 8th-highest HR/9 since 2010 out of 96 pitchers with 300+ IP. The 62 HRs Lewis yielded in that span were distributed 38 at home (61%) and 24 on the road.
For the year to date, Lewis has served up 11 HRs in 46.1 IP — 8 solo shots and 3 with a man aboard — but he’s allowed just 5 other runs, keeping his ERA to a respectable 3.69. His SO/BB ratio, which has been a strong 3.0 each of the last 2 years, is a neat 7.0 (42:6).
In the nightcap, a 7-3 Rangers win, Josh Hamilton (remember him?) opened the scoring in the 1st with his 15th HR; naturally, Elvis Andrus was on 1st base at the time. The O’s came back with 3 unearned runs after Andrus’s error, but he atoned with a pair of RBI hits, including the go-ahead. Mike Napoli, who came in with 7 HRs but just 1 double, tied the game with his first triple in more than 2 years.
Texas took 3 of 4 in the series, and their 21-11 record is the best in baseball. Today’s split, coupled with Tampa’s 5-3 loss in the Bronx, knotted the O’s and Rays atop the AL East at 20-12. Toronto won 6-2 and is 18-14 (Minnesota fell to 8-23), and the Yanks are 4th at 17-14. (A game worse than the idle Mets, but who’s counting?) The Red Sox, now 12-19, were beaten in Boston by old friend Derek Lowe, while Josh Beckett did nothing to quell his recent firestorm, allowing 7 ER in 2.1 IP.
Finally, even with a light schedule, Colby Lewis had neither the night’s high in strikeouts nor the longest K streak. Stephen Strasburg tallied 13 Bucs — 7 straight — and held them to 2 runs (1 ER) in 6 IP, adding his 3rd double in his only official AB. Phenom, Sr. is 4-13 at bat, and 3-0, 1.64 on the slab, with 51 Ks and 10 walks in 44 IP. He’s gone at least 6 IP in all 7 starts and just once allowed as many as 3 runs. (Phenom, Jr. made a futile throw home that let the batter take second and was charged with his first error, a scoring decision I can’t recall seeing on this sort of play before. The runner then scored from 2nd on a single for the unearned run.)
I cant do a full recap tonight, but I look forward to your findings of other “firsts” and oddities involving the Lewis game or others.