Núñez hot, but Hess is not

In­fielder’s 15th HR over­shad­owed by pitcher’s lat­est woes

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ORIOLES - By Nathan Ruiz

Tim Cossins’ first pitch­ing change as a ma­jor league man­ager came in a less-thanideal sit­u­a­tion, walk­ing out to the Cam­den Yards mound to­ward a starter amid a dread­ful stretch, the home team al­ready down three runs and the bases loaded with no outs.

Cossins’ man­age­rial de­but, with Ori­oles man­ager Bran­don Hyde in Chicago for his daugh­ter’s high school grad­u­a­tion, was a sour one as the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants won, 8-2, to even their three-game se­ries at Cam­den Yards. Cossins, the Ori­oles’ field­ing co­or­di­na­tor and catch­ing in­struc­tor, was man­ag­ing for the first time since do­ing so in the then-Florida Mar­lins’ mi­nor-league sys­tem in 2007.

Right-handed starter David Hess (1-7) strug­gled yet again, as the no-outs, bases­loaded sit­u­a­tion he left for Miguel Cas­tro re­sulted in more mess. All three run­ners came around to score, leav­ing Hess with seven earned runs in four-plus in­nings to bring his ERA to 7.36.

In his 10 starts since hold­ing the Toronto Blue Jays hit­less across 6 1/3 in­nings April 1, Hess has an 8.68 ERA, with the Ori­oles (18-40) go­ing 1-9 in those games.

“There are some pos­i­tives, def­i­nitely, but over­all, it was not good enough,” Hess said. “The num­bers speak for them­selves on that. I thought we made some good pitches in some sit­u­a­tions and they hit them, and so re­ally that says ei­ther we didn’t set them up well enough or the pitches them­selves weren’t work­ing as well as we needed them to to­day. Not re­ally very happy with how it all went down.”

Con­sec­u­tive one-out walks in the first, to for­mer mi­nor league team­mate Mike Yas­trzem­ski and Buster Posey, came back to burn Hess when Bran­don Belt cleared the Ori­oles’ in­field shift with a two-out, two-run sin­gle. In the third, Posey home­red off the rail­ing of the right-field flag court, slid­ing into sec­ond af­ter the ball bounced back into play be­fore get­ting to trot home. It was the ma­jor league-lead­ing 19th home run Hess has al­lowed, snap­ping a tie with the Seat­tle Mariners’ Mike Leake for the most in the ma­jors.

The first four Gi­ants reached in the fifth to end Hess’ out­ing. Cas­tro got his first bat­ter, Pablo Sandoval, to line out, but sur­ren­dered a two-run dou­ble to Belt. Evan Lon­go­ria tacked a fi­nal run on Hess’ line with a sacri­fice fly.

Mak­ing Hess’ out­ing more strange was that he pitched with ease in the in­nings be­tween his trou­bles. In the sec­ond, he needed eight pitches to bounce back from his rough first. His fourth inning re­quired nine pitches. But he threw 67 to­tal in his other three frames.

“You can see in his starts that there’s a pe­riod of time where he is in com­mand and has bouts where he’s throw­ing the ball where he wants to be throw­ing the ball,” Cossins said. “I think for him, it’s about econ­o­miz­ing his weaponry and pitch­ing to spots that are gonna get the re­sult that he’s look­ing for, and it’s gonna come. He’s a tal­ented kid.”

Re­nato Núñez con­tin­ued his hot stretch, home­r­ing for the eighth time in 12 games to reach 15 on the sea­son. Be­fore this re­cent pow­er­ful run, his av­er­age had fallen to .211 af­ter a 14-game run in which he went 3-for-47. But with the homer and a sin­gle Satur­day, Núñez is hit­ting .386 in his past 12 games.

NICK WASS/AP

The Ori­oles’ Re­nato Nunez cel­e­brates in the fourth inning Satur­day af­ter hit­ting his 15th home run of the sea­son by get­ting show­ered with sun­flower seeds.

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