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Rickard is hitting the right notes in Baltimore


Rickard is hitting the right notes in Baltimore

BALTIMORE – Joey Rickard is just the second player in the last 50 years to start their career on Opening Day and reach base in 14 straight games. That’s according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In the first inning of Thursday night’s game, Rickard singled and scored.

Rickard, whose inclusion on the Opening Day roster was no certainty when spring training began, is still getting used to the trappings of major league life.

He’s done countless interviews. In the minor leagues, no one ever wanted to interview him, and he was able to quickly leave after games.

Despite his early acclaim, Rickard has moved around Baltimore easily, only being recognized once.

“I’m still an unknown face. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, so it’s still relatively new,” Rickard said.

Everything is new.

“I wouldn’t say awed. It’s still in the back of my mind, the fact that I’m here. It’s just kind of knowing yourself and knowing the guys around you, they have your back. It’s kind of slowed the game down for me, and it’s helped me a lot up to this point,” Rickard said.

Unlike the minors, the only busses Rickard rides on are ones that take him to and from airports and from hotels to ballparks. He tries hard not to be impressed with what he’s accomplished so far.

“I go back and hang out. Maybe I call a friend and just go to bed. The chartered flights are a little more convenient and the hotel beds are a little bigger and more comfortable. It’s definitely a luxury I’m not quite used to yet, and I’m enjoying every minute of it,” Rickard said.

A year ago, he was traveling around Florida, playing for the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs. Now, he’s living on his own, and he likes that.

“No host family, no roommate, no teammate that’s sleeping on the couch,” Rickard said.

There are many things that are difficult about big league life. Those are things that are on the field.

“The hardest thing is just the everyday grind. There’s no easy way out. Every at-bat, you’re going to go out there and somebody with some really good stuff is coming at you. There’s really no break. At some point in the minors you face some fill-in; that’s where you get your hits off. Here, every at-bat is just a battle, every pitch is a battle,” Rickard said.

“If it’s not supposed to be a hit, it’s not going to be a hit. They’re going to make a play on you. That’s probably the biggest surprise. You’ve got to hit one good to get one.”

MORE ORIOLES: Gausman could pitch Monday at Tampa Bay

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

DETROIT - Leonys Martin hit his first big league grand slam, Jeimer Candelario had four hits and three RBIs, and the Detroit Tigers beat Baltimore 13-8 Thursday to extend the Orioles' losing streak to six.

Jordan Zimmermann (1-0) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, allowing two home runs to Manny Machado and one to Chris Davis. Zimmermann was pitching for the first time since being hit in the jaw by a line drove off the bat of Cleveland's Jason Kipnis on April 11.

Alex Cobb (0-2) made his second start after signing a $57 million, four-year contract in spring training and his ERA rose to 15.43. He allowed seven runs - five earned - and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Machado had four RBIs for the Orioles, who were outhit 18-14 in the game and outscored 23-15 in the three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez hit an RBI single in the first, but Davis put Baltimore ahead with a two-run homer in the second, his sixth hit and fourth homer in 10 career at-bats against Zimmermann.

Detroit went ahead for good with four runs in the bottom half after third baseman Tim Beckham's throwing error allowed James McCann to reach base leading off. Jose Iglesias hit a two-run triple, Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single and Nick Castellanos a run-scoring groundout.

Machado's homer in the third cut Baltimore's deficit to 5-2, but Candelario's two-run homer extended the lead to 7-2 in the bottom half. Martin homered off Mike Wright Jr. in a five-run fifth.