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Blue Jays shut out Orioles 6-0 in Toronto

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Blue Jays shut out Orioles 6-0 in Toronto

Kendrys Morales kept up his hot hitting and sent the Baltimore Orioles south of the border with another loss in Canada.

Morales homered for the fourth consecutive game, Thomas Pannone and two relievers combined on a two-hitter and the Blue Jays beat Baltimore 6-0 on Wednesday, completing a 10-game season sweep of the Orioles in Toronto.

"A lot of those games have been close," Baltimore right-hander David Hess said of his team's winless record in Toronto. "They just kind of found ways that we haven't so far to pull out a win."

Devon Travis had a three-run shot in the eighth inning as the Blue Jays blew open the game with a five-run outburst against Miguel Castro, who uncorked three wild pitches and didn't retire any of the five batters he faced.

Morales hit a two-out drive off Hess (2-8) in the seventh, his fifth home run in the past four games and 19th of the season.

"He really regrouped after that slow start and he's been steady," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Morales, who hit .178 in April.

Making his first major league start after four relief appearances, the left-handed Pannone (1-0) pitched six no-hit innings before Baltimore's Trey Mancini reached on a ground-ball single to begin the seventh.

"I didn't really hold myself to any expectations," Pannone said. "Just wanted to execute a good game plan and give my team a chance to win and I feel like I did that today."

Mancini advanced to third when left fielder Teoscar Hernandez was charged with an error on Adam Jones' liner, but Pannone escaped unscathed by getting Tim Beckham and Craig Gentry to ground out before Renato Nunez popped up.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter criticized his team's offensive approach in the inning.

"We had second and third and nobody out and you're getting in that mode of trying to hit a three-run homer instead of getting the run across," Showalter said.

Blue Jays center fielder Randal Grichuk made a sensational diving catch to retire Orioles catcher Austin Wynns for the first out of the sixth. Baltimore's Cedric Mullins followed with a bunt, but Pannone pounced on the ball and made the throw to first.

Gibbons used the word "sneaky" to describe Pannone's stuff.

"That ball jumps on you," Gibbons said. "He did a hell of a job."

Baltimore put runners at first and second with two outs against Ryan Tepera in the top of the eighth, but right fielder Billy McKinney made a sliding catch on Mancini's sinking liner to retire the side. Joe Biagini struck out the side in the ninth.

Hess was perfect through four innings. Morales reached on a ground-ball single through the shift to begin the fifth.

Hess allowed one run and three hits and set career-highs with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

"He commanded the ball down in the zone," Showalter said. "You could tell he had an idea about where the ball was going and what he was trying to do."

Hess is 0-7 since his most recent win, May 25 at Tampa Bay.

Baltimore has lost four straight and 11 of 13. The Orioles are 1-12 against the Blue Jays this season with six games remaining, all in Baltimore.

POWER BALL

Travis became the 10th Blue Jays hitter to reach double-digits in home runs this season, a team record. They had nine in a season six times previously.

TWO FEW

Baltimore matched a season-low with two hits. The Orioles also had two hits in a 4-0 loss to Cleveland on April 21.

FULL NEST

Pannone was Toronto's 14th different starting pitcher of the season, matching the club record set last year.

A club-record six of those 14 have made their first career start this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez said that the bruised right index finger that has sidelined him for the past two months happened when his finger got caught in a falling suitcase hours before his June 21 start at Los Angeles against the Angels. Sanchez is expected to be activated off the 60-day disabled list Saturday to start against Philadelphia.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Baltimore is off Thursday. RHP Alex Cobb (4-15, 5.09) starts Friday in the opener of a four-game series against the New York Yankees. LHP CC Sabathia (7-4, 3.32) starts for New York.

Blue Jays: Toronto is off Thursday. LHP Ryan Borucki (2-3, 4.27) starts Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Phillies. Borucki allowed a career-worst six runs and recorded only two outs in his previous start, last Sunday at Yankee Stadium. RHP Jake Arrieta (9-8, 3.25) starts for the Phillies.

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
 
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.