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Orioles avoid three-game sweep with 2-1 win over Blue Jays

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Orioles avoid three-game sweep with 2-1 win over Blue Jays

One night after setting a dubious record for losses, the Baltimore Orioles were ready to savor a rare win against a division rival.

Rookie DJ Stewart hit his first major league home run and Baltimore used five pitchers to avoid a three-game sweep by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Wednesday night.

The Orioles bounced back one night after taking their 108th loss of the season, the most since moving to Baltimore in 1954. They remained three away from the franchise mark set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns.

"I was thinking about it tonight how many times I walked down that long hall to get here after a great win, trying to temper the enthusiasm," manager Buck Showalter said. "I still feel elated after we win a game and then I think about all the good things that went on, especially defensively tonight."

Jimmy Yacabonis started for Baltimore and threw four scoreless innings, followed by Mike Wright (4-2), who blanked the Blue Jays over two innings. Miguel Castro allowed a solo homer to Billy McKinney in the eighth that cut the lead to 2-1 before Tanner Scott managed the final out of the inning.

Mychal Givens picked up his eighth save for Baltimore.

Stewart, who was promoted Sept. 11 from Triple-A Norfolk, gave the Orioles the lead when he led off the third with a towering shot off Estrada that caromed off the right-field foul pole. He also had a double in the seventh and scored an insurance run on a single by Cedric Mullins off Tim Mayza.

"I've felt comfortable every at-bat pretty much," Stewart said. "I think there was one at bat I kind of went up there chasing a little bit, just trying to get that hit. I felt comfortable for the most part, but whenever you see one fall for the first time, it's a little bit of a relief that not only are you feeling well but you're seeing the results also. It was definitely big for me."

Toronto won the season series 14-5.

"Any chance you have to try and sweep a team is a big one," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We have had a pretty tough year ourselves so you try to build and win as many games as you can."

The Blue Jays' Marco Estrada (7-13) bounced back from his previous outing when he tied a career-high by allowing eight runs against the Yankees. He was charged with one run and four hits with five strikeouts and one walk over six innings.

"It was a good outing. I made a lot of good pitches," Estrada said. "One got away from me and the kid hit it out, Congrats to him. Weren't too many hard hit balls."

The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the fourth against Yacabonis, who was making his fifth career start. However, he escaped the jam when Kendrys Morales hit a fly ball to Adam Jones, who threw out McKinney trying to score from third. It was Jones' 99th career assist and first in right field.

YOUTH MOVEMENT

Blue Jays C Russell Martin has not played since Sept. 3. Manager John Gibbons wants to give Luke Maile and rookie Danny Jansen an extended look behind the plate.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Rookie C Chance Sisco will not travel with the team to New York. He took a foul ball off his mask Sunday against the White Sox and is still waiting to be cleared from concussion protocol.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Sam Gaviglio will start the opener Thursday in Tampa Bay. He has gone 1-8 since July 20 and lost both games against the Rays this season.

Orioles: Rookie Yefry Ramirez (1-6, 5.50 ERA) will make his 11th start Friday in New York. He tied a career high with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings Saturday against the White Sox.

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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.