At the risk of over-celebration, one might say that long-sought, power-hitting third baseman has come to papa.
Manny Machado followed the 2-for-4 night of his Major League debut on Thursday with a two-homer, four-RBI night in a 7-1 Orioles victory over Kansas City, becoming the youngest Oriole ever to hit two bombs in a game, and the youngest since Jim Palmer in 1965 to hit his first big league clout. Palmer was 19 when he homered on May 16, 1965.
Machado also broke Boog Powell’s record for the youngest Oriole to have a mulit-homer game. Powell was 20 years, 258 days old when he accomplished that feat on May 2, 1962. Machado is 20 years, 35 days old.
Whether by design or not, bringing Machado up with fewer than 50 games left in the season may have been a stroke of genius in one way. If he can keep this up, he may not get enough at-bats to face most pitchers more than once, and they won’t get the chance to figure him out and neutralize him in his second trip through the league.
Almost lost in the fervor was that Miguel Gonzalez went 8 innings, the longest stint of his career, for the win, holding the Royals to one run and six hits. Even a superb pitching performance will have to take a back seat tonight.
And not just a back seat to Machado, but a back seat to a 15-year-old.
Millersville native Adam Corder, 15, sitting in the 14th row of Section 78, caught both of Machado’s home run balls. The two met outside the Oriole clubhouse after the game, where Machado gave Corder a few autographed items in exchange for the two home run balls.
For the record, and almost as an afterthought, the win lifted the Orioles to 61-52 and, at least for a night, into the top American League wild-card spot. They are 5 1/2 games out of first in the AL East, as the Yankees beat Toronto tonight, 10-4.