The Camden Yards crowd — or what remained of it after two rain delays on Monday totaling over two hours — stood as Jordan Westburg came to the plate in the fifth inning.
“West-ty! West-ty! West-ty!” fans chanted, led by a rambunctious group in Westburg tee-shirts sitting right behind home plate. Westburg knew just a few in that crew, but the rest of the stadium caught on quickly.
“It hit me pretty close to the heart to hear a lot of people chant my name,” Westburg said. “That was pretty cool.”
Westburg had already been on base twice, once in the first plate appearance of his major league career. His two-out walk in the pouring rain led to a two-run second inning. He found himself on first again in the fourth inning, after the second delay of the night, when he reached on a fielder’s choice.
This time, though, with the bases loaded, Westburg squared up and sent the ball to shallow left. It dropped in between the Reds defenders, giving Westburg ample time to get to first for his first MLB hit.
On yet another cornerstone debut night for Baltimore, the Orioles, thanks in part to Westburg’s efforts, beat the Reds 10-3.
“I tried to just soak it in,” Westburg said. “I tried to block out as many emotions as I could and just lock in on the game. At the same time, I wanted to look around and take in the environment and the people. This is something I’ve never been a part of before so it was just really special.”
Westburg, MLB Pipeline’s No. 34 overall prospect, was called up Monday after making in Triple-A look easy. He had to stay patient, his road blocked by an already crowded infield and a slew of prospects who were ready just a hair before him. But on Monday, after finally getting that call, he didn’t waste the opportunity.
Westburg, in addition to reaching base four times and earning his first RBI, showed off his prowess on defense. Primarily a shortstop in the minors, Westburg is expected to stick to second and third with the Orioles. He was slotted at second on Monday and made a slick play, using just his glove to flick it back to shortstop Jorge Mateo to get the out.
“He nailed it right there,” Austin Hays said. “It shows he’s comfortable and confident in himself.”
On the mound, Cole Irvin started the game, which began late after a patch of rain moved into the area. Irvin gave up one run in the first, but retired the next six batters he saw. His night ended after another string of storms arrived, sending the game into a one-hour-and-44 minute delay.
The Orioles led 2-1 at the time of the delay, but quickly poured on more runs to expand their lead. The Orioles added three runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh. They relied mainly on small ball, getting on base via walks and singles and only hitting one extra base hit, an automatic double from Austin Hays, in those two innings.
The bullpen, tasked with six innings to get through thanks to the delay, gave up only two runs. Bruce Zimmerman, who ate up three innings, was responsible for both of them.