|Warmly welcomed Machado looks to help Padres sweep Orioles|
The story of Tuesday's series opener between San Diego and the Orioles was the return of third baseman Manny Machado to Baltimore, and that's likely going to be the main topic of conversation when the Padres try to finish off a sweep of the brief two-game series Wednesday afternoon.
Machado homered, drove in two runs and helped the Padres to an 8-3 victory in the opener and drew a huge standing ovation in his first at-bat. He also got plenty of other cheers, especially when belting a 455-foot homer in the third inning, the 100th he's hit at Camden Yards.
Machado played for the Orioles from mid-2012 to mid-2018 before the Orioles traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers as his contract would expire at season's end. He's talked a few times, most recently last weekend in The Athletic, where he said the Orioles did not do much in terms of coming to the table to talk about a deal.
But Machado said he loved the Baltimore fans, who always cheered him. That's why he was so happy to return.
"Excited to be back, excited to see the fans out there and take third base again like I did for a long time," Machado said Tuesday. "It's exciting to be back here. It's something that I called home for seven years and just a lot of emotions running through me right now."
Even Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, who did not arrive until this season, was impressed at the way the fans greeted Machado. Since he did not leave on his own, it probably ensured that the third baseman/shortstop got such a nice greeting when coming back.
"I think that was a really nice ovation for him," Hyde said after the game. "Well-deserved for a good player. I thought it was pretty cool."
Hyde probably didn't like the fact that Machado's homer was one of four the Padres hit in the series opener. They also got blasts from Fernando Tatis, Jr., Manuel Margot and Francisco Mejia in the easy win.
The Padres came up with a few two-out rallies as the Orioles were not able to close out innings, which has been a problem at times.
The Orioles went with an opener -- Jimmy Yacabonis -- on Tuesday but Dylan Bundy (3-9, 4.59 ERA) will start on Wednesday versus Matt Strahm (2-6, 4.85). The Padre left-hander has a 1-0 record in which he pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief versus the Orioles in 2017 as a member of the Kansas City Royals.
He has lost three decisions in a row and struggled in his last four starts after pitching better in the first part of this season.
Bundy has improved over the past two months despite his record as the Orioles are not always giving him much offensive support. He's done a better job of giving up fewer homers, but the right-hander still has allowed at least one in 10 of his 15 starts.
Baltimore's biggest problem is it can't get consistent pitching, which hurts because the offense, which is good at times, often lacks the punch to rally from deficits.
Trey Mancini is batting .435 in the first inning after recording an RBI single in the opening frame in Tuesday's loss. Richie Martin, a Rule 5 pick at shortstop who has shown a major league glove, hit his fourth homer of the season Tuesday.
Baltimore received some good news for the future as it introduced recently signed top draft pick Adley Rutschman (catcher) to the media Tuesday. Later at night, the Orioles announced they've also signed second-round pick Gunnar Henderson, a shortstop. He'll be introduced on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media