February 3, 2023

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What wall? Arozarena continues to pound O's

3 min read
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BALTIMORE — The new left-field wall at Camden Yards has been a somewhat controversial topic among hitters of late.

The left fielder continued his torrid hitting against the Orioles in Saturday’s 6-1 win, going 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and a walk.

In 23 career games against the Orioles, Arozarena is hitting .413 (38-for-92) with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs.

“I can’t explain it. I really don’t know,” manager Kevin Cash said. “You look up guys who have track records … if you’re in the AL East you’re going to get hot against a specific team, and it’s probably going to work against you against some other teams. But we’ll take it right now because we needed a good offensive performance, and he gave us one.”

Arozarena got off to a quick start. With two outs in the first, Ji-Man Choi walked, and Arozarena hit the first pitch he saw from Kyle Bradish into the Orioles’ bullpen in left-center.

With one out in the fourth, Arozarena smacked Bradish’s 2-0 fastball over the now 13-foot-high wall near the 398-foot sign in left-center. The ball traveled a Statcast-projected 429 feet.

“I knew they had raised the wall and they had moved it back, but playing in left field, you’re able to kind of see it more,” Arozarena said through interpreter Manny Navarro. “On that second home run, when I hit it I knew regardless of where the wall was, I knew that I had got a little bit of it.”

Arozarena drew a walk in the seventh inning and reached on an error in the ninth.

Arozarena, 27, is hitting .426 (20-for-47) with seven homers and 17 RBIs in his career at Camden Yards. It was his fifth career multihomer game and third against the Orioles.

“When I’m in the box, I try to keep my mind the same. Doesn’t matter who’s up there, if it’s the Orioles or not,” Arozarena said. “Luckily, I’ve been hitting well against the Orioles. Hopefully, that luck continues.”

He was asked: “Is it just luck?”

“Maybe not so much luck as it is the preparation and the routines that I’ve continued to do and the hard work that I’ve done in order to be prepared for every game,” Arozarena said.

Teammate Yandy Díaz had a different explanation.

“I think he hits with his eyes closed against the Orioles,” Díaz said through Navarro.

Jeffrey Springs tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Rays, who bounced back from an 8-6 13-inning loss on Friday. Springs walked four and struck out seven in the longest outing of his career.

Kevin Kiermaier batted leadoff for the first time this season and had a homer and two singles. It was his third consecutive three-hit game.

“I was surprised coming to the field seeing I’m hitting leadoff, but I’m on a little hot streak right now, and Cash likes to work in mysterious ways and likes to ride them hot streaks,” said Kiermaier, who is 10-for-his-last-18 and has raised his average to .240.

Arozarena is streaking as well, hitting safely in six of his past seven games while going 11-for-26 (.423).

“Randy, he’s a guy, when he gets hot he’s shown that he can be the best player on the planet,” Kiermaier said. “He’s as locked as I’ve seen him right now, so hopefully he can continue that.”

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