O's claim dubious record with 259th HR allowed

BALTIMORE -- Somewhere, the Cincinnati Reds are toasting.

On Thursday at Camden Yards, the Baltimore Orioles surrendered their 259th home run of 2019, breaking a tie with the 2016 Reds for most homers allowed by a team in a single season.

The record-breaking bomb came in the top of the third inning of Baltimore's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, when Austin Meadows sent a 1-2 curveball from O's starter Asher Wojciechowski just barely over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field for his 22nd dinger of the season.

A first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, Wojciechowski came into the contest having allowed 12 homers in 49 innings. He surrendered another solo shot in the fifth, to Willy Adames.

The teams were tied 2-2 when a downpour sent the opener of the four-game series into a rain delay in the bottom of the inning. Play resumed after 2 hours and 16 minutes, and the Rays finished off a 5-2 victory that ended shortly before 1 a.m. ET Friday.

About 200 fans were left for the final out.

Entering play Thursday, the Orioles were on pace to yield 329 home runs. They still have 34 games remaining.

"I'm a broken record when it comes to homers we've given up,'' first-year Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "I don't know what to say except we have a lot of work to do with our pitchers.''

"And going forward to be able to compete in this division and in the big leagues, you have to be able to keep the ball in the ballpark and we've had a tough time doing that this year,'' he said.

Baltimore likely won't be the only club to pass the 2016 Reds in a historically homer-friendly season. Entering Thursday, the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were on track to allow at least 259 homers. The league as a whole is on pace to surpass easily the record of 6,105 homers in 2017.

Nearly a quarter of Baltimore's historic 2019 total has come against the division-rival Yankees. In 19 games against New York, Orioles pitchers surrendered 61 home runs, shattering the mark for most allowed to one team in a single season.

This season, 3.7% of all MLB plate appearances have resulted in home runs, up from 3.0% a year ago. Compared to 2014, when the leaguewide rate was 2.3%, home runs have increased by roughly 60%. If the current rate holds through the rest of the season, it would break the single-season record of 3.3%, set during the 2017 campaign.

The rebuilding Orioles are in last place in the American League East, owners of a 41-87 record that is second-worst in the majors. Their team ERA of 5.89 is the highest in baseball by nearly half a run.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.