BALTIMORE (AP) — The night before starting the Orioles’ home opener, Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann walked onto the field at Camden Yards.
“When we got back from Tampa, I snuck out onto the field and kind of walked out on the mound and tried to imagine what today would be like,” Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann pitched four innings to start a successful day for Baltimore’s maligned pitching staff, and the Orioles beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 on Monday. Cedric Mullins hit a two-run single in the second.
The Baltimore pitchers — who finished last in the majors in ERA last year — didn’t even need any help from their restructured ballpark. On the 30th anniversary of its inaugural season, Camden Yards looked noticeably different after the wall in left field was pushed back and made taller in the offseason. The new dimensions weren’t a factor in this game, though.
Mullins, whose 30-30 campaign was one of the few bright spots in a 110-loss season for the Orioles last year, singled with the bases loaded.
Baltimore won for the first time this season after being swept in a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Zimmermann, the first Maryland-born pitcher to start a home opener for the Orioles since 1990, allowed three hits, struck out four and walked two.
“It was even better than I could have imagined it going,” he said. “It was perfect weather, sold-out crowd, all of my family that could make it was here. Friends that I’m really close with, friends that I might have played years ago with, came out.”
Mike Baumann (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief, followed by Dillon Tate and Cionel Pérez. Jorge López worked a hitless ninth for the save.
Adrian Houser (0-1) allowed two runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three. Two of those walks came in the second to load the bases before Mullins’ two-out hit.
Aaron Ashby pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief for the Brewers.
“I thought he pitched great,” manager Craig Counsell said. “I thought he got better as he stayed out there longer.”
The Orioles faced Milwaukee in a home opener for the first time since 1995, when the Brewers were in the American League. This was the first time Milwaukee played at Baltimore in any game since 2003.
The announced attendance was 44,461.
“We’ve got to give them something to cheer about. We’ve got to give them something to root for,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought we did today.”
The previous dimensions at Camden Yards were 333 feet to left field, 364 to left-center and 410 to center. Now, the wall goes from 333 out to 384, then across to 398. It then juts in a bit to 376 to accommodate the Baltimore bullpen before reaching 410 in center.
The height of the wall was raised from 7 to 13 feet.
“I just looked at it for the first time. It’s large,” Orioles slugger Trey Mancini said before the game. “It was a little more jaw-dropping than I thought.”
Mancini came close to a homer in the first inning, but Tyrone Taylor made a tremendous catch while slamming into the wall in right-center — where the dimensions are unchanged.
In other ballpark news, Orioles chairman and CEO John Angelos announced in a statement that the Maryland legislature had passed an initiative committing $1.2 billion in public funding for reinvestment in and reimagination of the Camden Yards Sports Complex.
Counsell went out to talk to the umpire at one point, and he said it was because of problems with the electronic system used to help catchers call pitches.
“Our catcher thing died,” he said.
Brewers: INF Luis Urías (left quad) began the season on the injured list, meaning he is missing the chance to go up against his brother Ramón, an INF for Baltimore.
Orioles: Baltimore put RHP Dean Kremer (left oblique) on the 10-day IL, selected the contract of RHP Spenser Watkins from Triple-A Norfolk and recalled LHP Alexander Wells from Norfolk.
LHP Eric Lauer is set to start Tuesday night for Milwaukee. The Orioles haven’t announced a starter yet. Lauer went 7-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 2021.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism