On a night when he didn't have his best command, John Means still gave the Orioles a boost.
Means (6-4) helped pave the way for a 4-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays June 11. He allowed one run on four hits with a season-high seven strikeouts along with three walks during five innings. Means lowered his ERA to 2.60, but he admitted the outing was a grind. He threw 103 pitches, including 33 in the first inning.
"I wasn't getting ahead of guys either, so that was an issue," he said. "Not only were there long at-bats, but I wasn't getting strike one, strike two very consistently. I had to pitch behind in the count a lot. That's definitely on me."
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was not complaining. Means had been one of his most consistent pitchers and has put himself in the conversation for American League Rookie of the Year.
"I don't think his command was as good as he would have liked," Hyde said. "They fouled off a ton of pitches. His changeup wasn't quite getting below the zone enough. I don't think his fastball command was where he would have liked it. Gutty performance, five really good innings, especially after battling through the first inning, gave us a chance. He did a great job."
Means exudes a quiet confidence, and his teammates respond to that persona. Means is tied with veteran Andrew Cashner with six wins on the season, but his focus is becoming a better pitcher with each outing.
"It feels good. Wins and losses are something pitchers don't really think about too much," Means said. "It's just you go out there, you do your job, you show up at the beginning of the game and see what happens."
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