The Baltimore Orioles are Major League Baseball's new home run kings. Kind of.
On Wednesday night at Camden Yards, the Orioles surrendered their 258th homer of the season, tying the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for most round-trippers allowed by a team in a single campaign.
The record-tying homer came in the top of the third inning of Baltimore's game against the Kansas City Royals, when Whit Merrifield sent a 1-1 fastball from Aaron Brooks over the left-center-field wall. The solo homer was Kansas City's lone run on the night.
First-year Orioles manager Brandon Hyde did not sound the least bit concerned about his team tying a dubious record on a night it cruised to an easy 8-1 victory.
"We've given up a ton of homers,'' Hyde said. "What's the record ... 258? So, if it's 259 or 330, I don't care. I just want us to get better on the mound and obviously finish this year and go into next year trying to do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark and staying off the barrel, but home runs are up. ... We're all tired of seeing them and hopefully we can get better going forward.''
Through Tuesday night's games, the Orioles were on pace to yield 330 home runs. With power numbers up across MLB, Baltimore isn't the only team yielding long balls at a record rate. Entering Wednesday's action, the Mariners, Angels, Yankees and Phillies were all on pace to give up more homers than the 2016 Reds.
Nearly a quarter of Baltimore's historic 2019 total has come against the division-rival Yankees. In 19 games against New York, Birds hurlers surrendered 61 home runs, shattering the mark for most homers allowed to one team in a single season.
This season, 3.7% of all MLB plate appearances have resulted in homers, up from 3.0% in 2018. 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 2019, 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 41-86 record that is second-worst in the majors. Their team ERA of 5.94 is the highest in baseball by almost half a run.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.