Baker goes deep in return, but Keys lose 6-5


Frederick, MD

Over 9,000 fans filed into Harry Grove Stadium Friday to watch their Keys, but were not able to see them victorious. Frederick was not able to rally as they fell to the Wilmington Blue Rocks 6-5 Friday.

Designated hitter Aaron Baker homered in his return from injury in the first inning to give the Keys an early lead.  He returned to the lineup after he missed a few days with an oblique injury. He said he suffered tightness during the travel day and didn’t want to take any chances.

“I probably could have played the last couple days,” Baker said regarding the injury.

Baker had taken extra batting practice before the game and it worked to his advantage.

“On the home run he threw a curveball and he just hung it.  I wasn’t sure if I got all of it or not, but the ball just kind of carried and thank goodness it went out.”

Baker, who was acquired by the Orioles in the Derrek Lee deal with the Pirates at the trade deadline last July, struggled at the plate before the injury.  The top power hitting prospect in the Orioles organization is .212 with five homers and 20 RBI on the season.

“I kind of had a chance to sit back and watch some ball games and relive some at-bats,” Baker said. “I just wanted to try and take things not really easier, but try to make things simpler.  I didn’t want to over swing and get myself out.”

Manager Orlando Gomez was happy to see his big bat back in the lineup Friday.

“He came up big and hit a home run,” he said. “We played a pretty good game despite making a couple errors.”

The loss marks the fourth consecutive defeat and drops their record to a Carolina League worst 10-20 on the season.

Starting pitcher Scott Copeland surrendered a lead-off home run to left fielder Whit Merrifield in the first inning, but after that he settled into a groove. The fifth inning was when it fell apart for Copeland as center-fielder Brett Eibner provided the big blow with a grand-slam as the Blue Rocks scored five in the inning.  Copeland gave up six earned runs in his five innings of work.

“It was one inning and Copeland was throwing the ball well,” Gomez said. “He had good stuff. I wasn’t going to take him out. I wanted him to be able to finish the inning.  In his career, he is going to have days when he gets in trouble and he will learn how to get himself out of it.  He finished them off with a strikeout to end the frame.”

Despite having the worst record in the Carolina League, the Keys are not in a panic and know there is plenty of time to comeback.

“It’s still May,” Baker said.

The Keys will be looking to even their series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks Saturday at 6.00 PM EST as Mike Wright (4-1, 2.62 ERA) will be toeing the rubber for Frederick against Yordano Ventura (0-3, 4.10 ERA).