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Molina stellar in relief for Baysox

O's right-hander allows one hit over seven shutout innings
Saturday marked the first time Marcos Molina had not allowed a run since July 25, 2017. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
May 11, 2019

It had been 650 days since Marcos Molina had gotten a call from the bullpen. On Saturday night, he was ready.The Orioles right-hander gave up a hit and two walks over seven innings, striking out three, as Double-A Bowie blanked Richmond, 3-0, in a rain-shortened eight-inning game at Prince George's

It had been 650 days since Marcos Molina had gotten a call from the bullpen. On Saturday night, he was ready.
The Orioles right-hander gave up a hit and two walks over seven innings, striking out three, as Double-A Bowie blanked Richmond, 3-0, in a rain-shortened eight-inning game at Prince George's Stadium.

Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra said the plan was for starter and rehabbing left-hander Richard Bleier to pitch consecutive days. He pitched one inning of relief in Friday night's win as he continues to recover from a torn left lat suffered last June.
"It was Marcos' start, but with the weather the way it was, we talked and with Richard throwing back-to-back days it was a simple conversation," he said. "They were both professional about it. You do get a little concerned with a [starting] pitcher's rhythm and prep time.
"I think Richard threw 12 pitches and then it's a call to Marcos. We joked around in the dugout with Richard that he was the 'opener' tonight," a nod to Tampa Bay's strategic pitching experiment, "but I think it will be an isolated incident."
Gameday box score
A starter for his last 28 appearances and 78 of 86 games in an eight-year Minor League career, Molina relieved Bleier to start the second. He faced the minimum through his first three innings -- Johneshwy Fargas had a two-out single in the third but was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Martin Cervenka.
Molina (2-4) issued a one-out walk to Heath Quinn in the fifth, and a leadoff pass to Brandon Van Horn in the sixth was erased when Fargas bounced into a double play. In the eighth, a throwing error by third baseman and Orioles No. 23 prospectRylan Bannon allowed Quinn to reach before Molina retired the next three Flying Squirrels to complete a 90-pitch effort. He threw 54 strikes.
His last relief appearance was July 30, 2017 with Double-A Binghamton in the Mets organization. The Orioles signed the native of the Dominican Republic to a Minor League contract in February.
"I thought Marcos pitched well," said Steenstra, who had a brief Major League career and has been a pitching coach in the Orioles system since 2005. "He mixed his pitches, which it's difficult to pitch when its raining and gets sloppy. But he kept his concentration.
"He didn't throw a ton of off-speed pitches, relied mostly on his fastball. We've been concentrating on getting a 'riding' action out of his fastball, a traditional four-seamer -- more life -- than his normal fastball, which cuts. He got a lot of fly balls [seven] tonight."

Bowie took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first against Richmond starter Conner Menez (2-2). Mason McCoy reached on an error ahead of Orioles No. 7 prospect Ryan McKenna, who smashed a 3-1 offering over the right-center field fence for his second homer of the season.
In the fourth, Preston Palmeiro lifted a sacrifice fly that plated Cervenka and capped the scoring.
Bowie's Zach Jarrett was 2-for-3 with a double.
Menez allowed three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Duane Cross is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB.