Colby Lewis gives up five homers, strikes out career-best 12

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It was certainly a case of feast or famine for the Orioles in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis gave up three straight homers to begin the bottom of the first, retired the next 18 hitters he faced and then surrendered two more homers in the seventh to leave down 6-0 versus Baltimore.

The end result: Lewis struck out a career-high 12 batters and allowed a career-high five homers. Those homers were the only hits he allowed.

Lewis became just the fifth pitcher in major league history to give up five homers and no other hits. Oakland’s Ted Lilly was the last, surrendering five homers in four innings against the Braves on June 11, 2003. Denny McLain (1971), Steve Stone (1974) and Charlie Hough (1989) were the others to manage it. No one has ever given up six homers and no other hits.

The 12 strikeouts was also by far the most for anyone in a game with five homers allowed. Hough struck out nine in that aforementioned start on June 24, 1989, which had been the previous high total. Curt Schilling, on June 28, 1997, was the last pitcher to strike out 12 and give up four homers.

Lewis also issued just one walk on the day. So, while his ERA jumped from 2.97 to 3.69, his WHIP actually dropped from 1.14 to 1.10.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.