It was April in Cedric Mullins ‘baseball life, with Mullins spending the month not only reasserting himself as the Orioles’ daily center-back, but as one of the most dynamic players in the American League. What better way to top it off than with heroes?
No matter what he accomplishes on the last day of April, Mullins assured Thursday that the month won’t end without a lasting image. This resulted in him being mobbed by his teammates after his 10th inning sacrificial fly sent the O’s to a 4-3 win over the Yankees at Oriole Park. Mullins also scored twice and added to his Major League success tally to help Baltimore win a division with New York.
“I’m so proud of him,” Trey Mancini said. “He has completely rebuilt himself mentally and physically as well. He is deadly in all aspects of the game.
Hitting .340 with 33 hits, 12 runs scored and a .918 OPS, Mullins played all April on some sort of island at the top of the Orioles roster, which despite its success ranks 14th. out of 15 AL teams in the points scored. Thursday gave an example of what things might look like when Mullins gets help.
Baltimore’s top three hitters have played a part in all of its runs with starter Jordan Montgomery and four Yankees relievers, highlighted by the start of what looks like a breakout for Mancini and Austin Hays’ brace in the eighth.
Mullins was in the middle of most of it, scoring on Mancini’s first single and running from Hays’ first brace against Darren O’Day, after Mullins walked to open the set.
Mancini’s 111 mph solo circuit in the sixth inning off Montgomery was his fifth success in as many bats. He entered the day with a score of 0.225 in his first 24 games after returning from stage 3 colon cancer.
“I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, I’m not going to lie,” Mancini said. “I have really felt better over the past two days. I know I had a few breakouts this year where it looked like I might have had a breakout, but I never had that feeling that I did a few years ago, I searched and searched. “
Prone to hard-contact droughts and driving pitches out of the area at higher rates than usual, Mancini has been iconic of the Orioles’ offensive struggles (Mullins excluded) in the first four weeks of the season. Thursday’s victory was their third in eight games, and of their 20 points in that span, eight were won on Sunday against the A’s. That sparked a series of meetings this week in the heart of Oriole Park: one-on-one sessions with Mancini and trainer Don Long; Mancini and director Brandon Hyde; and Long and the O’s hitters en masse.
“I think as a unit it really had a big impact on us,” Mancini said. “Because sometimes you need this reunion together, to have this tough love conversation that we had this morning to get us all out of this.” It changes your perspective a bit and kind of gives you a breath of fresh air. “
If they turn things around, maybe the O’s will see Thursday’s win as a stepping stone. It’s worth mentioning that they stayed in the game because of another fine effort from their pen, which continues to pitch as one of baseball’s best rescue units. After six good innings behind Jorge López, the only hiccup in the enclosure came from César Valdez’s second save on seven occasions. A 10th inning from Tanner Scott, who has managed six steps in his last two appearances but pulled two on Thursday, kept the game tied.
Mullins made the most of it.
“We’ve definitely stepped on the mound, and that keeps us in games longer,” said Hyde. “We’re still not swinging the bat the way we’re capable of, but it’s good to win games like this, extra-inning type games when you’re playing against really good teams, against designed rosters.” to play. October. I think it’s a confidence factor for our guys. “
• Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday announced plans to open its season at 38% capacity, welcoming 4,731 fans per game at Harbor Park. The Tides home opener is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET on May 18 against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
• Veteran southpaw Wade LeBlanc rescinded waivers and elected free agency, Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reported Thursday. LeBlanc, 36, was selected for an assignment by the Orioles after allowing four runs in 1 2/3 innings in their 7-2 loss to the As on Saturday. He’s gone 1-1 with an 8.38 ERA in 12 games (seven starts) for Baltimore in parts of the past two seasons.