BALTIMORE—Jonathan Villar joined a special Orioles club on Sunday. Villar clubbed his 20th home run, his third in as many games, and became the sixth Oriole to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.
Villar set a career high for home runs. He’s stolen 28 bases.
His home run was one of 16 hits for the Orioles, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3, on Sunday to split the four-game series and post a winning homestand.
The last Oriole to be a 20/20 guy was Manny Machado in 2015. Brady Anderson did it three times — 1992, 1996 and 1999.
“That’s very important to me,” Villar said. “That’s a new record for me. Myself, I don’t think about that for now. I’m thinking about finishing hard. I’m happy because it’s my first time hitting 20/20 … You never know, maybe I can make it 30/30.”
Anthony Santander had five hits, including his 13th home run. Renato Nunez had three hits and three RBIs, and DJ Stewart had three hits.
Santander’s five-hit day was the second in 11 days for the Orioles. Nunez had one on August 14 at Yankee Stadium. Before that, the Orioles had gone five years without a five-hit game.
“My mindset is to play aggressive, no matter what, all the way until the end, until the 27th out,” Santander said through a translator. “Thankfully, I was able to get that hit, hustle really hard to first base and got another hit.“
Santander is hitting .286 with an .815 OPS.
“He’s putting together a really nice offensive year,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Love the corner defense he plays as well. To be able to stick him out in center field and do a nice job. I just like Tony’s overall game. I think he’s got a chance to be a really nice player. I’ve said that many times. A switch-hitter that covers the plate that has power from both sides.”
After losing 13 of 14, the Orioles have won four of six, including the last two games against the Rays, who are competing with Cleveland and Oakland for the American League wild-card spots.
“A team that’s playing well,” Hyde said. “We lost the first couple games, to be able to come back and get a split is fantastic. A really good ballclub and team that’s going to be in until the very end.”
The Orioles are 43-88, and need just five wins to surpass the 47 they recorded last year when they lost 115 games. A year ago, they didn’t win their 43rd until their 149th game. They’re 18 games ahead of last year.
Alberto hurting: Hanser Alberto left the game with head and neck discomfort when he collided with Tampa Bay second baseman Eric Sogard in the third inning on a stolen base attempt.
Alberto was originally called safe, but was ruled out after a replay review.
Hyde said that Alberto did not have evidence of a concussion, but did have a head bruise and a cervical/neck strain.
In the eighth, Chris Davis hit for Nunez, who has soreness in the hamstring area, Hyde said, although he didn’t appear concerned that it was serious.
Bundy’s day: Dylan Bundy allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits in five innings. Bundy is 5-13. He hadn’t won in his previous five starts (two losses, three no-decisions).
“It was a battle from pitch one,” Bundy said. “Didn’t really have a slider or curveball, but the two-seamer and split came into play midway through the game, and I think that really helped me out today.”
Bundy did not allow a home run for the second straight game. In his last five starts, he’s given up just two homers. Oriole pitchers have tried to pitch inside more in recent starts.
“Sometimes you can pitch inside and other times you can’t,” Bundy said. “Sometimes you have to rely on off-speed pitches to slow some guys down. But everybody knows this lineup is a tough lineup and they’re aggressive, so you try to take advantage of that.”
Angry bird: Pitching coach Doug Brocail was ejected in the fifth inning by first base umpire John Bacon for arguing about a checked swing call on the Rays’ Avisail Garcia.
Hyde continued the argument with Bacon on the field. It was Brocail’s second ejection this season.
Means placed on leave: John Means, who was the winning pitcher on Saturday night, was placed on the Family Medical Emergency List.
Hyde declined to get into specifics about Means’ leave, but said he hoped that Means would meet the Orioles on Friday when they begin a three-game series in Kansas City. Means lives in suburban Kansas City.
“He’s going through a tough time,” Hyde said. “And we hope he meets us in Kansas City. We’ll see him in Kansas City. I hope he joins us in Kansas City.”
Means’ turn to pitch comes on Friday, and Hyde said he would throw while he’s away from the team.
Tayler Scott was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. The move gives the Orioles a nine-man bullpen since they have off days on Monday and Thursday.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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