BALTIMORE—The Orioles couldn’t wait for May to end. Now, they hope that June will continue.
After going 5-23 in May, the Orioles won for the fourth time in five games in June, and they did it convincingly.
Their 18-5 win over the Cleveland Indians before an announced crowd of 9,423 at Oriole Park on Sunday gave them consecutive series wins at home for the first time in more than three years. They displayed power, speed and small ball in their latest win.
“There’s one thing this team the last few years has always done, and it’s responded,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s something I’m very proud of is how many tough losses we’ve had over the last couple of years, and how our team continues to play hard and show up the next day, ready to play. It didn’t surprise me.”
Centerfielder Cedric Mullins, who had five hits on Saturday, had three more, including a leadoff home run. Mullins followed with a single and double. He was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple in the fourth. In the fifth inning he walked before finally making an out.
“There’s a lot of confidence involved with me being on the tear that I am right now,” Mullins said. “I want to spread that confidence as much as I can to the rest of the team.”
Mullins tied Charles Johnson with nine consecutive at-bats with a hit, the second most in team history. Mullins also had a single in his last at-bat on Friday night. He walked in both the fifth and seventh before flying out to left in the eighth.
“You never foresee a guy getting on base 11 times in a row,” Hyde said. “His at-bats are so good.”
Mullins was one hit away from equaling Ken Singleton’s 1981 club record of 10 consecutive at-bats with a hit, a mark he was unaware of.
“Not a single person prior to that at-bat told me anything, probably for good reason,” Mullins said. “I choked it anyway, but it’s OK.”
Mullins said he found out about his achievement after the game.
“Everyone was giving me high-fives,” Mullins said. “I still had no idea what was going on. I had a good run.”
The Orioles (21-38) scored their most runs since August 16, 2015 and had three huge innings — a six-run second and five runs in both the fourth and seventh.
The second featured catcher Austin Wynns’ first hit and RBI, Mullins’ RBI single and two runs scoring when Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill (0-2) threw Trey Mancini’s bouncer home with the bases loaded. Anthony Santander added a two-run double.
In the fourth, after Mullins was thrown out and Mancini struck out, six consecutive singles led to five runs. On consecutive at-bats Santander and Freddy Galvis scored on infield hits from second base.
Ryan Mountcastle’s shattered-bat single to short gave Santander enough time to score. DJ Stewart grounded into the shift, and Cleveland (31-26) reliever Sam Hentges was late to first base in receiving the relay. Hentges looked down after Stewart crossed first and didn’t see Galvis’ dash home.
Maikel Franco singled for two runs, and Ramón Urias drove Franco in with the 12th run.
In the seventh, Santander delivered his third hit and RBI. Galvis had an RBI single, Mountcastle an RBI double and Ryan McKenna a two-run single. Urias hit his second home run of the year in the eighth. Mountcastle and Stewart also had three hits.
“When you have days like this, you relish them,” Hyde said. “We don’t have many blowout wins.”
Starting pitcher Jorge López (2-6) was the beneficiary of the offense. He recorded his first win since April 16th and had gone eight starts with a victory.
López allowed three runs on four hits in five innings. Hunter Harvey worked a scoreless sixth, Tyler Wells pitched a spotless seventh, and Zac Lowther gave up Bobby Bradley’s two-run home run in the ninth.
Lowther, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, was optioned back to the Tides after it.
Means’ update: John Means’ MRI showed no structural damage and was diagnosed with a left shoulder strain.
“It’s very, very similar to what he had in 2019,” Hyde said. “It’s pretty much a sore shoulder, and we’re going to shut him down for a week-to-10 days and see how he responds to treatment and go from there.”
More Mullins: Mullins’ home run was his second leadoff home run of the season, the fifth of his career. On Saturday, Mullins became the third Oriole to have multiple five-hit games in a season. Luis Aparicio had three in 1966, and Tommy Davis had two in 1974. It was the seventh time in team history an Oriole had five hits and two home runs in a game. J.J. Hardy was the most recent n May 6, 2012.
Johnson’s nine straight at-bats with a hit was from September 13-17, 1999.
Notes: The Orioles play two games with the New York Mets on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bruce Zimmermann (3-3, 4.96 ERA) and Matt Harvey (3-6, 6.62) will face David Peterson (1-4, 5.89) and Taijuan Walker (4-2, 2.17). … Left-hander Brandon Waddell, who was designated for assignment by the Orioles on Friday, was claimed on waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals. Waddell pitched one scoreless inning for the Orioles after he was claimed from Minnesota last month. … The Orioles last won consecutive home series on May 8-13, 2018 against Kansas City and Tampa Bay.