BALTIMORE—After a fruitless road trip, the Orioles came home and played a tight, disciplined game, ending their eight-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays before 13,284 at Oriole Park on Friday night.
On the night T-shirts with his name and number were handed out to fans, Cedric Mullins led off the first with his 10th home run of the season, his third leadoff homer, and the Orioles took a 1-0 lead.
Mullins closed out the scoring with a three-run home run in the Orioles’ five-run eighth, and fans demanded the first curtain call of the season.
“That was awesome. First curtain call ever,” Mullins said. “I was kind of nervous to go back out there, but it felt amazing.
“It was just a surreal moment. It was awesome to be able to walk back up.”
The evening didn’t start on a good note. Scheduled starter Bruze Zimmermann was scratched and placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, because of left biceps tendinitis. Thomas Eshelman got the call, even though he was 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in six games with Norfolk.
He then sailed through 4 1/3 innings against the heavy-hitting Blue Jays without allowing a hit.
“I was pretty frustrated myself with the way things were down there,” Eshelman said. “For me to get an opportunity to get back up here, I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to stay here, and this is a good one to build off of.”
Lourdes Gurriel’s home run with one out in the fifth was Toronto’s first hit, and it tied the score at 1. Joe Panik and Santiago Espina singled, and Riley Adams hit into a force play. Tyler Wells got a strikeout to end the threat after replacing Eshelman, who allowed one run on three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The Orioles (23-46) made Toronto left-hander Robbie Ray (4-3) work for his outs. In 4 2/3 innings, he allowed two runs on six hits and threw 106 pitches.
Pat Valaika and Mullins started the fifth with singles, and both moved up a base on Trey Mancini’s long fly to center. Austin Hays singled to left to score Valaika and give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
Wells (2-0) retired all four batters he faced, Tanner Scott pitched a scoreless seventh, and Hunter Harvey, who pitched in the eighth inning for the first time this season, retired all three Toronto (33-35) batters he faced. Paul Fry worked the ninth. Oriole relievers allowed one hit in 4 1/3 innings.
“Our pitchers really pitched well against a really good lineup, a really good ballclub,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It was nice to tack on runs late.”
In the bottom of the eighth, the Orioles added two runs against Patrick Murphy. Ryan Mountcastle began the inning with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on Anthony Santander’s infield out. Mountcastle scored on Freddy Galvis’ double off the right-field scoreboard, and Maikel Franco’s single drove in Galvis for a 4-1 lead.
Then came Mullins’ second home run. It was his third multi-home run game this season.
“The dugout erupted, and what a great night for Cedric,” Hyde said. “The crowd was unbelievable tonight. It’s the most energy I’ve seen in the ballpark here in three years.”
Notes: Mullins, who is 10th in the voting for the American League All-Star team, said he’s aware of the chatter. “It’s kind of hard to ignore with people continuing to bring it up,” he said. “Once the ump say,s ‘play ball,’ you try to put it aside and figure a way to help to win that day and the All-Star Game, it is what it is.” … Dean Kremer (0-6, 6.65 ERA) will face Alek Manoah (1-0, 2.66) on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. … Mullins has been hit in three straight games, tying a club record. It’s been done seven times, the last by Jonathan Schoop from July 5-8, 2016.
Minor Matters: Zac Lowther pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking one and striking out six in Triple-A Norfolk’s 4-3 loss to Durham. Shawn Armstrong allowed four unearned runs on a grand slam by Shawn Kelly. Tides rightfielder Zach Jarrett had two hits, including his fourth home runs.
Gray Fenter allowed one hit in five shutout innings, walking two and striking out three as Double-A Bowie lost to the Akron Rubberducks, 5-1, in 12 innings. Tyler Joyner allowed four runs, one unearned, in the 12th.
Rightfielder Yusniel Diaz went 1-for-5 with an RBI in his fourth rehab game.
Kyle Brnovich gave up one hit in 5 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven as High-A Aberdeen beat Asheville, 3-2. Brnovich was one of four pitchers acquired by the Orioles from the Los Angeles Angels in the December 2019 trad for Dylan Bundy.
Designated hitter J.D. Mundy had a two-run home run.
Low-A Delmarva was held to two hits in their 5-4 loss to Salem. Brandon Young allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings of relief.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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