BALTIMORE—On the first anniversary of the death of one of the most passionate Oriole fans, Trey Mancini hit a big home run and was part of a huge comeback that gave his team an exciting win.
Mancini’s evening began by catching a ceremonial first pitch from Sonsy Gaba, the mother of the late Mo Gaba, who died a year ago from cancer at age 14. Gaba will be inducted posthumously into the Orioles’ Hall of Fame on August 7th, and Mancini, who was especially close to the teenager, delivered a special performance.
Mancini led of the third inning with a home run and drew an intentional walk in the ninth inning, one of four walks issued to the Orioles that gave them an 8-7 win over the Miami Marlins before an announced crowd of 8,363 at Camden Yards on Wednesday night.
“It was obviously tough, being the anniversary of Mo’s passing,” Mancini said. “It was great to see Sonsy, and she said, ‘Play hard for Mo. Hit one for him.’
“She told me where she was sitting, so after I did hit the home run, I wanted to wave to her there. It was a really cool moment.
“I thought about Mo a lot all day. I can’t believe it’s been a year since we lost him. I think with his energy and his happiness and the happiness that he brought to others it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. It did mean a lot, and I miss him every day.”
The Orioles (35-65) fell behind by five runs in the second inning but battled back.
Ryan McKenna, who scored the winning run in Sunday’s come-from-behind victory, drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth
Cedric Mullins led off the ninth with a walk against Steven Okert (0-1). Mullins advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Hays. Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle were walked intentionally, and McKenna drew a walk on a full count, scoring Mullins.
The Orioles (35-65) go to Detroit and New York for seven games with a 7-4 record since the All-Star break.
Tanner Scott (4-4) recorded two crucial outs in the ninth inning.
Baltimore starter Jorge López was in trouble immediately. Miguel Rojas led off with a single and, with one out, Jesús Aguilar doubled as the ball hit off Mullins’ glove in center field to score Rojas.
With two outs, Brian Anderson thought López hit him with a pitch, but after a replay review, the call was overturned. It benefitted Miami because Anderson singled to right. DJ Stewart’s throw home was weak, and it rolled toward the plate as the Marlins took a 2-0 lead.
Miami loaded the bases, but Lewis Brinson struck out to end the inning.
Rojas doubled with one out in the second and scored on Isan Diaz’s single. Aguilar’s 18th home run put the Orioles behind, 5-0.
López’s night ended after two innings, and Thomas Eshelman relieved him.
The Orioles scored three runs against Jordan Holloway in the bottom of the second. Stewart and Ramón Urías walked. Pedro Severino homered to center, his sixth of the year, to make it 5-3.
Mancini led off the third with his 19th home run, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
With the trade deadline coming at 4 p.m. on Friday, Mancini’s name hasn’t figured prominently, and it’s not something he’s concerned about.
“I didn’t think about that at all, about it being possibly my last [home] game,” Mancini. “It didn’t really cross my mind.
“I don’t think it is my last game here. I haven’t really had any anxiousness or anything like that this week. I’ve tried to be better about that. It can be a lot on your mind. It’s something you don’t control, and I’ve said that before. I expect to stay here. I hope to, but at the same time, I obviously understand that there’s a bigger picture than just myself. I’m honored and humbled either way. It’s just something I haven’t given much thought to.”
After Stewart walked with one out, former Oriole David Hess replaced Holloway, and Stewart advanced to second on a passed ball by catcher Jorge Alfaro. He scored on a double by Urías to tie the score, 5-5.
Eshelman walked Isan Diaz and Aguilar to begin the fourth. After Adam Duvall singled to load the bases, Anderson was hit by a pitch to score Diaz. Aguilar scored on a groundout by Lewin Diaz to give Miami a 7-5 lead.
Hess pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing one hit.
In the bottom of the fifth, against former Orioles minor leaguer Zach Pop, Mountcastle beat out an infield single with one out. He tried to score on a double by Stewart but was thrown out at the plate.
Pop, who came to the Orioles from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Manny Machado trade, was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft, and immediately traded to Miami.
Another former Oriole, Preston Guilmet, who pitched in 10 games in 2014, threw a perfect sixth in his Marlins debut.
After John Curtiss retired the four batters he faced, yet another former Oriole, Richard Bleier, walked McKenna, who advanced to third on a double by Urías. Severino grounded to first and, after Lewin Diaz retired him, he threw to third to try to nab McKenna, who had come halfway home.
Anderson couldn’t come up with the throw, and McKenna scored. Maikel Franco’s RBI single scored Urías, and it was 7-7 after eight.
“I thought we had really good at-bats early in the game,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Then we hit a lull there for a while, but our bullpen kept us right there. The game started out a little bit, but it’s nice to see a rally there in the ninth inning.”
Minor league update: Leftfielder Robert Neustrom hit a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give Triple-A Norfolk a 4-3 win over Durham in the first game of a doubleheader.
Shortstop Mason McCoy also homered. Kyle Bradish allowed one unearned run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Tides completed a sweep with a 2-0 win in the second game. Kevin Smith and Nick Vespi (1-0) combined on a seven-inning one-hitter.
Brandon Young (0-1) allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings as High-A Aberdeen lost to Bowling Green, 7-5.
Third baseman Jacob Westburg, shortstop Gunnar Henderson, second baseman Andrew Martinez and pinch-hitter Dylan Harris each homered for the IronBirds.
Low-A Delmarva scored five runs in the 10th in their 13-8 win over Fredericksburg. Leftfielder Lamar Sparks had three hits.