BALTIMORE—For nearly four weeks, the Orioles managed to play well without Cedric Mullins. On May 30th, their centerfielder suffered a right groin strain, and the team was able to withstand his absence.
Now, they hope they don’t have to do it again. Mullins left the game with right quadriceps tightness in the second inning of the Orioles’ 6-5 win over the Miami Marlins before an announced crowd of 28,593 at Camden Yards on Saturday night.
“We’ll check on it tomorrow. We hope we caught a break there,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He feels like it was tightening up on him a little bit.”
Mullins was on first base when he injured himself when Jordan Westburg lined a foul ball to right field.
“Fortunately, that ball was foul, so he didn’t have to extend himself to try to score,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, he’s OK.”
The Orioles (56-35) won their seventh straight game, equaling their seven-game run from April 16th-24th, and they came from behind for the 33rd time this season.
Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Gunnar Henderson led off by homering against Huascar Brazoban (3-2). With one out, Austin Hays and Adley Rutschman singled, and Anthony Santander followed with a single that scored Hays, and the Orioles led, 6-5.
“No matter what the score is, we can come back and we just string together a lot of good at-bats, just get people on base. We’re dangerous with guys on base,” Henderson said.
Mike Baumann (6-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Kyle Gibson.
“We’re looking for guys to get outs in those middle innings right now,” Hyde said. “He did a great job in the sixth and the seventh of keeping the score tight there.”
Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth, and Félix Bautista worked a perfect ninth for his 25th save.
Gibson allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Orioles previous eight starts had been six innings or more, the most since May 2015.
“My job is to keep the team in the game and give the team a chance to win,” Gibson said. “The offense made that possible tonight.”
Miami (53-41) scored four runs on five singles and a fielder’s choice against Gibson in the second. Jesus Sánchez, playing right field, collided with centerfielder Dane Myers as he caught Santander’s fly ball to end the bottom of the first. He began the second with a single off Gibson’s left foot.
Three straight singles followed, and Myers grounded to second, and Westburg threw home, and Jean Segura scored the third run before Luis Arraez’s single scored Joey Wendle, and it was 4-0.
Arraez, who leads the majors with a .386 average, had four hits, three singles and a double.
“I know Gunnar had that big swing in the seventh inning, but his defense probably kept me in the game for as long as I was,” Gibson said.
In the bottom of the second, Ryan Mountcastle led off with a double, his first extra-base hit since May 27th. Braxton Garrett walked Aaron Hicks, and Mullins singled to score Mountcastle.
After Mullins’ injury, Westburg struck out and Henderson grounded to first, Jorge Mateo tripled to score Hicks, and it was 4-3 after two.
Colton Cowser replaced Mullins in center.
Bryan De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly in the fourth gave Miami a 5-3 lead.
In the fifth, the Orioles scored on Rutschman’s double and Santander’s RBI single.
“The last seven games, we’ve played as good as we have in a long time,” Gibson said. “This was a time that if we go on a streak, it can do a lot for the team confidence and put you in such a good spot for the playoffs that it really becomes yours to lose, and I think that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re playing really good baseball at the right time.”
Note: Kyle Bradish (5-4, 3.32) will start for the Orioles on Sunday. Miami will use an opener, Steven Okert (3-0, 2.43). Okert retired all four batters he faced on Saturday night.
Minor league update: Garrett Stallings (1-2) allowed six runs on six hits in two innings in Triple-A Norfolk’s 10-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Rightfielder Heston Kjerstad had two hits and raised his average to .327.
Four Double-A Bowie pitchers combined on a one-hitter in the Baysox’s 1-0 win over Akron. Alex Pham pitched four innings of hitless ball. Cionel Pérez, in the first game of a rehab assignment, followed with 1 2/3 hitless innings, walking one and striking out three. Pérez is on the 15-day injured list with left forearm stiffness.
Ryan Long (1-0) allowed the only Rubberducks hit in 2 1/3 innings, and Conner Loeprich pitched a spotless ninth for the save.
Rightfielder Billy Cook led off with his 11th homer, and shortstop Jackson Holliday had three hits in his second game for Bowie.
Catcher Creed Willems drove in two runs as High-A Aberdeen beat Wilmington, 3-2.
Single-A Delmarva’s game with Salem was suspended in the fourth inning with the Shorebirds trailing 3-1. The game will be resumed on Sunday before the regularly scheduled one.
Question time: I’ll be answering Orioles questions next week. Please email them to: [email protected].
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