BALTIMORE -- When the Orioles extended a qualifying offer to catcher Matt Wieters in the offseason, it wasn't a given that the veteran catcher would return to Baltimore. Prior to this past offseason, none of the 34 players given a qualifying offer had ever accepted it.But Wieters did. And in
BALTIMORE -- When the Orioles extended a qualifying offer to catcher Matt Wieters in the offseason, it wasn't a given that the veteran catcher would return to Baltimore. Prior to this past offseason, none of the 34 players given a qualifying offer had ever accepted it.
But Wieters did. And in the O's 8-6 win in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday, he proved why Orioles fans should be thankful he's donning orange for at least one more season. Wieters belted two homers to right field for his first multi-homer game since Sept. 16, 2012, and the fifth of his career.
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"It always feels good to hit the barrel, so that's what I'm focusing on now," Wieters said. "It's just trying to hit the barrel as many times as possible. I was able to get a couple of pitches up and get them to go out."
Wieters has come up clutch multiple times for the Orioles this season, beginning on Opening Day, when he helped the Orioles secure a 3-2 win with a walk-off single.
Wieters entered Saturday night's game batting .406 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in late and close situations, which is a plate appearance in the seventh inning or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.
Though Wieters' fourth-inning two-run blast doesn't fall into the criteria, it pulled the Orioles within a run, proving key in their comeback effort. Plus, he added insurance for closer Zach Britton with his solo shot in the eighth.
"He's won ... it seems five or six games with huge hits," manager Buck Showalter said. "Matt's been doing that for a lot of the season. He's had a lot of pick-us-up hits. That's why we were so excited when we were able to get him back with us this year."
Wieters' homer in the fourth inning, which traveled 414 feet, per Statcast™, landed on Eutaw Street. It was his second career blast onto the pavement in front of the warehouse beyond right field.
The Eutaw Street shot was just the third by an Oriole this season and 37th all-time by an O's player.
"I'll take it," Wieters said. "I don't have too many, so I'll take each one I can get."
Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.