ANAHEIM -- It was sometime during Spring Training that Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, forecasting his first season at the helm, predicted that speed and defense would define his new team more than power. Hyde wasn’t wrong. Through 104 games, the Orioles rank among baseball’s bottom-third in terms of team home runs.
But over the past week and a half, they’ve used the long ball power to carve out some space in the record books all the same.
By getting home runs from Pedro Severino and Jonathan Villar in Saturday’s exhilarating 8-7 win over the Angels, the Orioles became the first team in Major League history to homer at least twice in 10 consecutive games. For Severino, his two-run third-inning shot off Dillon Peters highlighted a 4-hit, 4 RBI night. For Villar, the solo tater off Trevor Cahill in the sixth and marked the second in three games for the potential trade candidate.
Together, they broke the previous mark of nine, done five other times. Two of those came from Baltimore clubs, from 1987 and 1996. The Orioles, winners of three straight and seven of 10, have hit 21 home runs total during their current streak.
“Our offense, even though we don’t have guys who played in multiple All-Star Games up and down our lineup, we do manufacture runs,” Hyde said. “We score runs. We hit homers. What I like is, I think our guys are getting better over the course of the season and are taking better at-bats than they did the first couple of months and understanding how to win here, understanding how to score runs. That, for me, has been impressive.”
Consider Severino a prime example. A career .187 hitter with four career homers entering this season, Severino has broken out to the tune of a .279 average and a .822 OPS, given the chance to play regularly. His homer Saturday -- a two-run shot off Dillon Peters that put Baltimore ahead in the third -- was Severino’s 10th of the year, five times his previous career high. In tandem with Chance Sisco, he’s been a part of what’s quietly become one of the more productive offensive catching units in baseball.
“There are a lot of young guys with talent,” said Severino, whose four hits and four RBIs matched career highs. “We have over here, and in the second half, we’ve looked much better.”
That’s true of the Orioles as a whole, their offense suddenly clicking in the season’s second half. They needed a lot of it in Saturday’s back-and-forth affair, their second with the Angels in a span of three nights. Severino put the Orioles ahead with his two-run single in the first and homer in the third; Villar did the same by turning around Cahill in the sixth.
But given the lead four times, Baltimore thrice gave it back. Starter Aaron Brooks allowed game-tying homers to Mike Trout in the first and Shohei Ohtani in the third; Albert Pujols knotted it up again with a solo shot off Miguel Castro in the sixth.
That set the stage for Baltimore’s game-winning rally in the eighth, which Villar started with his third hit and Hanser Alberto punctuated with a two-run single off Ty Buttrey. After the Angels clawed back with a run in the ninth, Mychal Givens, a trade candidate himself, got Justin Upton to pop out to strand the bases loaded. Baltimore is averaging 5.85 runs per game in the second half.
"I think we’re doing a lot of good things offensively,” Hyde said.