ARLINGTON -- A night removed from trading outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, Orioles rookie Trey Mancini continued to rake. Mancini, whose ascent relegated Kim to a bench role, homered and drove in two runs in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Rangers.Mancini's second-inning solo blast, followed two batters later by Caleb Joseph's
ARLINGTON -- A night removed from trading outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, Orioles rookie Trey Mancini continued to rake. Mancini, whose ascent relegated Kim to a bench role, homered and drove in two runs in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Rangers.
Mancini's second-inning solo blast, followed two batters later by Caleb Joseph's solo shot, helped move the O's move to six games behind the Kansas City Royals for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Mancini also drove in a run in the third on a groundout and was the only Orioles player with a multi-RBI effort off Rangers starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx.
"Big," Joseph said of how important the team's early runs were. "They came out and gave it to us last night, and we just couldn't claw back. I'm not going to say we took the crowd out of it because they are excited about their third baseman [Adrian Beltre] as they should be. But to get [starter] Kevin [Gausman] some run support early has been good."
Mancini has been a feel-good story for the Orioles since this spring, though perhaps no one but Mancini himself expected him to have this much success this soon. After a terrific Grapefruit League campaign prompted the O's to put him on the Opening Day roster, Mancini had five homers and 12 RBIs in his first 16 games. With chants of "Boom, Boom" when he came to the plate, Mancini played his way into a more regular role over Kim, even earning starts against some lefties.
The 25-year-old entered Saturday's game batting .324/374/.575 in 207 at-bats against righties and .243/.278/.398 in 103 at-bats against lefties.
Mancini -- who is batting .296 overall -- now has 17 homers on the year, which is as many as sluggers Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis.
Mancini ranks third among AL rookies in homers and RBIs (55) and should get consideration on the AL Rookie of the Year Award ballot, though Yankees phenom Aaron Judge appears to be a lock to win.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.