What a chain of events! O's rise with 5 HRs

May 6th, 2022

BALTIMORE -- It took the Orioles a bit of extra time to break out their home run chain, brand new this week. For two days it sat mostly idle, only doled out when Félix Bautista turned in a scoreless outing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, it was handed out twice. On Thursday night, it couldn’t be put away.

That was the kind of series finale Baltimore enjoyed, blasting five solo homers in a 5-3 series-splitting victory over the Twins. It was the first time since June of last season that the O’s launched as many long balls in a game -- and this time at new-look Camden Yards, which has seen its dimensions skew towards pitchers.

“We're playing exciting baseball,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Our record doesn't indicate, for me, the level of how we're playing.”

After hitting just four homers in the first 15 games this season, Baltimore has now hit 14 across its last 11 games.

That dichotomy has been emblematic of the offense in mass, now hammering out 14 runs, 23 hits and eight home runs in the two games since Hyde publicly called out his offense for chasing numbers.

“They've done a great job of staying positive,” Hyde said. “We've had our scuffles, offensively, the first part of the season. I think they've done a great job of staying together. They know that they're better hitters than their numbers have shown early. … The dugout is outstanding, our clubhouse is fantastic. When we go down the first two games of this series, nobody's down. And we played really well the last two games.”

The homer barrage in the finale started and ended with Ryan Mountcastle, slowly breaking out of his early-season slumber. But the show was stolen by Austin Hays.

For starters, Hays provided the difference-making swing, a prodigious blast to left field in the eighth. It was just the second ball hit to “Mount Baltimore” since the O’s pushed back the left-field wall for this season, following Mountcastle’s blast against Boston on April 29.

Hays only got the chain for maybe a minute.

“They put it on me for a second, and then I turned around, and Mounty went oppo,” Hays said. “It was a short-lived stint with the O’s chain tonight.”

But that was merely the encore to his fourth-inning heroics, when he fired a missile home to nab Twins outfielder Max Kepler at the plate in a one-run game.

“One of the better throws from an outfielder I've seen in a long time,” Hyde said.

Hays, for his part, was much more partial to the throw than the homer.

“You hit more home runs than you get assists on the outfield,” he said.

And that was especially true on Thursday night, home run chain and all.