Mullins' astounding run has O's speechless

Leadoff man gets hits in 9 straight ABs -- 1 shy of club mark -- in dazzling weekend display

June 6th, 2021

What’s it like when your entire weekend is a highlight reel? Ask .

The Orioles’ center fielder can attest after he spent Sunday’s 18-5 victory completing a banner series against the Indians, during which he dazzled on both sides of the ball and approached Baltimore’s record for hits in consecutive at-bats. Mullins reached base in 11 consecutive plate appearances and hit safely in nine straight at-bats dating back to Friday night, after he followed Saturday's 5-for-5 performance by going 3-for-4 with two walks in the finale at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Mullins flied out to left field in the eighth to fall one hit short of matching Ken Singleton’s club record of 10 consecutive, set from April 26-28, 1981. Dustin Pedroia and Bernie Williams hold the all-time mark of 11 straight, while Mullins’ nine tied Charles Johnson (Sept. 17-19, 1999) for the second-longest streak in Orioles history.

“What he’s doing right now, I don’t have words for it,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s doing a little bit of absolutely everything right now.”

Mullins’ contributions Sunday came as part of a team-wide barrage, as he finished a triple short of the cycle while the Orioles set season highs in runs and hits. He homered off Cal Quantrill in the first, singled home a run off Quantrill in the second and doubled against Sam Hentges in the fourth before walking in his next two plate appearances.

Meanwhile, the Orioles feasted on Indians pitching, posting rallies of six runs in the second and five in the fourth and seventh. Their 18 runs were their most in a single game since Aug. 16, 2015, against the A’s. Their 21 hits were their most since Aug. 30, 2019, against the Royals.

“There is a lot of confidence involved with being on the tear I am right now,” Mullins said. “I want to continue to spread that confidence to the rest of the team as much as I can.”

Said Hyde: “When you have days like this, you relish in the moment.”

The result was the most dominant victory of the Orioles’ rebuild, and further evidence of Mullins’ emergence as one of its main stars. He now leads the American League in hits (73) and ranks second in fWAR (2.7), third in hitting (.322) and eighth in OPS (.923) as of Sunday’s final out. He also owns his own little place in Orioles history, courtesy of this weekend’s streak.

Here is a look at it in its entirety:

1. Friday
At-bat: 4th of game, 1st of streak
Opposing pitcher: RHP Nick Wittgren
Result: Single

Mullins’ streak began inauspiciously, when he singled to left off Wittgren in the eighth inning of Friday’s 3-1 win. The knock extended Mullins’ modest four-game hit streak at the time, and it helped the Orioles set up a late insurance run. But nobody knew what it would lead to.

2. Saturday
At-bat: 1st of game, 2nd of streak
Opposing pitcher: RHP Aaron Civale
Result: Single

Saturday’s 10-4 defeat began concerningly for the Orioles, with John Means exiting in the top of the first with a shoulder strain. Mullins helped the O’s get on the board in the bottom of the inning, singling and scoring on Freddy Galvis’ base knock. It began Mullins’ career-best day at the plate.

3. Saturday
At-bat: 2nd of game, 3rd of streak
Opposing pitcher: Civale
Result: Home run

Mullins homered 440 feet to right-center field off Civale in the third, the solo shot marking the longest home run of his career and tying the longest by an Oriole in 2021, albeit briefly. Two innings later, Ryan Mountcastle claimed that distinction with a 447-foot blast, also off Civale.

4. Saturday
At-bat: 3rd of game, 4th of streak
Opposing pitcher: Civale
Result: Home run

Whereas Mullins’ third-inning homer was a rainbow, his fifth-inning solo shot was a frozen rope: 108.8 mph off the bat, tucked just beyond the right-field scoreboard. It was the hardest-hit homer of Mullins’ career, and it marked his second multihomer game in 2021. Mullins is the only Oriole to accomplish that so far.

5. Saturday
At-bat: 4th of game, 5th of streak
Opposing pitcher: RHP Bryan Shaw
Result: Single

Nothing fancy here: Facing veteran reliever Shaw with two outs and the bases empty in the seventh, Mullins pulled an 0-1 cutter into right field for another clean single.

6. Saturday
At-bat: 5th of game, 6th of streak
Opposing pitcher: RHP Emmanuel Clase
Result: Single

Only one time during the streak did Mullins hit the ball on the ground, when he pulled Clase’s 99.7-mph fastball into right field in the ninth inning. It gave Mullins his second five-hit game of the season and placed him in some rarefied company. He became only the third Oriole to ever hit multiple homers as part of a 5-for-5 (or better) day, joining Cal Ripken Jr. (who was in attendance at Oriole Park on Sunday) and Brooks Robinson.

7. Sunday
At-bat: 1st of game, 7th of streak
Opposing pitcher: RHP Cal Quantrill
Result: Home run

The Orioles scored early and often off Indians pitching, using a six-run rally in the second and five-run rallies in the fourth and seventh to set a season high in runs. Mullins sparked it all in the first, yanking his fifth career leadoff homer and third tater in his past five at-bats.

“That was just so impressive,” Hyde said.

8. Sunday
At-bat: 2nd of game, 8th of streak
Opposing pitcher: Quantrill
Result: Single

This was Mullins’ least likely hit of the streak, a 257-foot bloop that Cleveland center fielder Harold Ramirez let drop in as part of the Orioles’ six-run second inning. Mullins’ streak likely would’ve ended had Ramirez gotten a better jump: the ball had just a 10 percent hit probability, per Statcast.

9. Sunday
At-bat: 3rd of game, 9th of streak
Opposing pitcher: LHP Sam Hentges
Result: Double

Mullins’ only left-on-left hit of the streak came in Sunday’s fourth inning, when he rocketed Hentges’ 1-1 curve into the right-center-field gap. He was thrown out at third trying to stretch the play, but no matter. The Orioles still scored five runs in the frame.

Mullins walked in his next two plate appearances, against righty Trevor Stephan in the fifth and lefty Kyle Nelson in the seventh, delaying his run at history.

“Not a single person told me anything [about the streak], probably for good reason,” Mullins said. “I think it’ll hit me a little later. Right now I’m still in celebration mode with the team win.”

10. Sunday
At-bat: 4th (official) of game
Opposing pitcher: Wittgren
Result: Flyout

Unaware of what he’d achieved, Mullins was surprised to receive a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 9,423 and his own dugout after flying out against Wittgren in the ninth. It was the first time he’d been retired in three days, a span of 19 offensive innings.

“Our dugout was very aware, and that’s why our guys recognized him the way they did,” Hyde said.