Mullins: Double-A in '19, ASG starter in '21

CF logs 5 frames with glove, scores run to aid AL's 8th straight victory

July 14th, 2021

They came strolling down the carpet outside Coors Field like a unit, shoulder-to-shoulder, three generations of Mullins in their sharpest dress. For Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, his first All-Star Game was a family affair, and they enjoyed it in style.

Donning suits, ballroom gowns and designer sunglasses, Mullins and his family made their entrance known before the American League’s 5-2 win over the National League on Tuesday in Denver, where nine members of the Mullins' clan descended from their North Carolina homes. The group included Mullins’ grandmother, whom he convinced to make the trip despite her fear of flying.

They watched Mullins make an impact despite going hitless in the AL’s eighth consecutive Midsummer Classic win. Batting ninth and starting in center field for the Junior Circuit, Mullins struck out against Brewers righty Corbin Burnes in his first at-bat in the third and reached on an error by the Giants' Brandon Crawford in his second at-bat in the fifth. Mullins later scored the AL’s fourth run on an RBI single by the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts off Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers, who also allowed Mullins’ infield grounder three batters prior.

All told, Mullins played five full innings and handled the one fly ball sent his way defensively before he was replaced by the Rangers' Adolis García in the sixth.

During the Stand Up to Cancer segment between the fifth and sixth innings, Mullins honored teammate Trey Mancini (as did Blue Jays slugger, and eventual Chevrolet All-Star Game MVP, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.), who famously defeated Stage 3 colon cancer last season. Mullins was a constant supporting presence on Mancini’s side Monday night during Mancini’s gripping run to the Home Run Derby finals, despite his eventual loss to champion Pete Alonso.

Starting in place of the injured Mike Trout a day later, Mullins became the first Orioles outfielder to start the Midsummer Classic since Adam Jones in 2014.

The honor was the culmination of a remarkable career turnaround executed by Mullins over the past two years, and one of the most productive first halves of any player in baseball. Demoted all the way to Double-A two years ago, Mullins remade his swing and broke out as one of the best leadoff hitters in the game this season, hitting .314/.380/.541 with 23 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, 35 RBIs, 16 steals and 3.7 WAR during the first half. He’ll enter the second half leading the AL in hits (106) and among the leaders in a slew of other offensive categories.

The Orioles open the second half Friday in Kansas City.