O's rock Mullins' shirsey, then he goes off

June 6th, 2021

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Orioles outfielder took the field for batting practice before Saturday’s matchup with the Indians wearing an orange T-shirt jersey with his name and number on the back. As another player emerged from the dugout, so did another Mullins shirsey ... and another, and another.

The whole team wore the fan giveaway -- scheduled for June 18 -- in support of the slugger. With All-Star balloting ramping up, the outfielder has made quite the case to appear in his first All-Star Game.

"No, I didn't really know that was gonna happen," said Mullins of the pregame attire. "But the guys were pretty excited for it. As you saw, everybody cut the sleeves off and wanted to enjoy the day. And it was fun. We had a fun time out there."

Only one player wore the No. 31 jersey when it came time for Saturday's game -- a 10-4 loss -- and he made the most of it. He went 5-for-5 for the second time in his career and recorded his second multi-homer game this season. Mullins smashed the first homer 440 feet over the right-center-field wall in the third inning, and the second left his bat at 108.8 mph in the fifth inning.

He is the first Oriole to record multiple multi-homer games this season. In 2020, just two members of the O's posted two such games (Anthony Santander and Renato Núñez). Mullins has been a driving force in games the Orioles have won, recording a hit in all but one of the team's 20 wins this season, including the 3-1 victory over Cleveland on Friday.

Mullins now owns a six-game hitting streak and leads the O’s with 70 hits. As of the end of Saturday's game, he led the American League and sat third in the Majors in knocks. His 25 extra-base hits are also the most among his teammates -- Trey Mancini has 24 -- and Mullins leads the team in both doubles (14) and triples (3).

With ace John Means leading the AL in wins above replacement, according to Baseball Reference, the Orioles could be sending two players to the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2016.

Some winning fun facts
The Orioles entered the bottom of the sixth inning of Friday’s game trailing 1-0. For just the third time this season, the team won when trailing that late in a game. The win also marked just the second time this season that the O’s have won a series opener at home.

A major contributor to what is now a three-game win streak has been the offense’s ability to hit with runners in scoring position. Since June 1, Baltimore has hit .308 with RISP. Small sample size aside, that average ranks seventh in MLB. The O’s season average (.221) with RISP ranks second-lowest in the AL.

Manager Brandon Hyde has seen some shifts in his team’s attitude, which is natural when you start to win. As encouraged as he is by his team, he doesn’t think anything has really changed. The Orioles are who they are, but now they have a few more wins under their belt.

“I've always been impressed with the guys in our clubhouse and the coaching staff, setting the tone,” said Hyde. “Kind of a consistent mindset. Our clubhouse has always been good. But, when you're winning, it tends to be a little more talkative. Music is always a little bit louder. The food always tastes a little bit better.”