Red-hot Cedric Mullins, Orioles aim for .500 vs. Mariners


Cedric Mullins had to give up batting right-handed to get it right.

And he’s been a revelation for the Baltimore Orioles atop their batting order.

Mullins, who abandoned switch-hitting this past offseason to strictly bat from the left side, had three hits Monday — including a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning off Mariners left-hander Anthony Misiewicz — as the Orioles defeated the host Seattle Mariners 5-3.

The three-game series continues Tuesday night at T-Mobile Park.

Mullins leads the majors with 38 hits and the homer, his fifth of the season, gave him a career-high.

“It’s good to finally come to terms with the kind of player I am,” said Mullins, “and it’s showing on the field.”

Mullins also shares the MLB lead with 10 doubles and is leads the Orioles in batting average (.333) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.942).

Not bad for a guy who was demoted all the way to Double-A Bowie after going 6-for-64 to start the 2019 season.

“He has come a long way in two years in every aspect,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s obviously really comfortable now, and he knows he’s a good major league player.”

With a victory Tuesday, the Orioles could reach the .500 mark. Considering they lost more than 100 games in each of the past two full seasons — they went 25-35 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign — that’s an accomplishment.

Orioles right-hander Jorge Lopez (1-3, 7.48 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday against Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn (1-0, 3.98).

Lopez, who has completed five innings in just one of five starts this season, is 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two previous appearances against Seattle, including one start.

Dunn has faced the Orioles once before, on April 15 in the second game of a doubleheader in Baltimore. Dunn earned a 2-1 victory by allowing just one run on two hits in five innings, with two walks and six strikeouts.

The Mariners could use a lengthy outing from Dunn.

With Mariners ace Marco Gonzales on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm strain, manager Scott Servais used seven relievers in Monday’s game to fill Gonzales’ spot in the rotation.

The first five held the Orioles scoreless on four hits through seven innings before Mullins and Freddy Galvis homered in the eighth.

“You never know what is going to happen in a bullpen game,” Servais said. “When you use that many, it’s hard for all of them to be perfect when they go out there.”

The Orioles’ DJ Stewart was originally in the lineup Monday in right field, but was a late scratch because of lower back soreness.

Hyde said Stewart was considered day-to-day and the injury wasn’t related to Stewart running into an outfield awning on Saturday in Oakland.

Stewart opened the season on the injured list with a hamstring strain.

“I’ve honestly never been hurt, like, my entire life until I got to pro ball,” Stewart said last weekend. “It’s kind of like all those injuries that I’ve avoided my entire life kind of just been back to back in professional baseball.”

–Field Level Media

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