Back home, Orioles beat Blue Jays 7-1 behind Mullins' 2 HRs
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) Cedric Mullins swatted his second home run of the game, then took a curtain call as the fans at Camden Yards twirled orange shirts in celebration.
The Baltimore Orioles are going through a nightmare on the road right now, but back home against Toronto, they gave their crowd plenty to cheer about.
Mullins homered twice and Thomas Eshelman pitched effectively into the fifth inning to help the Orioles snap their eight-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night. The Orioles have dropped 19 games in a row on the road, but they have now won six of their last eight at home.
"What a great night for Cedric," manager Brandon Hyde said. "The crowd was unbelievable tonight. That's the most energy in the ballpark that I've seen here in three years."
Mullins had three hits, including a homer to lead off the bottom of the first and a three-run shot that capped a five-run eighth for Baltimore. Eshelman, called up from the minors to make this start when the Orioles put Bruce Zimmermann on the injured list, held the powerful Blue Jays without a hit until Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered in the fifth.
Eshelman allowed three hits in 4 2/3 innings before being relieved by Tyler Wells (2-0). The Baltimore bullpen did not allow a hit until Cavan Biggio singled with two outs in the ninth.
This was Eshelman's first big league appearance of the year. He had a 6.41 ERA with Triple-A Norfolk.
The Blue Jays have lost five straight.
Robbie Ray (4-3) allowed two runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings, his shortest start of the season. Austin Hays put the Orioles ahead 2-1 with an RBI single in the fifth that chased Ray.
"It was a grind. I felt like I looked up in the first inning after it was over, and I saw 28 pitches, or whatever it was," Ray said. "I felt like it was kind of that way the whole game."
Ray threw 25 pitches in the first and 106 for the game.
Mullins came into the night trailing Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. by one for the American League's hits lead. He singled in the fifth to pass Guerrero, who went 0 for 4.
Freddy Galvis hit an RBI double in the eighth and scored on a single by Maikel Franco. Mullins went deep to make it 7-1, delighting the crowd of 13,284, which had received orange shirts with his No. 31 on them as a giveaway.
"That was awesome. First curtain call ever," Mullins said. "I was kind of nervous to go back out there, but it felt amazing, just to be able to help stretch the lead right there."
The top five hitters in the Toronto batting order went 1 for 19, with only Biggio's late single preventing a hitless night for that group. Manager Charlie Montoyo stressed that his team isn't panicking during this slump.
"I just met with some players," he said. "The vibe is good. I know it's tough for you guys to believe because you're not here, but I'm telling you, we're going to weather the storm, because they think they will."
Blue Jays: Gurriel left the game complaining of back pain.
Orioles: Zimmermann went on the IL before the game with left bicep tendinitis. Hyde said the team is being cautious and giving him time to rest.
Toronto sends Alek Manoah (1-0) to the mound Saturday for his fifth major league start. The Orioles counter with Dean Kremer (0-6).
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Updated June 18, 2021