Today was an all-around good day for the Baltimore Orioles. First and foremost they defeated the Cleveland Indians. However the Orioles and Orioles fans also got to see center fielder Cedric Mullins smack his first major league home run in the game. Not only that, but it came at a clutch moment.
Not to be overshadowed, Alex Cobb pitched a masterful outing this afternoon; his first complete game in five years. Cobb’s line: 9 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K. I admittedly thought that Cobb should have been lifted for the ninth inning. However Buck Showalter knows better than I. And in the end if the result means anything, it was the right thing to do – leaving him out there, that is.
The Orioles threatened in the third with a couple of runners on base and Jonathan Villar coming to the plate. And Villar gave the Birds a lead they would never surrender with a three-run home run. And save for the sixth inning, Cobb and the Orioles’ defense didn’t appear poised to let Cleveland back in the game. In that sixth inning Cleveland posted an RBI-single by Lindor, and a sac fly-RBI by Brantley.
That made things much tighter than they were at 3-0. However as I said, Mullins’ first big league homer came at a clutch point in the game. He hit it in the eighth on what looked at first to be a pop fly to right field. But it carried all the way out, giving the Orioles a very important insurance run, and an eventual 4-2 victory.
That’s a moment that Cedric Mullins and his family will remember forever. There are certain moments for a ballplayer that always stand out, regardless of how far he goes in his career. Whether you’re a player who fizzled out after just a few years or a Hall of Famer, you always remember your debut, your first big league hit, and your first big league home run. And/or first big league strikeout for a pitcher. So for Mullins, today is very much a historic day and moment.
And he got some very sage advice yesterday from one of the best hitters of his generation, former Cleveland Indian Kenny Lofton. When asked what Lofton told him, Mullins replied (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Just to stay in my game. To self-evaluate myself and just understand what my role is, what my goal is.
I always thought of Lofton as a very gracious player during his career. But it was truly a touch of class for him to go into the visitors’ clubhouse and talk to a young player like Cedric Mullins – one that was about to play against his former team. But I can’t say it totally surprises me, because Lofton was always and still is a class act.
The O’s will have a shot at a series victory tomorrow in the finale at Progressive Field. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.