Mancini has two-homer day, Britton talks about his injury

TORONTO - A day that started with concern for the Orioles over closer Zach Britton ended with that concern eased a bit. A barrage of home runs and taking three of four from the Blue Jays didn’t hurt.

Trey Mancini produced his second two-homer game over his last three games as the Orioles pounded the Blue Jays 11-4 in front of 38,188 at Rogers Centre.

The Orioles are 4-2 on this road trip, 5-1 on the season against Toronto, and improved their American League East-leading record to 8-3.

Mancini hit a laser shot for a three-run homer in the sixth that turned a 1-0 lead into 4-0 score. Two innings later, he blasted a solo home run to center.

According to baseball-reference.com, Mancini is the third player in big league history to homer seven times in their first 12 Major League games. Trevor Story did that last year and Dino Restelli did it in 1949. Mancini hit three in five games last season and has four in seven games this year. Story hit seven homers in his first 10 games in 2016, and now Mancini joins him and Restelli as players with seven through a dozen games.

“It’s humbling to hear that,” Mancini said. “Especially with how many legends have played the game. To make your mark in any way is really neat.”

The kid is swinging such a power bat right now that other players grabbed an extra Mancini-model bat after his second homer. Craig Gentry and Manny Machado each proceeded to hit a two-run shot with Mancini’s Louisville Slugger C243.

Not much amazes Orioles manager Buck Showalter, but that did.

“Every game there’s something here that I’ve never seen before, every game for 20, 30 years, however long I’ve been doing this. So Trey hits his second home run and Gentry grabs his bat, said ‘I’m gonna give that bat a try,’ he goes out and hits a home run. Manny said, ‘You know what? Give me that bat,’ and Manny hit a home run. All with Mancini’s bat. I’ve never seen that before. It must be Wonderboy. I’ve never seen that before.”

Mancini said he’s never quite had a homer run like this one.

“No, I can’t say I have. Especially since it’s happening at this level. It’s a pretty indescribable feeling. I’m just happy to contribute and be a big part of the game today.

“I’m seeing the ball pretty well. I’m trying my best ... all I’m really focusing on is relaxing and moving back in my load like early and slowly. That is pretty much the only thing I’m thinking of. Luckily, everything else is taking care of itself. I know through the year there are going to have to be adjustments that I make. Just feeling very relaxed at the plate more than anything,” said Mancini, who is batting .364/.417/.955 through seven games, with four homers and nine RBIs.

Dylan-Bundy-gray-sidebar.jpgIt shouldn’t get lost in all the runs the Orioles scored that Dylan Bundy started today and didn’t give up any. Bundy pitched six scoreless innings on five hits with six strikeouts. He’s 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA through three starts.

It was satisfying to him to face Toronto for the second time and do well again. He tossed seven innings with one run allowed on April 5, and six scoreless in the rematch.
“Yeah, like I’ve said plenty of times, it’s like a chess game. You have to make the right moves and basically make right pitches, locate them and execute them,” Bundy said.

“I’m not going to explain the game plan, but me, Welly (catcher Welington Castillo) and Roger (McDowell, O’s pitching coach) had a good game plan and, fortunately, we were able to execute it and got another good team win tonight.”

The Orioles got four quality starts in four games in Toronto. Their starters allowed just five runs over 24 1/3 innings for an ERA of 1.85. The Blue Jays scored 11 runs in four games this weekend.

On another topic, it appears center fielder Adam Jones will be fine after hitting the wall hard in the eighth inning trying to catch a ball that went for a triple.

“He knocked the breath out of him more than anything,” Showalter said, “and when I got out there, he was more mad he didn’t catch the ball. He said, ‘I should have caught it.’

“I think Adam is playing a little deeper on some situations this year, and then the momentum built up there. They’ve done a good job over the years - with the exception of two or three parks, you know which ones I’m talking about - they’ve given some give to the fences. But he and Pillar, those are two as good of centerfielders as there are and regardless of the score, that’s how they play.”

Britton update: Before today’s game, the Orioles placed All-Star closer Zach Britton on the 10-day disabled list with a left forearm strain. Right-hander Stefan Crichton returned to the active roster.

Britton is eligible to return on Wednesday April 26. Manager Buck Showalter said Britton felt some discomfort when throwing a curveball on Friday.

Here are some Britton comments after today’s game: “Just after the (Friday) game, I was really stiff and I went to talk to (trainer) Richie Bancells about it. Came in the next day a little sore, and we feel like we have a good idea of what it is and we can kind of go from there. Hopefully, it’s not anything that can keep me out too long.

“It’s hard for me to say because I’ve never had anything remotely forearm or elbow. This is new territory for me, but talking to the medical people, it seems like it’s just maybe a forearm strain. All the other tests are showing pretty good. I’ve still got some good strength in the joint. There’s no issue down and in the elbow.

“Never had anything there. It’s not elbow. I think everybody thinks elbow initially, but it’s definitely forearm. The elbow stuff looks good. It looks strong. There’s no issues in there. So, hopefully, we can just treat it and knock it out and get my delivery a little bit in order as well, use the 10 days to fine-tune some things I want to fine-tune anyway and then be ready to go for the rest of year.

“Roger, myself and Buck were talking a little about that earlier, but the arm strength is already there. The velo wasn’t down or anything.”

Britton will travel with the Orioles to Cincinnati. For now, at least, no precautionary MRI procedures are planned for him.

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