ARLINGTON, Texas - If you can show leadership for a team that won’t have a winning record and might finish with the worst record in the majors, Mark Trumbo did today.
He’s not a vocal leader like Adam Jones, but seems to have embraced taking a bigger leadership role on the new-look Orioles - the team that remains after the trades. Today Trumbo hit two homers and drove in five as the Orioles beat the Rangers 9-6 to avoid a four-game sweep.
Trumbo had two hits today that gave his team the lead and a third that extended the lead. His first-inning RBI single made it 1-0. His first two-run homer, off Drew Hutchison in the third, gave the Orioles a 6-5 lead. His two-run homer in the seventh off Matt Moore extended the advantage to 9-5. The five RBIs tied his O’s career best and is one off his career high.
“It ended up pretty good,” Trumbo said of the day for him and the team. “Kind of a slugfest there at first. Really proud of the way both Tanner (Scott) and Donnie (Hart) really did some nice things to keep us in there. That was big today.
“I think we did some really nice things this series. It would have been nice to tack on a couple more wins, but today was a really good game for us. The bats especially have been looking pretty good, and that’s going to be important for us moving forward.”
In this series, Trumbo went 5-for-7 the last two days and 7-for-16 in the four games, with three homers and nine RBIs. He’s got an eight-game hitting streak. Today was his second multi-homer game of the year and 14th of his career. His 22 career homers versus Texas are his most against any opponent.
After the game, manager Buck Showalter revealed that Trumbo almost missed this one today.
“Mark’s not a guy that thumps his chest, and says, ‘Look at me.’ That’s one of the reasons we like him. He almost didn’t play today. His knee’s been a little sore. We had drained it. We’re probably going to have to do it again when we get back. I noticed him running around the bases on the second home run. Adam (Jones, who was off today) came to us, and said, ‘If Trum’s knee’s barking, I’ll play,’ so that’s another example of Adam: Teammate’s in need and he’s ready to go.”
Speaking of teammates picking up teammates, the Orioles bullpen did that today. It came after starter Yefry Ramírez allowed five hits, five walks and five runs in 1 2/3 innings. The O’s were behind 5-4 after the second.
But the bullpen group of Tanner Scott, Donnie Hart, Miguel Castro, Paul Fry and Mychal Givens combined for 7 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and one run with 12 strikeouts. From the last out of the second inning through the seventh, Scott, Hart and Castro combined for 5 1/3 scoreless with 11 strikeouts. Scott entered the game today in the second inning.
“It was different. You go out there and try to help the team and put up a zero,” Scott said. “Put a zero on the board and go out there any time my name is called on, get us back to the dugout and score runs. It was fine (pitching long relief). Last year I started and went three innings every time, so it was a little flashback.”
Said Showalter of the bullpen: “I thought Tanner, obviously, had a key outing. Mike followed up last night’s good outing. Roger (McDowell) and Donnie Hart have made a little adjustment that seemed to show up better today. Mike carried over last night. That was fun to watch.”
Ramírez talked about his struggles today and the bullpen coming up big behind him.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to command the strike zone today, and when you’re unable to command the strike zone bad things happen throughout the game. Very happy for each one of my teammates. I’m always very happy when they do well, and the most important thing was we were able to win the game today,” Ramírez said through translator Ramón Alarcón.
The Orioles tied a season high with four homers today and went 4-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Austin Wynns hit a three-run homer. Jonathan Villar hit his first Orioles homer, his first since June 11 against the Cubs while he was with the Brewers. He had three multi-hit games in this series, going 8-for-17 with two RBIs, four runs and his first O’s stolen base. Renato Núñez had two hits today and is 10-for-20 his past five games.
The Orioles have scored 68 runs the last nine games, and 93 in 15 games since the All-Star break to average 6.2 per game. Now 34-77 and 2-4 on this road trip, they take tomorrow off and play at Tampa Bay starting Tuesday night.