To consider how special Ryan Mountcastle’s performance was last night as he tied a team record driving in nine runs, consider just how rare that was. Since moving to Baltimore in 1954, the Orioles have played more than 10,800 games. Just three times has a player driven in nine runs.
Just three times has a player driven in exactly eight (Cal Ripken Jr., Chris Hoiles and Frank Robinson) and just 15 times has a player knocked in seven runs in a game. Jim Gentile hit two grand slams in producing the first-ever O’s nine-RBI game at Minnesota on May 9, 1961. Then Eddie Murray hit a slam in driving in nine at the California Angels on Aug. 26, 1985.
Last night, Mountcastle drove a sac fly to center in the first and tied the game 2-2 with his RBI single to center in the third. His three-run homer in the fifth cut the O’s deficit to 7-6. His grand slam in the seventh added to a Baltimore lead, making it a 12-7 edge. A 3-for-4 night with two homers and nine RBIs.
“What Mounty did last night, that was incredibly special,” manager Brandon Hyde said this afternoon. “I don’t know if I have ever seen anyone have that many RBIs. Been asked a few times and I can’t remember. Just a huge game, offensively.
"Love watching some national stuff today and people around the country get to see him because of the highlights. He’s turning into a really, really good hitter and showing the power he has. I love the base hit up the middle with two outs early in the game. Being able to stay on a ball like that and it shows the barrel control he has.”
Through 11 games, Mountcastle is batting .289/.320/.711/1.031 with four doubles, five homers and 18 RBIs. He leads the majors in RBIs and is tied for the top spot in homers.
And he is getting clutch hits too. He is 5-for-10 with four homers and 16 RBIs when batting with runners in scoring position.
What does it take for a hitter to be good in some of those clutch RISP spots?
“Depending on the situation. If there is someone on third, I’m trying to take an unselfish at-bat and get something in the air to the outfield and get that run in," Mountcastle said. "Especially with less than two outs. But sometimes you are just trying to battle with two strikes, and other at-bats just got pitches to hit and put it out of the park.”
Mountcastle was asked today what he knew of Eddie Murray’s Hall of Fame career. Murray was inducted into the Hall in 2003 and was the third player to record both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.
“He had 500 homers. Really good first baseman. Such a great player and definitely someone I look up to," Mountcastle said. "I had a chance to talk him during spring and he gave me a few pointers here and there. Super nice guy. Great guy.
“It’s very cool. To put my name next to his in any type of category is really special."
Before Mountcastle's grand slam, The Athletics intentionally walked Adley Rutschman to load the bases. Did the intentional walk to get to him give Mountcastle even more motivation in that spot?
“I guess a little bit,” he said. “I get it. It was right-on-right. Adley, obviously, hitting .400 whatever he’s hitting and he can hit lefty. I get why they did it. Just happy I got a good pitch to hit and took advantage of it.”
By the way, has Mountcastle ever had a nine-RBI game before, even in high school or youth ball?
“Not really. I don’t think so," he said. "Everything has to fall into place. You have to be swinging it good and guys have to get on. Credit the guys in front of me, and hopefully we can keep it rolling tonight."