The Orioles held an optional workout last night at Camden Yards. No pressure to get back to Baltimore. No demands placed on the players. Manager Brandon Hyde left it entirely to them.
“A ton of guys showed up,” Hyde said. “Guys want to get back after it.”
No wonder. A first half that produced the third-best record in baseball had the Orioles eager to resume their season. Breaks are nice, but they have business to finish.
The weather forced them to wait again, with rain delaying the start of tonight’s game by one hour and six minutes, but they didn’t let it interfere with the mindset or the mission.
Cedric Mullins and Adam Frazier homered off Sandy Alcantara in the fourth inning, which began with the score tied, Frazier went deep again in the eighth, and the Orioles extended their winning streak to six games with a 5-2 victory over the Marlins before an announced crowd of 23,377 at Camden Yards.
Dean Kremer held Miami to one run and two hits in six innings, and the Orioles moved 20 games over .500 at 55-35 for the first time since the conclusion of the 2014 season.
"We know we're good," Frazier said. "A really dangerous lineup one through nine. Even every guy on the bench is dangerous. ... We know we're a complete team, but we're going to take it one day at a time and see where we're at at the end of this thing."
Bryan Baker tossed a scoreless seventh inning, but Jorge Soler homered off Yennier Cano in the eighth to reduce the lead to 3-2. Cano has surrendered two home runs and they’ve come within his last three appearances.
Félix Bautista brushed off his All-Star Game loss and recorded his 24th save by striking out two batters and inducing a popup.
Mullins hadn’t homered since May 23, before his groin injury. Frazier set a career high with his 12th and 13th, producing his first multi-homer game.
The pivotal fourth inning began with Mullins jumping on the first pitch, sending a 96.4 mph fastball into the right-center field seats. Frazier, batting with one out, drove a 97.4 mph sinker 413 feet to center for a 3-1 lead.
Austin Hays led off the eighth with a double against Bryan Hoeing and Frazier homered into the right field seats with two outs. They celebrated with an enthusiastic forearm smash after Frazier crossed the plate.
The power surge continues for Frazier, who totaled eight home runs in 1,241 plate appearances in 2021-22.
"Yeah, it's surprising. The ability to take a great at-bat's not," Hyde said.
"Battle at the plate, take team at-bats. But for him to get some big homers for us this year, it's been huge for us."
"Anytime that you can contribute is fun, especially winning games like we are," Frazier said. "I'll take the homers. I feel like the work in the cage is paying off with the guys, and trying to stay where we're at."
Frazier thought he should have drawn a walk one pitch before his second homer but didn't get the call. He stayed in the box and was rewarded.
"Anytime you can get a hit or anything on the next pitch is satisfying," he said. "I didn't quite agree with the call, but you've got to flush it, on with the next pitch. That was a big run out there on second base, so I was trying to do anything I could to get him in."
Mullins struggled after returning from the injured list, but he has eight hits in his last five games.
"I think everybody knows how good Cedric Mullins can be," Frazier said. "If we've got him going, along with everybody else, it's not fun for the opposition. Yeah, he's dangerous."
"When I said some guys needed those four days, I think Cedric was one of those guys that I was talking about," Hyde said. "Coming off an injury, kind of being thrown in there, tried to give him a little bit of rest in some of those games. Not easy to do, not easy to miss a month and come back and kind of finding his way.
"The swings were a lot more aggressive. You saw it the last day in Minnesota. I thought that's when he really turned the corner. Nice to give those legs a break there for those four days, and played a great game tonight."
Adley Rutschman’s 16th infield hit and Ryan O’Hearn’s walk were wasted in the first inning, but Mullins led off the second with a single, stole second base, hustled to third on catcher Jacob Stallings’ throwing error, and scored with one out on Frazier’s opposite-field single.
Alcantara, last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner, allowed two earned runs and three total with eight hits in six innings.
Kremer loaded the bases with one out in the third on two walks and a hit by pitch. Soler struck out, but Bryan De La Cruz lined a game-tying single into left field. Given another chance, Kremer left the bases loaded by striking out Jesús Sánchez on a 95.2 mph fastball as his pitch count rose from 23 to 57.
Nine batters in a row were retired, with Kremer striking out six. Sánchez reached on Gunnar Henderson’s throwing error with two outs in the sixth, and Garrett Cooper struck out on Kremer’s 97th pitch.
"Just kind of went back to basics and just tried to control breathing and kind of control my tempo," Kremer said.
Kremer allowed only two hits and struck out eight, giving him 18 in his last two outings. Orioles starters have now gone six innings or more in eight consecutive games, the longest streak since May 2015.
"We're trying to give the bullpen a breather as best we can," Kremer said. "We've got a long half and they're going to be critical here down the stretch, so if we can give them as much of a break as we can, then we're going to be in good shape."
The Orioles have won 11 of Kremer’s last 15 starts dating back to April 18.
"Really impressed after that third inning. That third inning could have spiraled," Hyde said.
"Just lost command there that one inning. Great job of getting it back, and he got better as the game went on. That was for me a guy really learning at the big league level and understanding that sometimes you're going to have tough spots but deal with adversity, come back, kind of regroup. Maybe those innings would have spiraled on him in the past, and it didn't, and he was able to keep it at one run, and then pitched three great innings after that."
The Orioles aren't spiraling. They love the direction that they're moving. And to be back together.
"The break was great, but everybody was itching to kind of get back," Kremer said. "We've got another half and we're hoping to produce the same thing that we did the first half."
* Ryan Mountcastle pinch-hit for O’Hearn in the seventh, his first at-bat in Baltimore since May 31, and grounded into a double play.
* Drew Rom worked only one inning and threw 18 pitches at Triple-A Norfolk, walking a batter and striking out two. Justin Armbruester replaced him and tossed three scoreless and hitless innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. Shortened appearances that were scheduled after the break.
Connor Norby hit his 12th home run. Coby Mayo delivered a two-run double in the seventh after Heston Kjerstad’s RBI single and Joey Ortiz’s RBI double. Mayo scored on César Prieto’s double.
Ortiz went 3-for-5 and is batting .341 with a .965 OPS. Kyle Stowers rejoined the Tides after completing his injury rehab assignment and went 0-for-3 with two walks and an RBI.
Garrett Stallings is listed as Saturday’s starter, and Bruce Zimmermann is pitching Sunday.
Double-A Bowie’s Billy Cook and John Rhodes homered in the first inning, and Rhodes homered again in the third and seventh. Jackson Holliday’s first Eastern League hit was a single into center field in the second inning, and he finished with two hits.
High-A Aberdeen’s Creed Willems had a double, home run and four RBIs in the first two innings, and he added a run-scoring single in the seventh. Dylan Beavers had a double, triple, two RBIs and two runs scored through the second.
Max Wagner finished with four hits, three RBIs, four runs scored and two stolen bases.
Shortstop Carter Young had two hits for Single-A Delmarva.