HOUSTON – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said he doesn’t have a player in the clubhouse who’s in completely good health. He can’t even find anyone who registers at 90 percent.
The usual wear and tear as the season inches toward fall. As the body begins to rebel.
“All of these guys are playing with stuff right now,” Hyde said.
Ryan O’Hearn isn’t slowing down. He's got the right stuff.
O'Hearn was 8-for-13 in his last three games before last night and 19-for-51 (.373) this month with five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs.
What did he do in the first inning? Launched a two-run homer to center field, his 14th to tie his career high.
What did he do in the third? Singled into center field to move Anthony Santander into scoring position.
O’Hearn went 5-for-5 in Monday’s series opener against the Astros, making him the oldest Orioles player (30 years, 54 days) to collect five hits in a game since catcher Matt Wieters (30 years, 85 days) on Aug. 14, 2016, in San Francisco. He’s the oldest left-handed hitter since B.J. Surhoff (35 years, 329 days) on June 28, 2000, in Boston.
A few teammates beat him to it.
O’Hearn is the fourth Orioles player this season to collect five hits, tying the Red Sox for most in the majors and equaling the franchise record, according to STATS.
The 2019, 1974 and 1966 Orioles also had four, along with the 1936 and 1921 St. Louis Browns before the franchise moved to Baltimore in ’54.
The 1933 Washington Senators hold the all-time record with eight four-hit games in a season.
“It’s definitely an accomplishment,” O’Hearn said. “Hits are hard to come by in this league. They have really good defenders, really good pitchers, and definitely some luck involved in that. Sometimes, you can hit the ball right on the screws right at guys, sometimes you hit it off the barrel and they fall in.”
Adley Rutschman went 5-for-5 on Opening Day in Boston, and Austin Hays matched him the following night.
Can you name the other player?
Too late. Cedric Mullins went 5-for-6 on May 21 in Toronto.
“I think it’s just a testament to how good our hitters are and finding ways to put the ball in play no matter what,” O’Hearn said. “It’s awesome.”
The 2019 club went 54-108, the second-worst record in baseball, but Santander, Hanser Alberto and Trey Mancini had five-hit games.
Name the fourth player. Answer below.
“It’s so hard to do,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
“It’s an amazing feat. I think (O’Hearn) said he hadn’t had a four-hit game ever. So, he still hasn’t had a four-hit game, but he’s had a five-hit game?”
* Jack Flaherty worked two scoreless innings last night in his fifth career relief appearance, and his first since Oct. 4, 2022. He threw 45 pitches.
Flaherty isn’t a total stranger to the bullpen. He’s just getting acclimated again.
One adjustment is warming up during a game instead of before it. Gauging how long it takes to get loose. Having to do so faster.
“I know what I need to kind of get hot,” he said. “If that’s the role, the more times I do it, the more I’ll figure how to kind of maintain some of that velo as the innings go up. Kind of the way I do when I start. It’s first time in probably about a year. It was fun.”
His reaction when Hyde gave him the news?
“Give me the ball and see what happens,” he said.
“It’s a good thing, you know? If he wants to give me the ball in bigger spots like there, getting seven, eight and to start the ninth inning there, that shows some trust. It feels good. You’re going through the order that many times and you get toward the end of the game, every pitch matters. Those pitches feel a little more important to everybody, so it feels good.”
* Santander has 66 extra-base hits and is seven shy of tying Brian Roberts for the most in a single season by an Orioles switch-hitter.
Roberts set the record in 2009.
* Heston Kjerstad is the eighth player in Orioles history to hit two home runs in his first five career games.
Mancini was the most recent player to do it in 2016 when he totaled three in that span.
* Mike Baumann became the 10th reliever in club history Monday to win 10 games in a season, and the first since Brad Brach in 2016.
Only two Orioles relievers have exceeded 10 victories: Stu Miller (14) and Dick Hall (11) in 1965.
Answer: Renato Nuñez went 5-for-5 on Aug. 14 in New York.