The weather got warmer and for at least for two days, so did the Orioles bats. Prior to Saturday's win, the Orioles had scored three runs or less in 10 of their 14 previous games.
But now in back-to-back games they have plated 23 runs on 26 hits with five doubles, two triples and nine home runs. They went 9-for-18 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles scored in five of their eight at-bats on Saturday and five of eight yesterday with runners in scoring position.
Veteran St. Louis starters Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn combined to pitch just 6 1/3 innings the past two days, allowing 16 hits, 16 runs and seven home runs.
"I'm proud of the effort we put in," Mark Trumbo said of the hitters against the St. Louis right-handers. "Those are two guys that are established and always go out there and compete. I think we did a nice job trying to battle."
That includes Trumbo, who is trying to get his offense going consistently. He went 4-for-9 with a pair homers in the wins and is batting .321 (9-for-28) his last seven games. Are some things coming together with his swing?
"It's been a process. Today was a good day and yesterday also had some good passes. Look forward to trying to improve on those and do what I can do," Trumbo said.
I mentioned this during the postgame blog yesterday, but Trumbo had some high praise for rookie Trey Mancini yesterday. He continues to be impressed by his overall approach, plus his ability to hit to right and right center. Yesterday it seemed like Mancini flicked his wrist on an outside corner fastball and drove a pitch onto the flag court in right.
During a nine-game hitting streak, Mancini is batting .419 (15-for-35) with three homers and eight RBIs. In the weekend series, he went 6-for-13 with a double, triple and two homers. In June, Mancini is batting .350 with an OPS of 1.098. For the season he is batting .310 with 12 homers, 38 RBIs and an OPS of .928.
"He's one of those rare talents that just is born to barrel a baseball," Trumbo said. "He's line to line. Great two-strike hitter. He's going to have a big season and nice career because he has this innate ability to make hard contact and spray the ball around. Makes for a tough challenge for the pitchers."
Trumbo has been a veteran that Mancini has learned from and leaned on, he has said several times.
"You know, I don't want to take any credit for what he's done," Trumbo said. "I try to help out. I've been in his shoes before. About the same age and if I can offer some words of wisdom every once in a while, that works. But he's going to be just fine with or without some of this. But you try to help. It's your responsibility when you get a little older to do what guys did before and for you and that is what I'm trying to do."
Meanwhile, right-hander Ubaldo JimÃ©nez gave the Orioles a rare quality start on Sunday, allowing two runs over seven innings. For the rotation, it was just the second quality start in 13 games. It was also the longest outing by any starter since Wade Miley went seven versus Boston on June 1. And he did so in some heat and humidity.
"It was a really tough day to pitch," JimÃ©nez said. "It was so hot out there and everything was carrying. If you left something hanging, it was going to be out of the park. I think that's why I had such a pretty good game today. The sinker was down in the zone and (catcher Welington) Castillo was calling a great game."
Now about that bullpen ...
Let's be nice and just say the Orioles really need Darren O'Day and Zach Britton back soon. They are down pretty much to Mychal Givens and Brad Brach as dependable late-inning arms and they can't pitch every night.
Over the weekend the bullpen pitchers allowed 10 runs (eight earned) in 8 2/3 and gave up seven homers. No lead seemed big enough. Givens threw 42 pitches Saturday and may need another day or two off. Brach has now pitched back-to-back days, but threw just 20 total pitches.
Richard Bleier has been pretty solid and Alec Asher was good earlier in a 'pen role, but so many others have struggled and been on the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle. Getting O'Day and Britton back would not only add talented pitchers but stretch out the depth in a bullpen that could use more of that.
When you lead 12-3 as the Orioles did Saturday and 8-2 as they did Sunday, you shouldn't have to sweat out as many outs as they had to.
Notes from the farm: At Triple-A Norfolk two young hitters have been solid this month. In 13 games in June, catcher Chance Sisco is hitting .375/.436/.417 and his average for the year is .277. Third baseman Drew Dosch is batting .313/.400/.500 this month for an overall average of .273.
Double-A Bowie's Garabez Rosa hit two homers as the Baysox banged out 11 extra-base hits Sunday in a 13-7 win over New Hampshire. Rosa, who is batting .336, blasted a homer in the second inning that traveled 474 feet. That is the longest homer by a Bowie player this year.
Single-A Frederick outfielder Austin Hays had a huge day as Frederick ended the first half at 31-38 after beating Lynchburg. Hays went 5-for-5 with two homers, six RBIs and four runs. He is batting .328. Ryan Mountcastle returned to the lineup after missing two games with a mild wrist injury and went 1-for-4.
Single-A Delmarva ended its first half at 29-39 after a win over Greensboro. Three Shorebirds will head to the South Atlantic League All-Star game Tuesday at Columbia. They are outfielder Jake Ring, infielder Chris Clare and pitcher Alexander Wells.