Mullins exits game with right quadriceps tightness, Orioles win 6-5

Only two of the six clubhouse televisions this afternoon were tuned into the first game of the Rays’ doubleheader against the Royals. The Cubs-Red Sox also aired on two of them. Or players could choose between the Scottish Open and a scouting combine men’s basketball tournament.

No one seemed interested.

One player sat in a recliner for a few minutes during the media’s access, got up and left. The place emptied for a meeting. Further evidence that the first-place Rays aren’t an obsession.

The Orioles may check the standings, but they know how little it matters if they don’t win.

They might have lost their center fielder again.

Cedric Mullins left the game in the bottom of the second inning with right quadriceps tightness after running from first to third base on Jordan Westburg’s fly ball down the right field line that sliced foul. Colton Cowser pinch-ran for him, making his Camden Yards debut.

Mullins singled to score Ryan Mountcastle, who had a leadoff double, and reduce Miami’s lead to 4-1, but he bent at the waist after reaching third base and made the slow walk to the dugout.  

The discomfort isn't in the same area as the first injury, when Mullins missed almost a month with a groin strain, but it's on the same side. He returned on June 24 and had nine hits in his last six games.

Jorge Mateo delivered a two-out two-run triple off Marlins left-hander Braxton Garrett in the second, with center fielder Dane Myers freezing and making a late jump for the ball. The Orioles are down 4-3.

Kyle Gibson retired the side in order on six pitches in the first inning and couldn’t get out of the second until Miami sent 10 batters to the plate and built a 4-0 lead.

Jesús Sánchez, involved in a nasty collision with Myers while chasing and catching Anthony Santander’s fly ball to end the first, led off the second with a 101-mph ground ball that deflected off Gibson’s left foot for an infield hit. Gibson threw a few warmup tosses with manager Brandon Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel standing near the mound, and he stayed in the game.

Sánchez raced to third base on Yuli Gurriel’s single up the middle, and Gurriel advanced to second on Mullins’ throw. Mateo couldn’t backhand Jean Segura’s ground ball, and Joey Wendle produced the fourth single in a row on a liner into left field.

Segura scored with one out on Myers’ grounder to Westburg, whose throw home missed the mark, and Luis Arraez singled for the Marlins’ fourth run.

Gibson threw 29 pitches in the inning.

The bigger concern was Mullins, who impressed Hyde last night with his aggression on the bases and seemed to be getting back to his usual form.

“Last night was the first night on the bases that I saw him accelerate, like really accelerate like Cedric does,” Hyde said earlier today. “For me, it’s just he’s more confident with his legs underneath him and feeling healthy. Those four days of the All-Star break were enormous for him. Coming off that groin strain, you can play rehab games and Triple-A games all you want, it’s not the same sort of intensity.

“I think he was just feeling his way through a little bit early, and then now he had that break, which was huge. We saw him swing the bat a lot better in Minnesota that last game there, and saw him really go get it with his legs last night.”

* The Orioles posted their 33rd comeback win of the season, scoring twice in the seventh inning to defeat the Marlins 6-5 before an announced crowd of 28,593 at Camden Yards.

The winning streak has reached seven games, tying the season high. The Orioles (56-35) go for the sweep on Sunday.

The Rays swept their doubleheader in Kansas City and lead the division by two games.

Gunnar Henderson tied the game with a first-pitch home run off new Marlins reliever Huascar Brazoban leading off the seventh inning – his 14th of the season to rank second on the team. Austin Hays, Adley Rutschman and Santander strung together singles, and the Orioles led 6-5.

"Looking for something just up," Henderson said, "and I was able to react to the slider, and I was able to get it up in the air."

Yennier Cano tossed a scoreless eighth, stranding Arraez after a two-out double. Arraez had four hits to raise his average to .386.

Félix Bautista worked on back-to-back nights and recorded his 25th save. Bautista has 40 career saves, making him the second-fastest Orioles reliever by appearances (106) to reach the mark after Gregg Olson (94).

Mike Baumann threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings after replacing Gibson and improved to 6-0. No other reliever in baseball has six wins and no losses.

"We're looking for guys to get outs in those middle innings right now, and he did a great job in the sixth and the seventh of keeping the score right there," Hyde said.

The Orioles will check on Mullins Sunday morning. He's leaving the ballpark tonight with day-to-day status.

"We're hoping we caught a break there," Hyde said. "He feels like it was tightening up a little bit, and unfortunately or fortunately, the ball was foul, so he didn't have to extend himself to try to score. Hopefully, he's OK."

Gibson allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, removed at 84 pitches after Arraez’s third single. Orioles starters had gone six or more innings in eight consecutive games.

"I look at 32 starts as my job is to keep the team in the game and give the team a chance to win," Gibson said, "and the offense made that possible tonight."

Cole Irvin was warming in the second inning but didn’t pitch. The Orioles haven’t announced their starters beyond Sunday afternoon.

Miami extended its lead to 5-3 in the fourth on Bryan De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly after singles by Myers and Arraez. Gibson couldn’t make a clean pickup of Jorge Soler’s grounder and settled for the out at first base before De La Cruz batted.

"It was a weird night tonight," Gibson said. "I thought I might have gotten all those weird ones out of the way, but apparently we had another one in us. Eight singles. If I can keep the ball on the ground, I'm going to be pretty happy for the most part. Unfortunately, they had some that found holes. The one that I'd like to have back is the sac fly pitch. I had the guy two strikes and just left the slider up. But for the most part, very rarely do you look back on a game where you gave up five runs and think there's not much I could have done, but that's what that team does over there. They put the ball in play, they put pressure on the defense. And on a night where they're finding holes, the night's probably going to end up like that.

"I know Gunnar had that big swing in the seventh inning, but man, his defense probably kept me in that game for as long as I was. He made a couple great plays on balls that weren't even hit hard enough to get to him."

Rutschman doubled with two outs in the fifth and scored on Santander’s single. Left-hander Steven Okert replaced Garrett and struck out Mountcastle.

Santander has a 12-game on-base streak.

The Orioles are on their own collective roll, claiming their 18th series, and only the second ever against the Marlins. They took two of three in July 2000.

"We just have a great group of guys who mesh really well," Henderson said, "and we understand that no matter what the score is, we can come back. And we just string together a lot of good at-bats and just get people on base, and we're more dangerous with guys on base."

"It's something that we know we're never out of a game," Gibson said. "When a team is this good and an offense is this good, we have a lot of faith that if, not only the start, if the bullpen can put up some zeros and give the offense a little bit of breathing room and not feel like they're having pressure to score every inning, they feel like they can come back. And they've done it a lot.

"If you only have a few comeback wins here and there, that's one thing, but to do it consistently, that's pretty impressive, especially with a young group like this."

* The Marlins are using Okert as an opener Sunday after he retired all four batters tonight and struck out three.

* Cionel Pérez tossed 1 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings in his first injury rehab game with Double-A Bowie. He walked one batter and struck out three.

Alex Pham started and tossed four scoreless and hitless innings. The Baysox allowed only one hit in a 1-0 win over Akron.

Jackson Holliday accounted for three of Bowie’s four hits in his second Eastern League game. Billy Cook hit his 11th home run.

Triple-A Norfolk starter Garrett Stallings allowed six runs and six hits in two innings. Chayce McDermott made his Triple-A debut and allowed two earned runs (three total) in three innings.

Heston Kjerstad had two hits and an RBI.

Rehabbing at High-A Aberdeen, Kyle Brnovich allowed one hit in three scoreless innings. Dylan Beavers had two hits. Creed Willems singled and had two RBIs.

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