More leftovers for breakfast

Austin Hays is more than an Orioles teammate to Cedric Mullins. They’ve built a close friendship over the years, climbing up the organizational ladder to the big leagues as homegrown products. They’ve stood in the same outfield with Anthony Santander at Double-A Bowie and talked about being together in Baltimore.

They’ve gone through so many ups and downs, individually and as a club. They lift each other.

Hays knows that Mullins will get hot again after beginning last night with five hits in his last 59 at-bats.

Asked what Mullins must do to get his season back on track, Hays smiled and said, “Just stay positive.”

“He’s still got six homers, he’s got (six) bags, his RBIs are there,” Hays said. “Just had a rough patch where the ball’s not falling. You just stay positive, you just continue to work on the right things. We know how this game goes. It’s a long season and things turn around quick. You have one good week, you’re MLB Player of the Week and all of a sudden your stats look pretty good again and you’re talking about how positive things are going.

“He’s fine, he’s going to be all right. Just stay positive and keep working on the right things.”

Hays seems to be fine. He came off the bench last night, delivered an RBI double and raced home on a wild pitch, leaving no doubt that his left calf is healed. He’s 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles since his reinstatement from the injured list and is 4-for-6 in his last four games.

"He wasn't supposed to run like that," manager Brandon Hyde said, laughing. "He stretches a single into a double and then he scores on a wild pitch. That wasn't exactly how I drew it up. I just wanted to get him that at-bat, I wanted to get him out for a couple innings of defense. But Austin Hays plays like Austin Hays, with his hair on fire. That's the only way he knows how to play."

* Jordan Westburg slid from leadoff to seventh last night with the Mariners starting right-hander Bryce Miller. He won’t rise to the top again this weekend. He might need another left-handed starter.

Westburg homered in the first inning Wednesday and reached on an infield single leading off the ninth before Adley Rutschman’s walk-off homer. He also struck out three times in between.

The extensive minor league experience atop the order can only do so much to prepare a guy for major league leadoff duty. However, he never was in danger of over-thinking it.

“I wouldn’t say ‘comfortable,’ but I don’t put too much stock into where I hit in the order,” he said. “I pride myself on being pretty flexible like that and kind of being like a Swiss Army knife. It’s just funny that I ended up leading off four of my five at-bats. You get stuck in leadoff and then you lead off all day.

“I’m open to being in that spot if that’s what Hyde wants me to do against lefties or if Gunnar (Henderson) needs a day off. I don’t mind. I’ll get more comfortable in that role.”

If you’re replacing Henderson, you’re expected to immediately hit a home run. Right?

“No, but I’m glad it happened. It was pretty cool,” Westburg said, laughing.

“Just trying to do my best Gunnar Henderson impression out there.”

Henderson imitated himself last night with his fourth leadoff homer of the season.

* Another extra nugget on Rutschman, courtesy of STATS:

He’s one of only three players 26 or younger with multiple walk-off home runs since the beginning of last season, joining the Giants’ Patrick Bailey and the Reds’ Christian Encarnacion-Strand.

* Cole Irvin was in the bullpen last night but he’s separating himself from a lot of all-time Orioles pitchers with his hot streak.

Irvin has collected a win in each of his last four starts while allowing two runs total and walking three batters.

Here’s the list of Orioles who won all four decisions with a sub-1.00 ERA and four walks or fewer over a single-season, four-start span, per STATS:

Steve Barber, 1966: 4-0, 0.59 ERA, four walks
Dave McNally, 1970: 4-0, 0.50 ERA, three walks
Jamie Moyer, 1995: 4-0, 0.91 ERA, four walks
Josh Towers, 2001: 4-0, 0.90 ERA, four walks
Cole Irvin, 2024: 4-0, 0.70 ERA, three walks

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