Jonathan Villar attacked Marco Estrada's reverse splits last night by batting from the right side against a right-handed pitcher, hardly a new tactic in baseball but one that doesn't surface on a regular basis.
Villar struck out and flied out in his first two at-bats, coming to the plate twice in the first two innings. But he followed Cedric Mullins' triple in the fourth with a home run to center field, contact made from the left side.
A single in the eighth left Villar 2-for-5 with four RBIs on the night and raised his average to .341. He's now scored a run in eight consecutive games, the longest streak in the majors and tied for 10th-longest in Orioles history.
The four RBIs were the most by Villar since April 25, 2017 while playing for the Brewers. His six multi-hit games lead the American League.
Trey Mancini hit his fifth home run, singled twice, walked twice and is batting .385. The five home runs in 10 games are tied with Frank Robinson for second-most in club history. Chris Davis hit six home runs in the first 10 games in 2013.
"Both of those guys are some kind of strong," said manager Brandon Hyde. "It's not easy to hit opposite-field home runs and Trey's making it look easy. A line drive over the right field fence. Johnny went oppo before and he went dead center today. They're really talented players and I think both of them are just coming into their own as players and it's fun to watch, it's fun to watch.
"Johnny's playing loose, he's playing easy, he's playing really good defense. He made a couple really good plays again tonight, a couple good double play turns. He's also got the speed tool and he can hit for power from both sides of the plate, all fields. So I just think he's scratching the surface of what kind of player he can be.
"Trey is an impact bat and for a guy to be able to go pull-to-pull hard like he does and be able to get to good fastballs is impressive. So I've been impressed with both those guys. I think they're both just scratching the surface of what they can be in their career."
Mancini is in right field tonight and Villar is playing second base and leading off.
Davis is out of the lineup against Athletics left-hander Brett Anderson. He's taking early batting practice today with the high-speed Edgerton camera set up behind him.
Left-handed hitters have slashed .306/.350/.407 against Anderson in his career.
The Athletics continue to search for their first road win. They've faced a left-handed starter in eight of the first 15 games.
For the Orioles
Jonathan Villar 2B
Joey Rickard CF
Trey Mancini RF
Renato Nunez DH
Dwight Smith Jr. LF
Hanser Alberto 3B
Rio Ruiz 1B
Pedro Severino C
Richie Martin SS
John Means LHP