They got a lot of mileage out of two balls that measured 321 and 331 feet.
Hardy couldn’t contain his smile as he rounded the bases after the second, also a two-run shot in the seventh inning that gave him five RBIs and contributed to the Orioles’ 9-5 win over the Red Sox.
“I don’t think I hit one ball to the right of second base during batting practice,” said Hardy, who didn’t have a home run or RBI before tonight. “I don’t know. The first one I think was a pretty decent swing. It was just kind of protect with two strikes. I think the wind helped a little bit, just pushed it around the pole. And then the second one, I mean it was a popup, either a foul ball or an out in most ballparks. I’ll take them.”
Hardy has 177 career home runs. Only 11 have gone to right field.
Two of them tonight barely made it out, but they counted for a team that’s put together its first seven-game winning streak since 2005.
“I’ve never seen that before, but hey, he’s the type of guy it’s going to happen to,” said Mark Trumbo, who belted a long two-run homer over the Green Monster in the sixth. “He does some very special things and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Players had a field day with Hardy in the dugout.
“Both times,” he said. “I got worn out by all my teammates for the first one and I just know I was going to get worn out again.”
Asked what they said to him, Hardy replied, “‘Both of your home runs didn’t add up to what Trumbo’s was.’ Just little stuff, lucky stuff. I’ll take it, though.”
“He deserves to have a couple of home runs there,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He said, ‘It’s not my park, I didn’t build it.’ I said, ‘Don’t feel bad, you’re going to hit some home runs to straightaway center field that someone’s going to track down.’
“They’re giving him grief. They were kind of kidding him about the first one, and as soon as it left the bat, the second one, we thought, ‘That one’s got a chance, too.’ A nice little wind blowing out there in the corner. They hit one that when I looked up, I thought was out, but the wind had stopped blowing. A lot of things went our way today.
“You like to see good things happen to good people. He put good swings on those balls. They would have been extra base hits, regardless of the distance.
“He and Chris (Davis) have come into Sarasota, excited about a lot of things in their life. J.J. is a new father, healthy for the first time in a while. They just seem to be in a good place in their life right now.”
The Orioles are in first place, the only undefeated team in baseball at 7-0.
“It’s a nice win for sure,” Trumbo said. “The numbers, they are what they are, but we’re just happy to keep going.”
The Orioles have beat up on the Red Sox’s top two starters, David Price and Clay Buchholz.
“Those are really good pitchers,” Trumbo said. “We’re obviously excited that we’re able to get a couple wins. You just kind of take what they give you. I think on the offensive side, if we’ve got some pitches to hit against an assortment of guys, we’ve been able to do some damage.”
Falling behind is no big deal. The Orioles were down 2-0 in the first and 4-2 in the fifth and still extended their winning streak.
“We’ve shown that we have the ability to (come back),” Trumbo said. “I’m sure it’s not going to happen every night, but if you can kind of keep that mindset, a lot of good things could happen. It’s a really tough team that we’re going up against and we’ve shown the ability to kind of answer, a few times at least.”
Trumbo’s home run is listed as traveling 420 feet in the postgame notes. That may be a bit light.
He wasn’t looking for a particular pitch from Buchholz.
“No, not really,” he said. “I just stayed alive. I barely got a piece of the pitch right before it and then got something I could handle a little better on the home run.”
Mike Wright got the win after allowing four runs in five innings in his 2016 debut. He hasn’t pitched in 15 days.
“Pretty good. Didn’t let it get away from him,” Showalter said. “It was a pretty good start for him considering he hasn’t pitched for a while. Tried to get him to 90 pitches, didn’t know if the Red Sox would allow us.
“I was proud of Mike. Kept it under control emotionally, seemed to stay engaged in the moment and didn’t let anything snowball and our guys got us back in the ballgame.”
Would Wright have limited the damage and lasted five innings last year?
“Maybe not,” Showalter said. “Especially after having, there’s somewhat of an excuse ... That’s why everyone wants to get started and get on a routine. There’s the weather and off days, opening days. Everybody is looking forward to getting in a routine and see what you’ve got.
“Mike did well. It’s not a club that likes to hear sympathy or a reason not to do well.”
Wright agreed that tonight’s start served as an example of his growth as a pitcher.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “Last year, I might have got out of some of them and it might have been a little bit of luck, but this year I felt like I was a little bit calmer. I tried to execute pitches just like I had been doing. I didn’t let the situation - especially that bases-loaded situation - I had to take a step back because I’m like, ‘Man, this situation’s tough. I’ve got two outs and they load the bases.’ But it’s still only one pitch away. So yeah, I think I was a little bit better this year than any time I would have been last year.”
This lineup will make up for plenty of sins.
“Oh, that’s amazing,” Wright said. “I had so much fun after we tied it up and got the lead. That was amazing. This offense is fun to watch. I’m just like every other baseball fan. I like seeing home runs and I like seeing runs scored. It’s good when it’s your team.”
Your undefeated team.
“That’s awesome,” Wright said. “To be 7-0 is great. I didn’t realize it had been so long since an Orioles team had done that. I said in spring training, our record doesn’t reflect the type of team we had. There are still some guys struggling, but everybody’s picking each other up. That’s the kind of team we have where we’re really pulling on the same end of the rope. Everybody’s picking themselves up, and I think we have a great team.”
The Orioles were 0-10-2 in spring training before winning their first game. It seems so long ago.
“Yeah, what do you know?” Trumbo said. “I think the fact that we didn’t panic when that happened is the same reason that we’re staying pretty calm and collected and focused while we’re enjoying some success, too. It’s kind of the mindset that’s built for the long haul.”
Trumbo came within a triple of the cycle tonight and is batting .464.
“He’s a very good hitter in April and May over his career and he’s following that trend right now,” Showalter said. “Trum’s been a really good fit obviously statistically. That goes without saying. The other parts of it, he kind of fits in with our club. It’s a real seamless ...
“Our guys saw that he was sincere with the way he goes around things. It’s been a good addition, not only statistically, but as a teammate.”
Showalter downplayed the 6-0 start and he did the same at 7-0. What else did you expect?
“It’s seven games, there’s a lot of road to cross,” he said. “A win always beats the alternative. We know how hard it is to win here. We know how good they are and how good they’re going to be this summer. That’s a given, so you better take it while you can.
“I have a good seat every night. Assume the position and see what the boys have in store for me that night. Something happens every night where I say, ‘Hmmm, I haven’t seen that before.’ I get a great seat. It’s fun to watch it. It’s a group that’s easy to pull for.”