But then the Orioles scored him one in the first and six runs in the second, and he was leading 7-0 just like that. When they added five in the fourth, they were leading, 12-1 and had already produced a season high for runs.
They would finish with an 18-5 win to take the series over the Cleveland Indians heading into an off-day on Monday.
López’s 1.94 run support average (11 runs/51 innings pitched) was the poorest among starters with a minimum of 11 outings. The next closest pitcher was Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff at 2.37 RSA (20 runs/76 innings pitched). López had received one run of support-or-less in 10 of his 11 starts this season, including no run support in four of those.
Before today, the only game in which he received more than one run of support was on April 16 at Texas, when they scored five for him.
In his career, Lopez was 1-18 in 26 games as a starter when receiving two or fewer runs of support, compared to 8-3 in 18 starts when receiving three or more runs of support.
But the offense exploded for him today and there was drama even as the Orioles rolled up a big lead of 11 runs at the end of four innings. Could Cedric Mullins tie a 40-year-old team record with a base hit in 10 consecutive at-bats?
He singled in the ninth inning Friday and then went 5-for-5 with a pair of solo homers yesterday. Today, he hit a solo homer in the first inning, his third in two games and ninth of the year. He recorded an RBI bloop single in the second and doubled but was thrown out trying to stretch it for a triple in the fourth. He walked in the last of the fifth and then again in the last of the seventh.
It didn’t look like he would bat again, but then the Orioles scored five more runs in the eighth. But Mullins lined to left in eighth and his run of nine hits in nine at-bats ended there.
He could not tie Ken Singleton’s O’s record of a hit in 10 straight at-bats in 1981. But Mullins became the first Oriole with eight hits in eight straight at-bats since Melvin Mora in 2000 and the first to go 9-for-9 since Charles Johnson in 1999.
In going 8-for-9 over his past two games, Mullins raised his average from .298 to .322.
After the fourth inning today, O’s batters were 15-for-26 and 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position. After they scored five more runs in the seventh, they were 20-for-39 with 17 runs and 11-for-18 with RISP.
Eight Orioles had multi-hit games and six drove in two or more runs.
This was the club’s biggest run total since also putting this many in an 18-2 win over Oakland on Aug. 16, 2015.
López picked up his second win of the year and his first at Oriole Park since Sept. 14, 2020 against Atlanta, with 13 games between home wins. He also snapped a four-game losing streak dating to late April.
After he rolled through two innings, Cleveland hit him much harder in the third, fourth and fifth. He went five innings, allowing four hits and three runs, and is now 2-6 with a 5.30 ERA after a 74-pitch outing.
The Orioles’ early offensive outburst was a great sight for López and led the team to a second straight series win on this homestand. They were 0-6-1 in home series when this homestand started.
The Orioles are now 3-0 this year in rubber match games that decided three-game series. They improved to 21-38 for the year, 10-20 at home and 4-1 in June.