Mullins extends hit streak, but O’s extend losing streak

The Orioles’ losing streak reached nine last night as right-hander Spenser Watkins allowed six runs and seven hits over four innings in an 8-1 loss at Boston. The Orioles have allowed 82 runs during the losing streak as they fell to 38-76.

Watkins struggled badly to throw strikes Friday night, and when his pitches did find the zone, they found the middle of it too much. Boston scored four runs in the third and led 5-1 after three innings.

So five runs in three innings last night and Boston had scored just five runs in three games versus the Orioles when the clubs opened the 2021 season in early April at Fenway Park. The O’s outscored Boston 18-5 in that series, wining by scores of 3-0, 4-2 and 11-3. It was a stunning start to the year that has taken another turn for the worse since the Orioles were 10-6 coming out of the All-Star break until this latest losing streak.

During the streak they’ve allowed nine runs or more seven times and six of the nine losses have come to American League East opponents. The Orioles are now 13-32 in division games while Boston is 32-23.

Mullins-Cuts-Gray-Sidebar.jpgCedric Mullins went 1-for-4 Friday night with a first-inning single. He extends his career-best hitting streak to 20 games, the longest by an Oriole since Adam Jones hit in 20 straight from May 10-29, 2012. So nine years later, an Oriole again has a 20-game streak. Mullins is batting .358 (29-for-81) during this run with four doubles, a triple, four homers, 17 runs, six steals and five RBIs.

Mullins is now batting .402 (41-for-102) in the first inning. That is easily the most hits by any player in the first inning in the majors this year and it is also the most hits by any player in any inning.

He was the leader in the AL in hits (139) at the conclusion of the game. Mullins has also hit safely in each of his 11 games versus Boston in 2021, batting .422 (19-for-45). And he has a .588 average (10-for-17) in four games at Fenway Park, the highest of any player at the venue this season (minimum 10 at-bats).

The road team was 9-1 in the season series this year between Baltimore and Boston until the Red Sox won last night. The Orioles had won their four previous games at Fenway Park, dating to last September, by a combined 31-6 score. So they gave up just six runs in four games to Boston and then allowed eight last night.

Richie Martin’s solo homer near the right field foul pole provided the only O’s run last night. It was his first of the year and career homer No. 7, which came in his 333rd career plate appearance. The ball was projected to travel 320 feet, making it the third-shortest over-the-fence homer in the majors this season, all of which have been hit at Fenway Park. Carlos Correa hit one 310 feet on June 10 and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit one 315 feet on June 10.

Buck banter: Former Orioles manager Buck Showalter was a guest on the “Inside Access” show Friday on 105.7 The Fan. He spent some time talking about Chris Davis and his retirement.

Showalter remembered how great it was when the Orioles ended a 14-year run of losing seasons and returned the playoffs in 2012. And he remembered that Davis was a big part of that.

“It was special,” Showalter said. “The look on people’s faces, just the joy of the Orioles’ success. I remember the next year. Every spring, I would take the guys to a movie theater. We’d rent out a theater and put together a 15 or 20-minute tape about our points of emphasis for the year and possibly a celebration of what might have happened the year before. Just a good way to start the season.

“I made a point in the video for the spring of 2013 of some raw footage around Baltimore when we won the wild card game in Texas. Fans’ reactions in bars and out on the street. It ran about five minutes and the players talked about how impactful it was. A reminder of what the Orioles meant to people in Baltimore and I wanted them to know when it was a hot and sweaty, 13-, 14- or 15-inning game and Chris Davis is pitching, it’s important to the them. The Orioles meant something to them. ... Sometimes I think that wore on Chris because he felt like he had to carry the whole load because of the contractual situation.”

Showalter was asked about watching Davis trying to turn his hitting around when it started to go south.

“It was painful. I stayed in touch with Chris and tried to be supportive of him,” Showalter said. “It was painful to watch because I knew inside what was burning and tearing at him. And people say he didn’t want to make - this guy tried everything at one o’clock or two o’clock behind the scenes with every hitting coach. Every video. It was painful to watch.”

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