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On historic night, Omar Quintanilla quietly contributes

The game story of the Orioles’ 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night practically wrote itself.

Manny Machado, the 20-year-old rookie third baseman, became the youngest Oriole in history to have a multi-home run game. In fact, he became the youngest player ever to have a multi-home run game within his first two major league outings.

It was a monumental feat, one the 17,277 inside Camden Yards likely won’t forget for some time.

But don’t let Machado’s heroics overshadow the performance of another Orioles infielder. Second baseman Omar Quintanilla went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, helping his team secure its sixth win in seven games. His homer in the second inning was perhaps the play of the game. It gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead, an advantage it wouldn’t surrender. 

Still, it wasn’t just the 30-year-old veteran’s numbers or timeliness that were impressive Friday. It was the fact they weren’t shocking.

Quintanilla, who was mainly known for his defense through his first six big-league seasons, is hitting .305 since the Orioles acquired him from the Mets for cash on July 20.

That’s a major improvement for a player who has never played more than 81 major-league games in a season. Quintanilla is a career .228 hitter whose on-base percentage of .283 hovers above the league batting average.

But after a string of helpful outings, such numbers mean little. Quintanilla, who was brought in to add depth to a middle infield that lost second basemen Brian Roberts and Robert Andino to injury earlier this season, has seemingly secured the starting job.

He has recorded at least three at-bats in 15 of 18 games with the Orioles — a theme that was hardly interrupted when Andino returned from a left shoulder injury on July 31.

“I’m just trying to go out there and do my job every day,” Quintanilla said Friday. “This game is tough and all you can do is give it all you’ve got.”

Mission accomplished.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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