It's just beyond the halfway mark of the season, and the Orioles have entered into a predictable groove.
Hit home runs and they might win. Don't hit them, and they'll almost certainly lose.
The Orioles (44-39) have hit at least one home run in each of their 32 wins since May 1, and they've lost their last 11 games when they were held without one, according to Stats Inc.
Through the first two games of the four-game series -- both wins -- the Orioles have hit seven home runs. With four home runs Monday, the club finished June with 46.
That was easily the most in the month -- the Detroit Tigers were second in the major leagues with 33 -- and the Orioles got off to a similarly powerful start to July on Tuesday.
They have 103 home runs this year, good for second in the major leagues behind the Toronto Blue Jays (110).
“From one through nine, there’s home run potential,” Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said. “We’ve got a bunch of big, strong guys on this team. It’s been good, and we’ll try and keep barrel on balls and hope they keep flying out.”
Left fielder Steve Pearce and designated hitter Nelson Cruz each hit a solo shot in the first inning Tuesday. Cruz’s home run tied him for the major league lead with 26, while Pearce’s, which barely cleared the wall in left field, was his third of the series.
Then, in the second inning, Joseph turned on a four-seam fastball for a two-run shot, giving the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
"Sometimes, you go through periods and you get some mistakes and you just miss them," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But our guys have been on what mistakes they’ve made.”
Camden Yards is a hitter-friendly ballpark, especially in the summer heat, but that doesn’t explain away the Orioles’ outbursts Monday and Tuesday. The Rangers were held without a home run in both games.
“You have to square and hit it good to go out,” Cruz said. “It’s not like you’re going to break a bat and it’s going to go out. We’ve been hitting good, and the ball is carrying, also.”
The Orioles have lost every game in which they didn’t hit a home run since April 26 against the Kansas City Royals.
So if they want to keep winning games, it’s not such a bad thing to call Camden Yards home.
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