When Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo singled home Adam Jones in the seventh inning of Saturday night’s 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, the hit carried a lot of personal significance and brought back a cherished memory.
It was the 1,000th hit of his career and it came in the same stadium where he got his first major league hit way back on Oct. 3, 2010 — in his last of 15 September at-bats on the last day of the season.
Trumbo, 32, remembers the first one well, because he wondered at the time of that first hit if he would ever get another. The ball is displayed prominently in a picture box on the wall at his parents’ home in Villa Park, Calif.
"September call-up at that point with nothing guaranteed,’’ he said. “I think in order to get some of these numbers, you've got to hang around for a while. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity … to have enough at-bats to get 1,000."
That was never in doubt after he returned for spring training the following year. He hit 29 homers and drove in 87 runs in his first full major league season to finish second in the balloting for American League Rookie of the Year.
Though Trumbo has had some great moments in his career, including winning the major league home run title in 2016 in his first season in Baltimore, he said this milestone was special because it represents more than just his reputation as a power hitter.
“That is pretty cool,’’ he said. “I actually like this one a little bit more than some of the other things I’ve done. Unfortunate that it didn’t contribute to a win tonight, but it’s pretty special to me.
"I guess I've always kind of been known for the power-hitting type stuff. I've always tried to be able to help the team and stay competitive. I know people don't care about the batting average, but it still matters. It's important. It was a two-strike hit today and it drove in a run. There's probably been a few of those along the way and I guess 1,000 is just a nice round number.”
The Orioles have been through a turbulent couple of weeks and the series in Texas certainly has not gone well, but Trumbo said he feels like things are settling down and the retooled team is taking shape.
“I think we’ve been playing good ball, other than obviously these past three games,’’ he said. “Some of the younger guys are doing some really nice things. Some of our new relievers look like they’ve got some pretty big arms, so I don’t think it’s all that difficult. I think that we’re making some progress and showing some improvement.
“I think we're going to have to be a little more consistent to win these games, but — especially with the bats — I'm seeing some improvement. Post-All-Star break, we've been one of the better offenses and I'd like to keep that up."