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Familiar faces in crowd a factor as Orioles' Trey Mancini breaks out on bobblehead night

One of the more indelible moments of Trey Mancini’s major league career was the first, when he homered in his first major league start and his mother went wild in the stands.

It should be no surprise that as Mancini created another Saturday with a home run and a career-high four hits on his bobblehead night, an evening that stands in bold contrast with the struggles that have defined his sophomore season, that his entire family was back in Baltimore to take it in.

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Is a visit from family in the midst of the most frustrating season imaginable worth the nine-point jump in his batting average that he left Camden Yards with Saturday? Maybe not. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.

The bottom of the Orioles batting order came alive on Saturday night, with the last three hitters in the order combining to drive in nine runs in a lopsided win over the Rays.

“They always try to inspire me, and they do a good job to kind of keep my head up and everything,” Mancini said. “They’re great. It’s been really fun having them here this weekend.”

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Whether it was the talismanic bobblehead the Orioles kept in the dugout or the familiar faces, including a “ton of friends” who came to Baltimore to take their own bobblehead home, Mancini needed something to change his luck. In his first at-bat, he swung through a pair of sliders and dropped the head on a 2-2 splitter for a towering two-run home run that put the Orioles ahead. It was his 13th home run of the season, but first since July 12. His singles in the fourth, sixth, and seventh innings made it a career high in hits.

It was the kind of night experienced lately by teammate Jonathan Schoop, who entered July in a slump of his own but is hitting .368 with eight home runs in July to raise his average to .244.

“I can go through a laundry list of people that have helped me a lot throughout the whole year,” Mancini said. “But I think seeing Schoopy this month, we were kind of going through it together for a while, and he just knew the whole time, he just said, ‘I know one day, I’m too good to keep doing this, and I know I’ll break out and start hitting.’ That’s exactly what he did. He didn’t change his attitude or anything like that. It’s pretty cool to be around that every day, and I’m trying to do the same thing myself and just think less during the game, go out and trust my abilities. Being around a guy like that definitely helps you through tough times.”

Mancini’s effort Saturday means he is batting .367 (11-for-30) since the All-Star break.

Before the game, manager Buck Showalter said he was hopeful a Schoop-like breakout for Mancini could occur.

“I was looking the other day, looking on the plane actually, looking at his year last year and how good it was,” Showalter said. “And he will be again. It’s painful to watch him, how hard he takes it. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. It's something that Jon kind of got over, kind of got through. Things like that, you kind of go forward, you really reach back for that. ... You go through that a lot up here, where [you say], ‘OK, you can let me up.’ The problem is the level is so good, the pitching is so good, a little thing can set you into a [slump]. That's why I talk a lot about shortening the bad periods. And Jon and Trey haven't been able to shorten that.

“But once it gets going, the ball looks big and everything slows down. Trey, it’s almost like he’ll have a game and you go, ‘OK, there you go.' Then, he’ll have an at-bat or so that will kind of put him back on his heels again.”

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