Baltimore Orioles

Austin Hays’ 2 homers, Cedric Mullins’ robbery at the wall not enough as Orioles blow late lead in 4-3 loss to Yankees

Cedric Mullins has spent this season establishing himself as a fixture in the Orioles’ future. Of late, Austin Hays has done the same.

But heroics from each of the dynamic outfielders were not enough to prevent a 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night at Camden Yards.


For much of the game, it seemed as if the Orioles’ highlight came in the second inning, when Mullins jumped and twisted in center to rob New York catcher Gary Sánchez of a two-run home run. Then Hays, who perhaps had the best view of Mullins’ catch as the right fielder beside him, hit his second home run of the night, a two-out, two-run shot in an 0-2 count in the eighth inning to put Baltimore (46-99) ahead 3-2.

But rookie closer Tyler Wells could not hold a lead for his second straight outing. He opened the ninth with his second walk in as many appearances, matching his total from his previous 25. A subsequent single and double steal preceded Brett Gardner’s bloop single into left-center to reverse the score amid a sudden downpour of rain — and chants of “Let’s Go Yankees” — in a sequence that also featured the bizarre ejection of the Camden Yards grounds crew.


“Tough loss, tough loss,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We did a lot of really good things, and a blooper beats us.”

It provided a disappointing finish to a game in which two young outfielders continued to brighten their stars. Hyde has clamored for Mullins as a Gold Glove candidate for much of the past two seasons, and Wednesday’s play alone made his case. With two outs in the top of the second inning, Mullins jumped at the wall to rob Sánchez, his back facing the field. A crowd of 10,402 split between New York and Baltimore fans shared a brief silence before Mullins casually flipped the ball to Hays, prompting equal eruptions of elation and disappointment.

“I thought it was gone,” pitcher John Means said, “and typical Cedric, he doesn’t show off very much, so he just kind of nonchalantly took it out of his glove and threw it in. I was in awe.

“Anytime that the ball goes in the air to center field, I think Cedric has a chance of catching it, to be honest. But that was the most incredible catch.”

Means pointed toward him with a large smile on his face, while Sánchez could be seen fittingly mouthing “Wow.” It was the most notable rejection of a home run at Camden Yards by an Orioles outfielder since Hays robbed Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. almost exactly two years ago, though Hays said Mullins’ play was “definitely better.”

“I was yelling at him, ‘Get up! Rob it!’” Hays said. “And he jumped even higher than I thought he could. It was an unbelievable catch.”

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’s denial of a potential Trey Mancini walk-off home run was also a highlight at Oriole Park that year. In the final game of that season, Baltimore right fielder Stevie Wilkerson returned the favor, robbing Bradley of a go-ahead home run while tumbling over a short fence in right field at Fenway Park. Means said that catch and Mullins’ Wednesday rank as his top two.

“He deked me also,” Hyde said. “I wasn’t sure if he had caught the ball. I went on Hays’ reaction hoping that Hays was right. And when he showed the ball everybody, the dugout erupted. It was a heck of a catch.”


An inning later, Yankees shortstop Gio Urshela wisely hit a ball where even Mullins could not catch it, his two-run home run providing a lead New York was four outs from holding onto when Hays homered for a second time, giving him two multi-home run games in five days and 20 home runs on the season. His first of the night, a sixth-inning solo shot, came off Nestor Cortes Jr. and accounted for their only damage against the former Oriole as he struck out 11.

Means’ streak

More frequently than any other starter this season, Means has given the Orioles a chance to win. Yet Wednesday marked the eighth straight time they failed to do so with their ace left-hander on the mound.

He threw more than 100 pitches for the first time since his May 5 no-hitter and pitched into the sixth inning with Urshela’s homer accounting for all the runs against him. Although Means has had trouble with home runs this year, the curveball low in the strike zone to Urshela became the first of that offering to leave the park this season. Among pitchers who had thrown at least 100 curveballs, only two had produced a lower slugging percentage with that pitch than Means entering Wednesday.

“I didn’t really have anything going tonight, to be honest,” Means said. “My curveball was pretty brutal the whole night and the changeup was a lot harder than it usually is and wasn’t really sure why. Really, I just had the fastball and that was it.”

After initially struggling out of a two-month stint on the injured list, Means has a 3.00 ERA over his past four starts.

“He’s a perfectionist, and he’s a big time competitor and he feels like when he’s out on the mound, he feels like we should win the game,” Hyde said before the game. “When we don’t, then he takes it upon himself to feel like he made a mistake for us to lose it, which normally isn’t the case.”


Mancini, Severino sit after early exits

Baltimore Orioles Insider


Want to be an Orioles Insider? The Sun has you covered. Don't miss any Orioles news, notes and info all baseball season and beyond.

Having exited Tuesday’s game after one plate appearance with a recurrence of the right side soreness that has pestered him for more than a week, Mancini seemingly made a quick return to the Orioles’ lineup, only to make a quicker exit. He was part of Hyde’s original lineup Wednesday afternoon only to be removed less than 15 minutes later.

“He took some swings in the cage, just still feels it a little bit,” Hyde said. “We’re not going to push him on this, and the right thing to do is to give him another day or two and just kind of evaluate it every single day.”

Mancini was recognized pregame as the Orioles’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. He and Orioles assistant hitting coach José Hernández both wore Clemente’s No. 21 in recognition of the league’s day honoring one of its greatest humanitarians.

Catcher Pedro Severino also got the night off after feeling upper leg/groin soreness Tuesday.


Thursday, 5:05 p.m.


TV: MASN Radio: 105.7 FM