It was a fitting image: Cedric Mullins solo on the field at Camden Yards, receiving applause from fans and teammates alike. Just as he now does in team history, the Orioles’ center fielder stood alone.
At the suggestion of Baltimore coach Fredi González, Mullins’ teammates waited in the dugout for the top of the third inning of Friday night’s 8-5 loss to the Texas Rangers, allowing Mullins to trot out on the field himself and receive another ovation after his go-ahead home run made him the first player in Orioles history with a 30-30 season.
“It’s crazy,” Mullins said. “I don’t even know if I’ve truly processed it yet, to be named the first Orioles to ever have a 30-30 season with the crazy amount of history that this team has, this organization has. To be able to claim that, to be the first one to do it, it’s awesome.”
Mullins has made his mark in center field at Camden Yards throughout this season. Fittingly, that’s where he drove his historic home run Friday night. The three-run blast off Rangers starter Spencer Howard was Mullins’ 30th of the year, making him the first player in Orioles history with 30 home runs and 30 steals in the same year. Like many of Mullins’ feats this year, his historic benchmark came in a defeat, with the Orioles falling after Texas scored five times in the ninth following rookie closer Tyler Wells’ exit with right shoulder discomfort.
Mullins reached 30 steals with two in one game last week in Boston but had gone nearly two weeks since his 29th home run, admitting Friday that the proximity of the achievement had gotten in his head. In the bottom of the second inning Friday, he hit a drive narrowly beyond center fielder Leody Taveras’ leaping effort to give the Orioles a 4-2 lead, sending the ballpark and the Orioles’ dugout into a frenzy.
“We didn’t know if the center fielder caught it or not, which made it more of a hold-your-breath moment,” starting pitcher Alexander Wells said. “When we saw he didn’t catch it, we just went wild.
“His whole game right now is just incredible.”
During the Orioles’ previous homestand, a similar leaping effort at the wall from Mullins was successful, a robbery of New York Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez eventually recognized as MLB’s Play of the Week. In each facet of the game, Mullins has been one of the majors’ best players, putting him in the exceptionally rare position of being a Most Valuable Player candidate on a team that has struggled as much as the Orioles (49-105) have.
“It’s cool to watch somebody be so consistent and so good for so long,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s such a hard game at the major league level, playing in this division with the pitching we face, and for him to have a .900 OPS, whatever it is, and power, speed, take great at-bats, the bunt tool, everything. To watch it night in night out, he is so professional, and he’s just really come into his own this year in so many ways, matured in so many ways.”
Chants of “Cedric! Cedric!” broke out in Oriole Park’s announced crowd of 7,935 after the home run, prompting a curtain call. His teammates, as they have all year, celebrated his success, too.
“Teammates love him,” Hyde said, “and they also know the journey that he’s gone through and adversity.”
Video: Nick Gordon Crushes Three-Run Homer (Stadium)
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/cedric-mullins-secures-first-30-30-season-in-orioles-history-but-tyler-wells-shoulder-injury-leads-to-8-5-loss-to-rangers/ar-AAONkfU674