BALTIMORE (AP) — Moments after Cedric Mullins finished hitting for the cycle — with a dramatic three-run homer that broke the game open a bit — the Baltimore Orioles let their center fielder have the spotlight to himself.
Mullins took the field before the rest of his teammates for the top of the ninth, receiving a standing ovation from an appreciative Baltimore crowd.
“I immediately knew as soon as the third out was made, that they were doing that," Mullins said. “They went on and sent me out there. Just to have a great crowd out there today, and to be able to share the moment with a lot of people was fun.”
Mullins became the seventh player in team history to hit for the cycle. He did it with a single in the third inning, a triple in the fifth, a double in the seventh and then a homer to right field in the bottom of the eighth. Mullins also made a diving catch in the outfield in Baltimore's 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Mullins became the first Oriole to hit for the cycle since Austin Hays on June 22, 2022 against Washington. The other Baltimore players who have done it are Brooks Robinson (1960), Cal Ripken (1984), Aubrey Huff (2007), Félix Pié (2009) and Jonathan Villar (2019).
Terrin Vavra, who came on as a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth, drew a two-out walk to give Mullins the at-bat he needed. Mullins drove a 1-1 changeup from Duane Underwood Jr. 376 feet over the scoreboard in right.
“I know that was a very special moment for him,” Hays said. “It was a special moment for me too, just to see him get to complete that. Especially with a homer too, and he did it at home. Just can't script it any better than that.”
Luis Arraez of the Miami Marlins is the only other major leaguer to hit for the cycle this year.
The Orioles improved to 25-13 on the season, and the 28-year-old Mullins has been one of their steady contributors during this excellent start. He's hitting .268 with five homers and 12 stolen bases while playing an important defensive position.
“What a special night for Cedric. What a great player,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Makes the diving catch in center field, just does everything tonight offensively.”
Mullins' performance delighted the crowd of 25,682 at Camden Yards. The Orioles haven't been drawing all that well despite their strong play, but this was a spirited crowd on a Friday night. Baltimore has started a new attraction called the “Bird Bath” in which a section of fans in left field is sprayed when the Orioles produce an extra-base hit.
There was plenty of that in this game.
“It seemed like they enjoyed it out there,” Hyde said. “Anything that brings excitement and energy to the ballpark, I think is great.”
Hyde suggested that perhaps a cycle should mean the media gets sprayed.
“The whole lower deck and the press box gets a bath,” Hyde joked.