Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini’s remarkable comeback story added another chapter on Saturday night.
Mancini, who sat out all of the pandemic-shortened season last year while undergoing treatment for colon cancer, delivered the go-ahead run with a double in the eighth inning of the Orioles’ 6-1 win over the Texas Rangers. Mancini went 2-for-5 after hitting only .145 entering the game.
Mancini will try to keep things going at the plate and help Baltimore sweep its three-game series against the Rangers Sunday at Arlington, Tex.
“To see him deliver in a couple of big spots, the base hit to right and then the ball down the left-field line, that’s huge for us and huge for him,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Left-hander John Means (1-0, 2.16 ERA) will start for Baltimore as he opposes Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.05 ERA).
Means has allowed only four runs over 16 2/3 innings in his three starts while striking out 14 and walking only four batters.
But Means gave up the most runs he has surrendered in his past seven starts in his most recent outing when he allowed three in five innings against the Seattle Mariners in the first game of a doubleheader this past Tuesday. Means struck out five, but walked two and gave up a pair of home runs in the 4-3 defeat.
Opposing batters are hitting only .216 against Means, who is 0-1 with a 2.13 ERA in two career starts (12 2/3 innings) against Texas.
“I’ve never been a changeup-first guy, and so when I started throwing that and getting swings and misses, I was a little confused, but I kept throwing it,” Means recently told Baltimore’s Pressboxonline.com.
Texas has now dropped five in a row at Globe Life Field and suffered nine defeats overall.
“We obviously gotta produce a little bit more here,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We’ve gotta have better at-bats and hit better in this ballpark. We won here, but we didn’t hit here last year. It’s one of those things we’ve gotta figure out.”
Gibson will try to keep his recent positive surge going and flip the trend against an Orioles squad that has won six of its first eight road games.
After a rough Opening Day at Kansas City in which he recorded only one out and gave up five runs on four hits and three walks, Gibson has won his past two starts and lasted at least six innings in each.
With an effective slider and cutter, Gibson has allowed only one earned run over 13 combined innings while striking out 11 and walking three over his last two outings. In his most recent start against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, Gibson struck out three and walked two while allowing one earned run on four hits over seven innings.
The 33-year-old Gibson, who is in his second season pitching for the Rangers, has had success against the Orioles, going 6-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 11 career starts over 62 2/3 innings.
“I don’t know that I really needed to do too much work in between the ears honestly,” Gibson said recently about his improvement since Opening Day. “As I looked back on it, I ended up creating some of the damage that they did just by not having good command.”
–Field Level Media