Majors' home run leader hits game-winning shot to boost contending O's
By Ryan Baillargeon
BALTIMORE -- Mark Trumbo has been a run-producing machine in the middle of the Orioles' lineup since they acquired him in the offseason. It was something they had been missing the past two days as he sat out with back spasms.
But the power-hitting right fielder returned to the lineup in Sunday's series finale and made his presence felt when the Orioles needed it. Trumbo broke a deadlock in the eighth inning when he smacked a mammoth home run to left-center field for the game-winning shot in the Orioles' 2-1 win over the Rays.
"This time of year, someone's got to step up at some point in the game," Trumbo said. "We did a real nice job. It was a well-played game, but we just needed to get that hit there at the end. So it was nice."
The homer traveled a Statcast-projected 433 feet and extended his Major League lead in dingers with 43. His 101 RBIs lead the Orioles.
It was the second time in five days that Trumbo hit the deciding home run in a key September victory. His homer in Wednesday's 1-0 win in Boston also led the way.
"It's equally as cool each time," Trumbo said of having a game-winning hit. "It reminds you why you play, to have that opportunity and come through."
Manager Buck Showalter said they had Trumbo run in the outfield pregame to make sure he didn't experience any tightness after playing the field. They wanted to keep Pedro Alvarez in the lineup at designated hitter, which meant Trumbo had to be able to man right field if he was going to return.
He showed no signs of the injury hampering him while he manned right field Sunday.
"We wouldn't put him out there if we didn't answer everything we can," Showalter said before the game. "Who knows what's going to happen in the heat of the game? He says he's fine and ready to go. He's had a wealth of experience with this. We're really leaning on him."
The Orioles were hoping to get outfielder Joey Rickard back Monday, but he suffered a setback Friday when facing live pitching didn't go well. He's been on the disabled list since July 22 with a right thumb ligament injury, and a return this season seems to be in jeopardy.
"Joey's not progressing very well. I don't think that's imminent," Showalter said of a return. "At some point, if it doesn't get better, I don't know if they'll contemplate some surgery or something. I don't know. They're not there yet."
Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.