The rain picked up again as Austin Hayes came to the plate in the sixth inning, as if the sprinkler system in the sky could tell the Orioles outfielder was on fire. Even this water suppression system couldn’t choke Hayes, who quickly added the last remaining item on his checklist to left center field.
The 26-year-old hit second base with a double, adding to his single, triple and home run earlier in the game. For some time, the rain that kept falling on Hayes as he soaked up the applause at Camden Yards on Wednesday night was the only thing keeping him from making history. The 44-minute delay gave way to a water-soaked resumption, but that was enough to give Hayes a fourth.
Hayes’ performance started innocently enough, with one infield leading to the first inning against Washington Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin. Things escalated from that point on, with three consecutive off-base hits making up the bulk of Baltimore’s offensive rush en route to a 7–0 win, with inclement weather ending the contest after six innings.
During the first rain delay, catcher Robinson Chirinos joked with Hayes asking if he wanted to restart play so he could have an opportunity to play at the plate. Hayes said at the time that he was more concerned with leadership.
But when he stepped towards the plate in the sixth, it was impossible to get the magnitude of the situation out of his mind. He knew what could be achieved with one stroke, so he was looking for a suspension slider that he could control, and he got it.
“I got goosebumps as I touched second base,” Hayes said. “There is nothing left but to simply point to the sky and thank God for this opportunity.”
Hayes became the sixth player in Orioles history (31-39) to enter the cycle, and the first since Jonathan Villar did so in 2019. He is the first in this group, which includes legends Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. cycle in the first six innings of the game.
Hayes also threw out a third-base runner in the first inning, another standout moment for the young outfielder—a play that led him to talk about the All-Star Game.
“It will be shown nationally and at the Sports Center, which was discussed tomorrow,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I hope people recognize this and start paying attention to what year he’s in because he’s having a great first half.”
During the second rain delay, right-hander Tyler Wells tweeted backing Hayes to receive an All-Star nod. And he backed it up after throwing a career-high 95 pitches in five scoreless innings, urging Orioles fans to vote for Hayes in the Midsummer Classic.
“He messed up this year,” Wells said. “Hopefully we can see him at the All-Star Game. … He wants big spots. He constantly strives to be the best he can be. I think everyone at this club is rooting for him, and hopefully Birdland too.”
In his second at-bat, Hayes sent a homer over the left field fence and then added a triple standing hit off the right field wall in the fourth inning. Then came the first delay due to rain, which gave Hayes enough time to consider the moment.
The turn in the weather gave Hayes another chance. And just minutes after Hayes’ feat, the rain intensified and sent Wednesday’s exit into yet another delay, leading to a premature end. But Hayes got at least a fourth at bat and he didn’t miss the opportunity.
“He’s just the epitome of a gamer and a pro,” said Trey Mancini, who was the first player to hug Hayes after reaching him after Mancini’s two-run homer beat them both in the sixth. “He always grinds everyone at bat and today we saw what can happen when you do that. I’m so proud of him.”
Around the horn
>> Right-hander Matt Harvey will begin rehab with High-Aberdeen on Thursday. The veteran starting pitcher has 13 games left after his 60-game suspension for “participation in the distribution of illegal drugs,” according to Harvey’s testimony at the February death trial of former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay. pitcher of the Angels Tyler Skaggs. The earliest that Harvey will be eligible for reinstatement to Triple-A Norfolk is July 7th. In the meantime, he can compete at lower levels in the minors.
>> Infielder Ramon Urias started playing baseball on Wednesday, including some swinging. “This is the first day he’s back on the track” since Urias’ left oblique injury, Hyde said.
>> Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, who was demoted last week by Triple-A Norfolk, allowed five runs on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in his first five innings for the tides. He came out of the bullpen in the second inning and allowed all five runs in that frame before settling down.
Orioles players to hit the cycle
Austin Hayes June 22, 2022
Jonathan Villar August 5, 2019
Felix Pai, August 14, 2009
Aubrey Huff June 29, 2007
Cal Ripken Jr. May 6, 1984
Brooks Robinson May 15, 1960
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