ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Cedric Mullins homered leading off Baltimore’s first game without Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single and the Orioles matched their 2021 win total with a 7-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
Hours after the Orioles traded their longest-tenured player and fan favorite, with Mancini going to Houston in a three-team deal, they won their 52nd game to get back over .500 and within 2 1/2 games of the American League’s final wildcard spot. Baltimore was 52-110 last season.
“None of what we’ve accomplished is possible without him, and not necessarily on the field,” Orioles starter Spenser Watkins said. “Of course having him on the field is a great attribute. But what he’s instilled in all of us in the clubhouse is priceless. He is a leader, a teammate, a friend. … There’s a lasting impression for sure.”
Watkins (4-1) struck out five without a walk over six innings. The only run allowed by the right-hander was on a solo homer by Corey Seager in the sixth inning.
“Happy with how we responded after a tough day,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Mancini’s locker was empty after the game, but he and his Orioles teammates spent time beforehand sharing their goodbyes in what was an emotional time.
“Trey did such a good job of just individually addressing each guy and thanking them for our efforts for him. And we got to express our thanks for his efforts towards us,” Watkins said. “A happy, a sad two hours. I mean, we went through the whole rigmarole. … It was tough, but it was cool to come out and get a win.”
Seager’s 24th homer came after he missed three games because of a contusion after fouling a ball off his lower right leg last Thursday. The All-Star shortstop returned to the…