Designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers on May 11, Renato Nunez was claimed 48 hours later by the Orioles. He reported to the International League and was quietly showing Baltimore a solid return on its investment.
The former Pacific Coast League All-Star made a loud statement, collecting five hits, driving in a pair of runs and scoring twice as Triple-A Norfolk coasted to a 16-1 victory over Louisville at Louisville Slugger Field.
Video: Nunez picks up fifth hit for Norfolk
In 33 games with the Tides, the 24-year-old is batting .289/.381/.430 with 12 extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and 16 runs scored. This was his first five-hit effort since Sept. 5, 2013 when he went 5-for-7 with a homer, double and six RBIs for Double-A Midland in a 21-4 rout of Frisco.
Nunez lined a 1-1 offering from left-hander Brandon Finnegan (2-6) to left field in the opening frame for a single that drove in Orioles No. 5 prospect Cedric Mullins from second base and put Norfolk on the board. He came in to score three batters later when Mike Yastrzemski doubled to center.
Gameday box score
In the third, Nunez got to Finnegan again, lining another RBI single to left, this time scoring 10th-ranked DJ Stewart. An inning later, the 24-year-old sent Finnegan's first pitch back up the middle for another knock. After Garabez Rosa worked a 12-pitch walk to load the bases, Andrew Susac cleared them with a grand slam to left.
Nunez popped out in the fifth against righty Evan Mitchell, but he got the best of 26th-ranked Reds prospect Tanner Rainey in the seventh with a double to deep left. In the ninth, utilityman Hernan Iribarren -- the sixth pitcher used by Louisville -- left a 1-2 breaking ball over the plate that Nunez scorched into center for his fourth single of the night.
Eight of the Tides' nine starters collected at least one hit. Stewart and Susac each drove in four runs, with five other players chipping in multiple hits. Norfolk totaled a season-high 20
John Means (3-1) remained unbeaten in his last four starts after limiting the Bats to a run on five hits over six innings, striking three without issuing a walk. Matt Wotherspoon, D.J. Snelten and Jhan Marinez each tossed a scoreless frame for the Tides.
D.J. Peterson had two hits and drove in Louisville's only run with a fourth-inning single.