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Mountcastle powers O’s on memorable night

No. 100 overall prospect homers in three-hit, three-RBI game
Ryan Mountcastle has three homers and seven RBIs over the past six games for Baltimore. (Nick Wass/AP)
September 5, 2020

The Orioles went into the nightcap of their doubleheader against the Yankees having lost 19 consecutive games to their American League East rivals. Fortunately for Baltimore, a rookie who’s been in the big leagues less than two weeks was able to step up. Ryan Mountcastle went 3-for-3 with a homer

The Orioles went into the nightcap of their doubleheader against the Yankees having lost 19 consecutive games to their American League East rivals. Fortunately for Baltimore, a rookie who’s been in the big leagues less than two weeks was able to step up.

Ryan Mountcastle went 3-for-3 with a homer and drove in three runs in the Orioles' 6-3 victory over New York on Friday at Camden Yards. The team's fifth-ranked prospect is batting .356/.420/.600 with three homers and eight RBIs this season.

"I just love the ... athleticism he's showing," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde told reporters. "He's playing hungry. It's really, really fun to watch a young guy come up with hype playing with this much energy and this much confidence. He's been a big boost and it's been a lot of fun to watch."

MLB Pipeline's No. 100 overall prospect opened the scoring in the second inning against No. 97 overall prospect Deivi Garcia. After a leadoff single by Pedro Severino, Mountcastle jumped on a first-pitch fastball from the right-hander and drove it into the seats in left field.

Mountcastle was 3-for-14 in four games -- going 0-for-1 in Friday’s opener -- since mashing a pair of homers in a loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday. His blast off Garcia wasn’t as deep as the two he hit in Buffalo, but it left the bat at 104 mph and traveled 397 feet.

The 23-year-old rolled over a curveball to third and hustled out an infield single to start the fourth. Mountcastle greeted No. 93 overall prospect Clarke Schmidt, who was making his Major League debut, with a line drive back through the middle to plate DJ Stewart with the tying run in the fifth and later scored on a double to right by Pat Valaika.

"I feel like I still have something to prove and I just like going out there and playing hard every day and working on my craft before the games," Mountcastle said. "I still feel like I could do a little better in some areas. But I'm pretty pleased with how it's started so far."

When the Orioles last beat the Yankees on March 31, 2019, Mountcastle had yet to take his first at-bat for Triple-A Norfolk. Although he'd only been around for three of those 19 losses, he knew the win was an important moment for the club.

"After we scored those runs ... you could tell the energy was definitely bumped up a lot because we were a little down after that first game," he said.

The 23-year-old, who entered the Top 100 prospects list when A’s lefty Jesus Luzardo graduated Friday, was named International League MVP last year. He batted .312 with an .871 OPS and a career-best 25 homers and 83 RBIs for the Tides last year.

Mountcastle, who was drafted as a shortstop, has played exclusively in left field for Baltimore. The No. 36 overall pick in the 2015 Draft did not play the outfield in the Minors until last season.

Garcia, New York’s No. 3 prospect, was charged with four runs on five hits and a pair of walks over 4 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old struck out six in his second big league start. Schmidt, the second-ranked Yankees prospect, had his feet held to the fire quickly and yielded two runs on three hits and a walk with one strikeout over the final 1 1/3 innings. He was added to the active roster between games of the doubleheader.

In other action:

Yankees 6, Orioles 5 (1st game, 9 innings)

Yankees No. 26 prospect Michael King gave up three runs on four hits and a pair of walks over four innings in the opener. The right-hander has made six appearances this season, posting a 6.33 ERA with 18 punchouts over 21 1/3 innings. Ryan Mountcastle entered as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk in the sixth before flying to center field in the eighth. Hunter Harvey, Baltimore’s No. 16 prospect, worked around consecutive singles to secure a scoreless seventh, punching out Gary Sanchez to end the frame. Box score

Padres 7, Athletics 0

Not a bad introduction to the Major Leagues. Without a game played above Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, where he was named 2019 California League Co-MVP, No. 52 overall prospect Luis Campusano homered in his big league debut. The 21-year-old was called up Friday and batted seventh as San Diego’s designated hitter. Leading off the seventh inning, he cranked the first pitch from left-hander T.J. McFarland for an opposite-field solo shot. Jesus Luzardo started for Oakland and shed his prospect status after surpassing 50 big league innings. The left-hander struck out four and walked none, cruising through his first four frames. But he didn’t make it out of the fifth and was charged with all four runs the Padres scored that inning. Luzardo owns a 4.23 ERA across 38 1/3 innings this year. Box score

Twins 2, Tigers 0 (1st game)

Brent Rooker made his Major League debut in the opener of Minnesota's doubleheader. The No. 12 Twins prospect was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance and lined to shortstop for the final out in the fourth inning. Rooker was replaced defensively by Byron Buxton to start the fifth. The 25-year-old outfielder was limited to 65 games with Triple-A Rochester last season, suffering a strained wrist in May and a groin contusion on July 13 that ended his International League season on July 13. He played a pair of rehab games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in August and got into some qualifier games for the U.S. National team in the fall. Rooker is a .267/.357/.505 hitter with 54 homers and 178 RBIs in 259 Minor League games. Twins No. 6 prospect Ryan Jeffers had a hit in two at-bats to bring his average to .269. Sixth-ranked Tigers prospect Isaac Paredes was hitless in two at-bats. Box score

Twins 3, Tigers 2 (2nd game, 8 innings)

Brent Rooker opened the scoring in the nightcap with his first career hit. With two outs in the third inning the Mississippi State product jumped on a first-pitch cutter from southpaw Tyler Alexander and laced it into left field to score Jorge Polanco from second base. Ryan Jeffers entered as a pinch-hitter in the third and went hitless in two at-bats. Isaac Paredes also failed to produce a hit in three chances. Tigers No. 17 prospect Bryan Garcia got Nelson Cruz to bounce into a double play to erase a leadoff single in a scoreless fifth. The 25-year-old has a 1.80 ERA over 15 innings this season. Box score

Phillies 5, Mets 3

Third-ranked Mets prospect Andrés Giménez posted his first multi-hit game since Aug. 9, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. A night after hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly, top Phillies prospect Alec Bohm struck out three times and went 0-for-4. The third baseman is hitting .299/.255/.463 in 63 big league at-bats. Box score

Reds 4, Pirates 2 (1st game)

Jose Garcia may have never reached Double-A in the Minors, but he came through for the Reds in his eighth Major League game. The club's sixth-ranked prospect opened the scoring with an RBI single in the second inning and finished 1-for-3. Second-ranked Pirates prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes singled and walked in three plate appearances. Box score

Pirates 4, Reds 3 (2nd game)

Rookies led the way as the Bucs salvaged a doubleheader split. Cody Ponce got the start and gave up three runs on three hits over four innings. Sam Howard followed with a 1-2-3 fifth and picked up the win. Nik Turley recorded the final out of the inning. Ke’Bryan Hayes tacked on two more hits, including his first big league triple, and is batting .357 through four games. No. 25 Pirates prospect Anthony Alford also tripled, plating two off Trevor Bauer in the fourth, and scored on a wild pitch. Box score

Nationals 10, Braves 9 (2nd game)

The Nationals jumped all over Braves pitching, scoring in all but two of the seven innings. Eleventh-ranked prospect Huascar Ynoa sustained most of the damage, surrendering six runs on five hits while recording seven outs. The right-hander struck out three and walked one, but his ERA nearly doubled to 7.71 in 11 2/3 frames. Braves No. 16 prospect Patrick Weigel made his Major League debut in the seventh. The Nats tagged him for two runs on two hits and three walks before Atlanta went to infielder Charlie Culberson for the final out. After going 0-for-3 in Game 1, second-ranked Nats prospect Luis Garcia singled twice, walked and scored a run. In his second start of the season, fifth-ranked Wil Crowe surrendered a pair of homers and was charged with three runs on four hits and four walks with strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings. Box score

White Sox 7, Royals 4

Three White Sox prospects chipped in on the mound. Seventh-ranked Dane Dunning struggled with command in his third big league start, walking four, but the right-hander fanned four and allowed three runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. No. 25 prospect Codi Heuer followed with 1 1/3 hitless innings to claim the win and No. 26 Matt Foster got two outs in the eighth to drop his ERA to 1.53. Third-ranked Nick Madrigal went 2-for-4 with an RBI to boost his average to .400 in 36 at-bats. Madrigal has at least one hit in all six games since returning from the IL, with multiple knocks in four of those contests. No. 3 Royals prospect Brady Singer fell to 1-4 after allowing five runs on 10 hits, a walk and a hit batter through 5 2/3 frames. He struck out five and owns a 5.58 ERA in eight starts. Box score

Dodgers 10, Rockies 6

Top Dodgers prospect Gavin Lux reached base twice and scored twice, knocking a single in the second inning and drawing a walk in the seventh. The 21-year-old is 3-for-20 this season. Fourth-ranked Brusdar Graterol walked a batter and hit another while recording two outs. Both runners scored after Caleb Ferguson served up a grand slam to Kevin Pillar. Box score

Mariners 6, Rangers 3

Fifth-ranked prospect Evan White made his presence felt in the M's victory. He went 2-for-2 with a two-run double, two walks and a run scored. MLB Pipeline's No. 56 overall prospect also showed off his 70-grade glove with an excellent stop on Eli White's grounder in the third inning. Rangers No. 3 prospect Leody Taveras had a hit and scored a run in four at-bats. No. 25 prospect Kyle Cody took the loss, despite allowing an unearned run on one hit and a pair of walks over three innings. The 26-year-old hasn't given up an earned run in 7 1/3 frames this season. Box score

D-backs 6, Giants 5

Third-ranked D-backs prospect Daulton Varsho contributed a pair of base hits, including a two-run single in the fourth inning. It was the first multi-hit effort for the No. 78 overall prospect. No. 18 prospect Andy Young went hitless in four at-bats. Top Giants prospect Joey Bart had two hits and a run scored in four at-bats, boosting his average to .250 and his OPS to .658 in 44 big league at-bats. Box score

Rays 5, Marlins 4

No. 27 Rays prospect Josh Fleming has made three big league starts and won them all. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits, including homers by Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar, while striking out two in five innings. Fleming owns a 3.52 ERA across 15 1/3 innings. Fellow rookies Ryan Thompson and Peter Fairbanks followed with scoreless frames out of the bullpen. Box score

Cubs 4, Cardinals 1

Cards No. 13 prospect Jake Woodford tossed three innings in relief, allowing a run on three hits, Willson Contreras’ solo homer in the sixth. The 23-year-old right-hander has a 3.95 ERA over 10 2/3 frames in six appearances for St. Louis. Box score

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @Gerard_Gilberto.