From even a fair distance, the baseball seemed to have fallen, somehow, from the Seattle night sky into Mitch Haniger’s glove, dashing the Orioles’ dreams along with it. Haniger had tumbled from above the yellow marker atop T-Mobile Park’s right-center field wall onto the warning-track dirt, apparently cradling Cedric Mullins’ long drive in dramatic fashion.
For the Orioles, momentarily, it was deja vu: One day after A’s center fielder Ramón Laureano went over the Oakland Coliseum wall to rob DJ Stewart of a potential game-winning hit, Haniger had done the same to Mullins in the eighth inning of a one-run game. Different city, different ballpark, same heartbreaking result.
“My brain was running a million miles an hour,” Mullins said later. “When I saw him jump up, I stopped, shocked that he might have caught it.”
Except, he didn’t. After a moment, Haniger rose empty-handed, while Mullins spun his left hand in a high circle rounding second base. The baseball was gone, vanishing in the grate-thin gap between Haniger’s glove and the right-field stands. The two-run homer highlighted another excellent all-around night in a season full of them for Mullins, and sparked the Orioles’ 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Mariners on Monday.
“We couldn’t tell — our dugout was silent,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “When [Haniger] was on the ground and looking disappointed, I was wondering if he was deking us all.”
But that’s not how things are going for Mullins…