Baltimore Orioles Veteran Makes Impactful Comeback

Jorge Mateo returns with a powerful performance for the Orioles

by Zain ul Abedin
Baltimore Orioles Veteran Makes Impactful Comeback
© Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Baltimore Orioles infielder Jorge Mateo returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after being activated from the 7-day injured list, wasting no time making his presence known among the Atlanta Braves. He hasn't played since June 2.

Batting sixth in the order for the Orioles and playing shortstop, Mateo was making just his second appearance this season back. That return, of course, was very much needed and highly anticipated due to how the initial injury occurred; he was struck on the head by teammate Cedric Mullins' bat while standing in the on-deck circle.

It didn't take long for questions of readiness in Mateo offensively to be answered. With a 0-2 count in the bottom of the second against Braves starter Max Fried, he cranked a three-run homer into the Orioles' bullpen in left-center field.

The blast, his fourth of the season, gave Baltimore an early 3-0 lead and electrified the Camden Yards crowd. Though he has done his best hitting of his career, in his third season, power has never been one of Mateo's strong points.

He hit his first home run since May 23 and his 28th in three-plus seasons and 420 games. He has an underwhelming .374 career slugging percentage.

Mateo Sets Tone

And while Mateo's homer represented his only hit of the game, finishing 1-for-3, it was plenty more than enough to set the tone for the O's.

The pitching staff for Baltimore, like it has all season long, did the rest. Headed by Albert Suarez, four relievers strung together a five-hit shutout. Orioles, 5th in a row, 44-22. That was an even more significant victory because it was the first time all season team leader Gunnar Henderson had been forced out of the lineup.

Mateo's return was almost timed perfectly for these Orioles, undergoing their most grueling stretch of games this season. The Orioles play two more games at Atlanta, then return home to face the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-game series.

And looking at the Phillies - currently harboring the best record in the National League - the Orioles need every gun blazing, specifically their starting shortstop. Tuesday night's performance was further proof that Mateo is back and will be able to help his team sustain its winning streak with these games. Now the Orioles are 15-4 in 19.

Baltimore Orioles