BOSTON — Before the masses start thinking that there’s a rift between Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds and manager Buck Showalter, let’s squash that -- and tell you about what you don’t see on television.
What you did see Friday night in the Orioles’ 13-inning 6-4 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park was Reynolds hit his first homer of the season, a booming shot over the Green Monster in the third inning that ended a personal 0-for-13 streak and a 76-at bat homerless drought going back to last season (Watch the video by clicking HERE).
After Reynolds rounded the bases after taking Red Sox starter Jon Lester deep, he jogged back to the dugout. And instead of getting the typical high-five greeting at the dugout, his teammates were all sitting down as if nothing had happened. You see Reynolds smile. He knew the scheme, so he decided to get in his own joke to detour into the dugout.
But what you saw on the TV broadcast is Reynolds’ seemingly ignoring Showalter, his congratulatory hand outstretched, on his way into the tunnel.
It looked awkward and dicey, but it wasn’t.
“I got the silent treatment from the dugout, which was expected,” Reynolds said. “They were all sitting down, so I just ran in the tunnel. I think I stood Buck up. He was trying to give me a five and I ran by him, but I didn’t mean to. I gave him a five when I came back out.”
So there’s no animosity between Reynolds, who has struggled at the plate and at third base this season, and his manager. If anything, Showalter speaks glowingly of Reynolds as a contributor and a teammate. Their meeting a few weeks back – when Reynolds told Showalter he was fine playing anywhere in order to help the team – is well-documented.
The bullpen won Friday night’s game, throwing eight scoreless innings, but Reynolds had a good night at the plate. He homered, doubled, drove in two runs (including a sacrifice fly that scored a 13th-inning insurance run) and scored twice.
“I felt good tonight,” Reynolds said. “I got that first hit in that first at-bat, and I think I drew a walk and a double and a sac fly. I was feeling good. My other out, I had a hard line drive to the left fielder. So you know, hopefully this will be the start of me putting some good swings on the ball and you know start contributing around here.”
Showalter, who laughed off Reynolds' "spurning" after Friday's game, hopes a night like Friday can snap Reynolds out of his funk. His 2-for-4 night improved his season average 21 points to .157. Still, Reynolds has 32 strikeouts in 70 at-bats and has tallied at least one strikeout in 20 straight games dating to Opening Day.
"He had some really good at-bats tonight,” Showalter said of Reynolds. “I thought the tack-on run, that's one of the things good clubs are able to do. [There’s] very little margin for error there in the last inning. But I hope so. We'll see. Mark's obviously streaky, and I hope this is the beginning of him being able to contribute the way he's able to offensively."
This whole sequence of event also shows how loose the Orioles' clubhouse is, which is a good thing. Playing in New York and Boston -- in games that matter -- can be pressure-filled situations, but these Birds still have the ability to go through the daily grind with some levity.
That happens when you've won nine out of your past 11.