The Baltimore Orioles are 17-8 in June behind a major-league-best 51 home runs, including three in their rout of the Rays on Sunday afternoon. With three games remaining before the calendar turns to July, Baltimore is within striking distance of the major league record for home runs in a single month, 58, set by the 1987 Orioles and 1999 Mariners (both in May).
Seven different Orioles have hit at least five home runs this month -- Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez, Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that they’re the fourth team in major league history to have that many players hit that many home runs in a month. The others are the 2003 Red Sox (July), 2005 Rangers (August) and the 2016 Mariners (May).
If not for some spectacular defense and a bit of bad luck, the Orioles’ home run total might be even higher. There have been four home run robberies in June. Three of them have come against the Orioles.
The record may be broken pretty quickly. On Tuesday, the Orioles will face San Diego’s Erik Johnson, who has given up 12 home runs to the 125 batters he has faced this season, giving him the worst home run percentage of any pitcher who has tossed at least 25 innings this season.
Notable home run moments
June 2 vs. Red Sox - Trailing the Red Sox by two games entering the day, Manny Machado hit a tiebreaking three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh off Junichi Tazawa. The Orioles finished with a season-high seven home runs, winning 12-7.
June 6 vs. Royals - Danny Duffy had thrown 68 pitches through six innings while holding Baltimore scoreless before Mark Trumbo led off the seventh with a game-tying bomb. Two batters later, Matt Wieters homered to put the O's in front and they went on to win 4-1.
June 7 vs. Royals –Yordano Ventura drilled Manny Machado with a 99 mph fastball in the fifth and both benches cleared. After a lengthy delay, Mark Trumbo greeted Chien-Ming Wang with a homer to center field, and Chris Davis followed suit on the very next pitch.
June 9 at Blue Jays - Down 5-4 in the seventh, Chris Davis hit a game-tying solo shot off Aaron Loup in a game the Orioles would go on to win 6-5.
June 25 vs Rays - Down 4-0 after three innings, Baltimore used four home runs (including two from Matt Wieters) to battle back and beat the Rays 8-6, moving to a season-high 14 games over .500.
The big home run hitter on the 1987 Orioles was Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, who hit 11 of the team’s 58 home runs that May, and also hit .343 in 108 at-bats. The next two big contributors were lesser-known players: Larry Sheets (.346 with 10 home runs that month on the way to a career-high 31 that season) and veteran Jim Dwyer, whose eight home runs that month were double the next-most he hit in any other month in his career. Dwyer averaged one every 35.9 at-bats for his career, but his eight came in 73 at-bats that May.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit 11 home runs to pace the 1999 Mariners. Alex Rodriguez chipped in eight in 16 games. Surprise contributors were Butch Huskey, David Bell and Russ Davis, who each hit seven. The Mariners' pace slowed soon thereafter. They hit 32 in the same number of games it took them to hit 58 (27) in June.
Mark Simon also contributed to this article.