Another O's win that had Gunnar Henderson's impact all over it

When Gunnar Henderson drove a Clarke Schmidt curveball to the flag court in right – a ball he smoked at 112.3 mph, his hardest-hit homer this year – the Orioles series with the Yankees was off and running.

They got off to a good start and had a strong finish.

No leads got away on this night as the Orioles beat the New York Yankees 2-0 to improve to 18-10 and tie for first place. Technically, via a win percentage of .643 to New York’s .633, the O’s have the AL East lead.

It was another O’s win that had Henderson’s fingerprints all over it. Another game where he showed off his massive baseball tools. Another game where his impact was vast and the plays he made big.

He helped beat the Yankees with his bat, his glove and his speed.

"He's 22 years old," O’s manager Brandon Hyde said. "It's pretty scary how good this guy's going to be. How good he is already."

Said Yankees manager Aaron Boone to reporters postgame: “Henderson really stepped on one there to lead off the game. He put together a really good at-bat. I think the third curveball he saw (was the pitch he hit) and he didn’t miss it.”

So the Yankees saw his potent bat in the first inning, and they saw him make a nice defensive play, one he is not often called on to make, in the top of the sixth. With Giancarlo Stanton on first and one out, catcher Austin Wells lined a ball for an apparent single into right field. But right-fielder Anthony Santander made a strong throw to the bag at second. Henderson stretched for the ball like a first baseman and the O’s got the force out, 9-6.

Henderson scored the second O’s run in the eighth with his foot speed. He was hit by a pitch and on second with one out when Ryan O’Hearn flied to right. He scampered to third and made it. That was big when the next play resulted in an E6. Because Henderson was on third, not second base, he scored an important insurance run on the Yankees error.

Henderson’s homer was his fifth career leadoff homer and he hit No. 10 this year to tie Mike Trout for the AL and MLB lead. Henderson has now hit four homers his last six games and seven in the past 13. He began last night slugging .816 on non-fastballs and then drilled a curveball for his homer.

At 22 years, 306 days old, Henderson becomes the youngest player in MLB history with 10 home runs before May 1.

He is also the third player in O’s history with 10 or more before May. 1. Brady Anderson had 11 in 1996 and Frank Robinson had hit 10 before May 1 of 1969.

I mean, when your play and name are linked to players like Trout and Robinson, yikes and wow. The kid continues to keep great company.

As of late last night, here is where Henderson ranked in the AL and MLB in some key stat categories:

Batting average at .289, 17th in AL.
* Slugging at .632 is 1st in AL, tied for 4th in MLB.
* OPS at .983 is 3rd in the AL and 9th in MLB.
* With 10 homers he is tied for first in the AL and MLB.
* With 23 RBIs, he is 5th in the AL, tied for 7th in MLB.
* With 16 extra-base hits he is tied for 1st in AL, tied for 4th in MLB.
* With 25 runs he is tied for 1st in AL, tied for 5th in MLB.
* With 6 stolen bases he is tied for 8th in AL, tied for 9th in MLB.

A few more notes on an impressive O’s victory:

Grayson Rodriguez went 5 2/3 scoreless and tied his career-most with 101 pitches. He is now 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA. In two career starts versus the Yankees, he has thrown 12 scoreless innings.

* Danny Coulombe got the last three outs to pick up his first save of the year and third of his career. He had two last season on July 16 versus Miami and Aug. 25 against Colorado.

* Adley Rutschman’s single in the eighth inning extended his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games. It also was his 300th career hit, and he becomes the ninth primary catcher in O’s history with at least 300 hits. He joined Orioles Hall of Famers Rick Dempsey (854), Gus Triandos (794), Chris Hoiles (739), and Elrod Hendricks (395), as well as Matt Wieters (802), Andy Etchebarren (500), Javy López (367), and Ramón Hernández (351).

During his 10-game hitting streak, Rutschman is 17-for-45, batting .378 with an OPS of .991 and with three homers and 10 RBIs.

* The Orioles are 9-4 now in games decided by one or two runs. They are 2-4 in one-run games, but 7-0 in two-run games.

* The Orioles are now 36-20 since the beginning of the 2023 season in games in the AL East. They went 32-20 last season in the division and are 4-0 this year for a win percentage of .643 in the 56 games.

* The Yankees had scored 30 runs their previous two games, but last night were shutout for the fifth time this year. For the Orioles it was their second shutout the last three games and third in the last eight games. And third overall for the year.

* It is not often a team scores 15 runs, but last night’s result produced this unique game note: The Yankees were shutout for the first time after scoring 15 runs the previous game since July 2 and July 3, 2008.

 

 

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