Every day Gunnar: He homers for fourth straight game and 13th time in last 30 games

ST. LOUIS – The Orioles remarkable Gunnar Henderson can always seem to make his special play sound like it’s not that special. But we all know better.

He can say he made an adjustment here, or a tweak there, got with the coaches and now feels more comfortable.

But however he wants to say it, he just keeps bashing baseballs out of ballparks. St. Louis right-hander Sonny Gray was no-hitting the Orioles into the sixth inning when Henderson struck. A 417-foot shot to center and a 5-0 deficit was now 5-3.

Henderson hit his MLB-leading 16th homer. He is now on a pace for the year, rounding up here, for 58 homers.

Gunnar, you pretty locked in at the moment?

“Probably just making some good adjustments in the cage. Didn’t really feel right to me in the cage and the hitting coaches now we just went to work and been making good progress and just keeping that going,” he said of some changes he made he said a couple of weeks ago.

Said manager Brandon Hyde after the O's 6-3 road trip opening loss: “He is just staying on the ball so well and he’s taking good at-bats. But to be able to hit balls to all fields and cover (the plate) the way he does, it’s impressive.”

For sure. He has homered in four straight games, the first Oriole to do that since DJ Stewart from Sept. 5-9, 2020. His OPS is 1.833 in those games. He has six homers his last 10 games with an OPS of 1.228. And he has an MLB-leading 13 his last 30 games. A player hitting that many for a full year would hit 70.

Since April 15 over those last 30 games, Henderson is batting .291/.378/.684/1.062. His 13 homers lead the majors in this span with Houston’s Kyle Tucker next with 11 and the Yankees Aaron Judge with 10. He has 24 RBIs in this stretch and his OPS during this time ranks fourth in MLB.

Gunnar was asked about not feeling great in the cage while he is having a wonderful season.

“I’m a perfectionist so I like to get that feel a certain way. But yeah, very fortunate to be in the position I am in right now,” he said simply and with his usual modesty.

Before the game, Hyde was asked again about Henderson's recent torrid stretch and his overall good play, including some outstanding defense at short.

“I’m running out of adjectives honestly,” said Hyde. “I need to start bringing a Thesaurus for any interview about Gunnar. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing and how good he is. In every single way. There is not one thing he is not good at and he’s 22 years old. Incredible season so far.”

But the O’s as a team had a rough first night of their road trip, getting just three hits while right-hander Dean Kremer allowed five runs in four innings. They went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and their pitchers walked seven.

Gunnar sounded very confident the team would bounce back well tonight.

“We’re just going to go out there and continue to play our game. Just go out and I mean we had a long homestand so just get our feet up under us and we’ll come back out here tomorrow,” he said.

We don’t often hear Hyde call out individual players, but he will do that with his team. And he did last night with his offense. He mentioned how good Gray is for St. Louis but thought his hitters greatly contributed to their downfall in the series opener.

“I just thought we were chasing off the edges," he said. "We were chasing his breaking ball. Thought we were really undisciplined honestly. We need to be a more disciplined club against a starter that can pitch to the edges and try to get him in the strike zone. So we’ll ambush some people early, but it’s not going to work against guys that can really, really command the baseball. You know Laz’s strike zone was whatever, but you just have to do a better job of trying to get the ball in the white part of the plate.”

St. Louis (21-26) has won six of its last eight games and homered in a season-high eight in a row. The Cardinals are 14-5 versus AL East teams since the start of 2023. In that span they are 3-1 against the Orioles, 5-1 versus Boston and 2-1 against New York, Toronto and Tampa Bay. 



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