Henderson hits another leadoff homer and Burnes strikes out 11 in Orioles' 6-3 win (updated)

Gunnar Henderson has got the routine down to where he could perform it in his sleep. But it makes more sense at the ballpark.

The loud contact leading off the first inning. Touching the bill of his helmet as he approaches second base and looks at the bullpen. The hop after stepping on home plate and slapping of hands above his head. The crouching low-five to the No. 2 hitter. The upright and aggressive double-smack with the next batter in front of the dugout.

Jordan Westburg greeted Henderson first today and Ryan O’Hearn was next in line. The major league co-leader in home runs got his 15th today and fifth to start off the first inning. It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound. Henderson is in attack mode and flashing power that’s Derby worthy.

Henderson’s third homer in three days pointed the Orioles toward a 6-3 victory over the Mariners before an announced crowd of 30,494 at Camden Yards. They went 5-3 on the homestand, with a game rained out, and are 29-15 as they board a flight to St. Louis.

Corbin Burnes held Seattle to one run over six innings, scattering seven hits and tying his season high of 11 strikeouts from Opening Day. He struck out two in his last outing, a career low as a starter.

Burnes threw 94 pitches, including 20 in the first. Cal Raleigh burned 10 of them on a strikeout to end the inning.

Asked about the difference in his strikeout totals, Burnes said, "Just a little better pitch mix today, a little bit better execution. I know I can get the punchouts, so just recently we've been getting some quick outs with ground balls and came across some teams that did a good job of fighting off some two strikes."

Jacob Webb faced three batters in the seventh, retired none and surrendered a run-scoring double to Luis Urías. Cole Irvin, pitching for the first time since May 10, watched Jorge Mateo field Josh Rojas’ grounder and use his glove to flip the ball to Henderson, who caught it barehanded and turned the double play.

Irivn retired the side in order in the eighth, with Colton Cowser making a sensational diving catch in right-center field to rob Luke Raley, and Craig Kimbrel recorded his 426th career save in his 800th game, the ninth this season and first since May 3 in Cincinnati. Kimbrel struck out two.

Manager Brandon Hyde congratulated Kimbrel during his media session for reaching 800.

"That's unbelievable," Hyde said. "Incredible accomplishment by an incredible guy."

Hyde would have stayed with Irvin if the Orioles padded their lead beyond a save opportunity.

"I know he's been itching to get out there on the mound," Hyde said, "and it was great seeing him to three up, three down today."

Mariners starter George Kirby tried to get a splitter past Henderson and watched it sail 422 feet to center field. Henderson cleared the left field wall last night with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, only the third left-handed batter to do it since the dimensions changed in 2022.

The Orioles began the day tied with the Yankees for the major league lead with 66 home runs. Henderson is on pace to hit 55, two more than Chris Davis’ club record set in 2013.

Brady Anderson holds the Orioles record for leadoff homers in a season with 12 in 1996, followed by Cedric Mullins with eight in 2021 and Anderson with seven in 1999 and 2000. Henderson, Mullins (2022), Seth Smith (2017), Adam Jones (2016) and Don Buford (1971) are tied with five.

Leadoff hitters have homered in three of the last four games, including Westburg on Wednesday.

"I'll take it," Hyde said. "Gunnar's going to lead off tomorrow. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

"It's 15 homers in less than two months from a guy in his second full year in the big leagues. It's pretty amazing. Not only that but the shortstop defense he plays and a stolen base today. Just an all-around game. He's a fun player to watch. He's one of the best players in the game right now and he's dangerous at the plate."

How impressive is this stretch from Henderson?

"Pretty average at best," Burnes quipped. "I mean, we're not even through the month of May and he's got 15 homers. He's got room for improvement."

Henderson isn't thinking home run when he steps to the plate.

"Trying to make it happen organically," he said. "Every time I kind of think of it, it usually doesn't work out."

Henderson hit 28 homers in 622 plate appearances as a rookie and knew there was more in the tank.

"I felt there was a lot more development that I had and a lot, I guess, better swings that I could have taken from last year," he said. "I feel like I'm allowing myself to do that this year and just really taking good approaches to the plate and trying to honestly just get on base for the guys behind me. And whenever I can do some damage, then I'll try to do it."

Westburg singled after Henderson’s homer, was safe at second base on an attempted force play, moved to third on Ryan Mountcastle’s double play grounder and scored on Cowser’s infield hit.

Mateo, who’s become the everyday second baseman, singled with one out in the second, stole second base, raced to third on catcher Seby Zavala’s throwing error and scored on James McCann’s double. Mateo has eight hits in his last eight games.

O’Hearn led off the third inning with his sixth home run. Cowser doubled with one out and scored on Mullin’s single – the center fielder’s second RBI since April 28.

Mullins, who halted an 0-for-17 skid yesterday with a bunt single, stole his 100th career base and was stranded.

Cowser singled in the eighth off Cody Bolton and registered his first three-hit game since April 11 in Boston. Austin Hays and Mullins singled for a 6-3 lead. Mullins had his first multi-hit game since April 21.

"To see him get on top of a couple balls and be on time, he's a huge part," Hyde said. "He contributes."

Burnes had nine strikeouts through the fourth, eight of them swinging. He got four with his slider, two with his changeup and one each with his sinker, cutter and curveball. He finished with five from the slider and two from the cutter.

"Really dominant," Hyde said. "A little bit of bad luck with some of the stuff that happened and he couldn't go deeper in the game, but loved the two-seamer. He had the sinker going today, too, so it's tough to hit a 96 mph cutter and then you back it up with a 97 mph sinker. Even threw his changeup a little bit. He had everything going today."

"It was awesome," Henderson said. "Just went out there and dominated. Got to see all his stuff. I got a good view of it, so it was really cool watching him go to work out there."

Raley led off the second with a double, Burnes struck out the next two batters, Dylan Moore walked and Urías singled to left field to cut the lead to 2-1. Zavala flied to the center field fence at 401 feet and 105.9 mph off the bat.

Raleigh singled with two outs in the third and tried to score on Raley’s double into the right field corner, but Cowser fired to Mateo, who threw home for the out.

"Overall, just stuff-wise, I would say it was definitely better," Burnes said. "Misses today were in a better spot, so that's one of those things, you're not leaving balls over the plate ... you're going to have a lot of success."

Cowser contributed in pretty much every way possible.

"That diving play was a huge play," Hyde said. "It changed some things for us and for them. Great at-bats, he walks and driving the baseball. He's playing really good defense for us, also."

* Double-A Bowie catcher Samuel Basallo was removed from today’s game as precaution with dizziness. Basallo is the No. 2 prospect in the organization and the 14th in baseball per MLB Pipeline.

Dylan Beavers belted his fifth home run and had three hits. Jud Fabian had three hits and two RBIs halfway through the game.

Heston Kjerstad hit a walk-off grand slam in the 12th inning for Triple-A Norfolk.

Jonathan Heasley started and tossed five scoreless innings with two hits allowed and five strikeouts. Kade Strowd struck out four in 1 1/3 scoreless.

High-A Aberdeen’s Edgar Portes tossed five scoreless and hitless innings. He walked none and struck out six.

Elio Prado came within a triple of the cycle. Douglas Hodo hit his first home run.

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