Henderson homers again and Coulombe closes out Orioles' 2-0 win (updated)

Gunnar Henderson paused at home plate, as he’s done for many of his home runs. Not too long as to show up the pitcher. His timing is ideal with his swing and how he admires its work.

Henderson hit his third leadoff homer tonight and his 10th overall to tie Mike Trout for the major league lead. He barreled the seventh pitch from Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt, a knuckle-curve, and lined it onto the flag court in right field at 112.3 mph off the bat.

Next came the familiar celebration after rounding the bases, the hop and the low, hard hand slap with Adley Rutschman, followed by the double-slap with Ryan O’Hearn near the dugout.

Only two other Orioles totaled 10 homers before May 1: Brady Anderson in 1996 and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in 1969.

"I'm not expecting him to go deep in the first inning," said manager Brandon Hyde. "I just want to see him hit as much as possible."

But would the Orioles build on that one run? How much stress would be heaped on a bullpen that ranked 18th in the majors with a 4.02 ERA and didn’t have Craig Kimbrel available for the ninth?

Grayson Rodriguez shut out the Yankees for 5 2/3 innings, Cionel Pérez came off the injured list and got three big outs, Yennier Cano retired the first four batters he faced, Henderson scored an insurance run in the eighth, and Danny Coulombe handled closing duties in a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 23,184 at Camden Yards.

Not exactly how Hyde drew it up, but the outcome moved his team percentage points ahead of the Yankees for first place.

"We pitched so well against a really, really tough lineup," Hyde said.

Coulombe, who also pitched yesterday, earned his third career save by stranding the runner he inherited from Cano with no outs, and the Orioles recorded their third shutout in the last eight games. Coulombe's first batter, Oswaldo Cabrera, flied to the left field warning track.

"It was definitely a new territory for me," Coulombe said. "It's fun. Anytime you get to pitch in a leverage situation, that's why you play this game. When Kimbrel's down, it's going to be a team effort."

Hyde didn't necessarily plan for Coulombe be responsible for the last outs.

"It kind of slotted certain guys to certain spots in a certain part of the game," Hyde said. "It was going to be kind of how we did it in September last year a little bit, where it's just going to be committee and have Cano face a certain part of the lineup, give him the tough task, honestly, and then have some lefties there to navigate around him."

"I kind of knew where they wanted to put me in the lineup," Coulombe said. "Cano, he had his guys and they had me ready for my situation. It was kind of the seventh inning, I knew if it stayed the same it would probably be me.

"Felt exactly like (September), but everybody's up for it. I think every guy in this bullpen is here for a reason, and tonight was awesome. We got a shutout."

Rodriguez allowed five hits and walked three batters, but he fought through the clutter and lowered his ERA to 3.71 after giving up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in his previous start in Anaheim.

"Grayson was absolutely outstanding," Hyde said. "Really good fastball and changeup tonight. Kept them off balance extremely well. Pitched out of a couple jams, too, against the middle of the order, so outstanding job of pitching."

The Orioles lead the majors with 45 home runs and are on pace to break the team record of 257 in 1996. Henderson, at 22 years and 306 days tomorrow, becomes the youngest player in major league history with 10 homers before May 1, passing Trevor Story at 23 years and 167 days.

"You're not really expecting a leadoff homer to start the game," Hyde said. "Our guy's definitely got the ability to."

"I got to be leadoff a little bit last year, but that was my first taste of it," Henderson said. "Yeah, kind of enjoying getting up there and trying to help the team get on the board early."

Henderson’s homer was one of the defining moments in the win.

There was Rodriguez putting runners on the corners in the third inning, falling behind 2-0 to Aaron Judge and striking him out on a changeup. Anthony Rizzo grounded to third baseman Ramón Urías, and Rodriguez had escaped the jam.

There also was Juan Soto’s strikeout in the fifth with one out, the count full and a runner on first base, to complete an eight-pitch at-bat. And Austin Wells’ soft liner that cleared leaping second baseman Jordan Westburg in the sixth but became a force out when Anthony Santander fired to Henderson covering the bag. Giancarlo Stanton held up in case Westburg made the catch.

And there was Pérez in his first appearance since March 30 retiring Cabrera on a ground ball to strand two inherited runners.

"Great to see Cionel Pérez back throwing the ball like we know he can," Hyde said. "And what can you say about Yenny Cano? Won us the game, for me. Gets us four of the biggest outs of the game against the tough part of their order. And great to see Danny there get three quick outs."

"The bullpen was lights-out," Rodriguez said. "Defense was great, Rutsch was great. But yeah, the bullpen was special tonight. It was a lot of fun to watch."

Rodriguez put at least one runner on base in every inning. Judge singled with two outs in the first. Wells doubled with one out in the second. Stanton led off the fourth with a single. No. 9 hitter Trent Grisham led off the fifth with a walk to keep his average at .056.

Judge flied to deep right field on Rodriguez’s 79th pitch and with Yohan Ramírez warming.

Stanton walked and Gleyber Torres singled in the sixth, and Rodriguez was pulled at 101 pitches that tied his career high.

"Obviously, any time you keep them off the board it's a good night," Rodriguez said. "A little wild trying to find the strike zone. Obviously had some traffic there, a lot. Just trying to limit that next time."

Grisham led off the seventh with an infield hit and was forced at second base after Westburg ranged to his left to make a sliding stop of Anthony Volpe’s grounder. Ryan Mountcastle deflected Soto’s grounder and hustled back to the bag to take Westburg’s throw for the out, and Cano needed one pitch to retire Judge on a fly ball.

Asked about Westburg's defense, Hyde said, "Just his overall game, just everything he's doing. Playing great defense at two starts, huge hits. He's fighting in the batter's box. There's no pull-off. It's going to be a battle for the pitcher every single pitch. He doesn't miss a pitch.

"He's doing a little bit of everything."

Schmidt stayed in the game after O’Hearn’s line drive leading off the fourth slammed into his lower back and caromed to Cabrera at third base for the out. He lasted 5 2/3.

The Orioles were 24-for-25 in stolen base attempts before Westburg singled in the second inning and broke too soon, with Schmidt turning and firing to second base for the out. Schmidt retired the next seven batters but walked Cedric Mullins and Colton Cowser in the fifth.

A wild pitch advanced both runners with one out, but they were stranded.

Westburg produced the last Orioles hit until Rutschman singled to center field in the eighth to extend his streak to 10 games. Nothing else after the second inning except for three walks and the Caleb Ferguson 94.3 mph sinker that nailed Henderson on the left forearm.

Henderson paused again, but this time bent at the waist in pain.

He dived into third base with two outs while advancing on O'Hearn's fly ball and raced to the plate on Volpe's fielding error. Couldn't let his homer be the last of the scoring.

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

Rutschman became the ninth primary catcher in Orioles history with 300 hits, along with Rick Dempsey, Gus Triandos, Chris Hoiles, Elrod Hendricks, Matt Wieters, Andy Etchebarren, Javy López and Ramón Hernández.

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