Henderson's 20th home run highlights Orioles' 9-4 win over Athletics (updated)

OAKLAND – Using an opener tonight didn’t work for the Athletics. Bringing in a rookie behind him didn’t work.

The idea of a Jerry Garcia tie-dye promotion also backfired, with the Orioles truckin’ around the bases.

The Orioles scored three times in the first inning, built on their lead with Gunnar Henderson’s long two-run homer in the second, and defeated the Athletics 9-4 before an announced crowd of 8,942 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Henderson had three hits and three RBIs by the fourth inning, and the Orioles improved to 75-47 overall, 39-24 on the road, 27-13 in series openers and 16-5 in openers away from Camden Yards.

The win also assured that they would go 79 consecutive series without being swept. They still lead the Rays by two games in the division.

The A’s are 34-88 after their sixth loss in seven games and 12th in 16. Fans began chanting “sell the team” in the top of the fifth inning and again in the ninth.

Kyle Gibson lasted five innings, unable to register a quality start in back-to-back outings after posting four in a row. He left with the Orioles ahead 9-4.

"I thought Kyle really battled," said manager Brandon Hyde. "Got some pitches up, they put some good swings on him, but did well with the lead, was throwing strikes. Just think he wasn't as sharp as he has been, but he gave us five good innings."

Gibson (12-7) retired the first two batters in the bottom of the first inning, but Brent Rooker reached on an infield hit and scored on Seth Brown’s double. Tony Kemp had an RBI double in the second, and Rooker had a run-scoring double in the fifth and raced home on Brown’s single.

Second baseman Adam Frazier saved Gibson with a diving stop on Tyler Soderstrom’s 111.6 mph ground ball to end the third after Rooker’s leadoff double.

"Pitch execution was better," Gibson said. "I still think there were a couple chances I had to make a pitch and I didn't make a pitch to avoid a couple runs, but the offense just did a great job, the defense made plays when we needed to and got a good team win. But yeah, I think overall I'd like to be pitching better. Keep working on things in the bullpen and try to clean up some of those innings.

"When a team gives you nine runs, the goal is to try to get out there and get through seven innings and take some pressure off the bullpen, so got to try to make those 95 pitches cover a couple more innings if I can."

Gibson has allowed 13 runs and 21 hits in his last two starts over 10 1/3 innings, and his ERA is 4.97.

"I think pitch execution tonight was better," he said.

"A couple of those extra-base hits were with two strikes, and for me, that probably means either I didn't execute that pitch how I wanted to, or it's the wrong pitch. And a couple of them were out of the strike zone. So, if they're hitting extra-base hits out of the strike zone, it probably means I'm throwing the wrong pitch in that situation. ... But this one had a lot different feel than Seattle, where it was balls leaving the yard and I was walking guys, as well."

The bullpen tossed four scoreless innings. Mike Baumann left the bases loaded in the sixth. Jacob Webb retired the side in order in the eighth and hasn’t allowed a run in six appearances with the Orioles over six innings.

Left-hander Francisco Pérez made his first major league start tonight, but only as an opener. He was done after the first inning, when Henderson singled and moved to third base on Anthony Santander’s infield hit and Jordan Díaz’s throwing error, Ryan Mountcastle’s fly ball fell in shallow center to score a run and Cedric Mullins doubled to plate two more. 

Mountcastle extended his on-base streak to 24 games.

The Orioles are 45-12 when they score first.

Adley Rutschman singled off Luis Medina with two outs in the second inning and Henderson launched a slider 438 feet into the second deck in right field for his 20th home run.

Henderson is tied with the Red Sox’s Triston Casas for second-most home runs by a rookie in the American League. The Rangers’ Josh Jung hit 22 before fracturing his left thumb Aug. 6.

"Gunnar, nothing is surprising me at this point," Hyde said. "He has so much ability and he's going to be a really, really good player in this league for a long time. Love the way he's playing defense, just making things happen offensively, and he has enormous power that showed tonight."

Asked whether Henderson is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate, Hyde said, "Yes. He has my vote right now."

Henderson is the ninth Orioles rookie with 20-plus home runs in a season, joining Mountcastle (33 in 2021), Cal Ripken Jr. (28 in 1982), Eddie Murray (27 in 1977), Trey Mancini (24 in 2017), Curt Blefary (22 in 1965), Sam Bowens (22 in 1964), Ron Hansen (22 in 1960) and Jim Gentile (21 in 1960).

"I feel like it's pretty cool to reach (20) at that point in the season, and I hope a lot more come along," Henderson said.

Austin Hays led off the fourth with a double, Frazier reached on an error, Jordan Westburg lifted a sacrifice fly to right, Rutschman singled and Henderson singled for his 59th RBI of the season.

Frazier had an RBI double off Kyle Muller in the fifth, scored on Westburg’s single, and the Orioles led 9-2 after totaling five runs in the last two games in San Diego.

Rutschman reached base four times tonight, including a walk in the eighth, his 68th of the season. The Orioles finished with 16 hits.

"They did exactly what we needed them to do against a team that's been reeling a little bit," Gibson said. "Go out and put up runs early and give the starter, myself tonight, a chance to just go out there and work and fill up the zone."

"It feels like whenever we get people on and just keep the train rolling, it feels like that's when we score a bunch of runs and put up a lot of hits," Henderson said. "I feel like that's when we're at our best is just with the pass-the-baton mentality."

Santander came out of the game after the top of the fifth, with Frazier moving to right field and Westburg to second. Ramón Urías entered at third base.

"Just had some general soreness," Hyde said. "He's got a little bit of back. I could see he wasn't moving around great, so I just wanted to get him out of the game at that point."

* John Means is making his next rehab start Sunday with Double-A Bowie. The Baysox have a 1:05 p.m. home game against Altoona.

Means increased his pitch count from 28 to 45 in his second outing.

Colton Cowser and Kyle Stowers each hit their 11th home runs for Triple-A Norfolk tonight, and Coby Mayo hit his fourth. Josh Lester had a tie-breaking RBI single in the ninth and Lewin Díaz followed with a run-scoring double.

Bruce Zimmermann allowed four runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings. DL Hall struck out all three batters he faced. T.J. McFarland tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Elio Prado hit his second home run for High-A Aberdeen. Samuel Basallo tripled, walked twice and scored three runs. Frederick Bencosme and Creed Willems both drove in two runs.

Single-A Delmarva’s Stiven Acevedo hit his ninth home run and Noelberth Romero hit his seventh.

Zach Peek, on an injury rehab assignment, allowed three hits in 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He walked one batter and struck out two.

Alejandro Méndez replaced Peek and struck out five in 2 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings.

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