Rodriguez follows bad news on Wells with quality start in 11-3 win (updated)

Kyle Bradish made his first injury rehab start this evening at Double-A Bowie and tossed three scoreless innings. John Means is scheduled to make his fourth start Wednesday with Triple-A Norfolk.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are trying to hold together a rotation that became more vulnerable tonight with Tyler Wells going on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation.

Grayson Rodriguez was a soothing presence on the mound, a reminder that the club packs a powerful 1-2 punch at the top with ace Corbin Burnes.

With impeccable timing, Rodriguez held the Twins to two runs over six innings in an 11-3 victory before an announced crowd of 18,108 at Camden Yards. His ERA actually rose from 2.50 to 2.63 after his third quality start.

Gunnar Henderson took over the team lead with his fifth home run, which came one pitch after James McCann’s RBI double in the second, Jordan Westburg cleared the left field wall for a two-run shot in the third, and the Orioles (11-6) claimed the series with a chance to sweep Wednesday.

Ryan O’Hearn finished the outburst with a two-run shot in the eighth, giving him home runs in three consecutive games. The Orioles have hit three or more in four straight games for the first time since May 21-24, 2013.

Burnes leads the rotation with a 2.28 ERA. Dean Kremer is third at 4.96, followed by Wells at 5.87 and Irvin at 6.75.

Manager Brandon Hyde said the club is discussing how to replace Wells for Wednesday afternoon's start.

"We're staying optimistic about it," he said. "We decided for precautionary reasons to put him on the IL with right elbow soreness, but we're really confident that he's going to be OK and it's not going to be too long.

"After his last start he just had a little bit more soreness than normal and it just didn't quite go away, and that's why we were kind of waiting, and just felt like the right thing to do from a precautionary standpoint if he felt anything at all was to put him on the IL and give him a couple weeks off."

Colton Cowser followed last night’s four strikeouts with a leadoff single off Chris Paddack in the second, the next two batters struck out and McCann lined his double into right-center for his third RBI of the season. Henderson pulled a slider onto the flag court in right field, and Rodriguez was handed a 3-0 lead.

Four more runs were hung on the board in the third. O’Hearn and Cedric Mullins singled, O’Hearn scored on Cowser’s ground ball, and Westburg jumped on the next pitch for his fourth homer.

Jackson Holliday drew his first major league walk, and he scored after McCann and Henderson singled. Henderson was 3-for-3 through three innings.

Westburg surpassed his home run total from last season, when he appeared in 68 games as a rookie. He's totaled 10 hits in his last five games, with two doubles, two home runs and six RBIs.

"Been able to watch him do this throughout the minors," Henderson said. "I knew it was only a matter of time."

Cowser had another RBI in the fourth on a two-out single that scored Anthony Santander, the 11th hit off Paddack.

Adley Rutschman accounted for the 12th with a leadoff single and in sixth and he would have scored on O’Hearn’s fly ball to deep center field, but Byron Buxton made a tremendous leaping catch at the track. O’Hearn raised his helmet and saluted Buxton. The only time that the Orioles conceded defeat.

"All night long he was hitting was hitting the ball hard," Hyde said of O'Hearn. "Through the middle of the field, too. ... He's relishing every at-bat he's getting right now. He's one of the leaders of our team and he just takes a professional at-bat."

Caleb Thielbar replaced Paddack and Santander lined a run-scoring single into left field for a 9-2 lead.

Eleven balls off Paddack were clocked at 100 mph or more, with only three producing outs.

"That was probably one of our most complete games of the year so far, just what we did in every single area," Hyde said. "The way we swung the bat, hit with runners in scoring position, the way we hit with power, the way we ran the bases. Grayson was really good, we played really good defense. There was a lot of positives tonight."

The Orioles led the majors with 27 home runs and the American League with 100 runs.

"We're pretty dangerous, offensively," Hyde said.

"The offense is special, it's going to be special," Rodriguez said. "It's been a lot of fun to watch."

"I feel like I have an idea of what everybody can do," Henderson said. "It just feels like whenever we're clicking, this is the kind of nights we can have."

Umpires reviewed O'Hearn's home run ball to check for fan interference. One robbery was plenty.

"If they call that an out, I might be pretty mad, obviously. Full George Brett is not out of the question," O'Hearn said.

"There's a big gap between that wall and the back wall out there. I don't know how they could have called it an out, but I'm just glad they didn't and I get a homer."

Rodriguez allowed a one-out single to Ryan Jeffers in the first, and the Orioles turned a 6-3 double play. Willi Castro drew a leadoff walk in the second, Manuel Margot lined to left field and the Orioles turned a 5-4-3 double play.

They were ready to execute a 4-6-3 double play in the fourth after Edouard Julien’s leadoff walk and a strikeout, but Jackson Holliday bobbled Alex Kirilloff’s ground ball and settled for the force, and Buxton tripled into the left field corner.

Rodriguez began the inning at 23 pitches and finished at 48.

"Fastball command wasn't really there," he said. "I thought that could have been a lot better. But being able to pitch with the off-speed was a big step forward, being able to land stuff for strikes. Also, put guys away with sliders in the dirt."

After stranding a runner in the fifth, Rodriguez gave up a run the next inning on Jeffers’ one-out double and Kirilloff’s single. He struck out three batters and sat down with his pitch count at 87.

"I think as a starting pitching staff, we're a very close-knit group, trying to pick each other up," Rodriguez said, "and I think that's what we're going to do."

Yohan Ramírez tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings. David Bañuelos made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and flied to right.

"Long Beach State Dirtbag," Hyde said. "It's one of those moments where, about the sixth or seventh I was starting to think about it, like, how could I get this guy in a game. O's homer there, that was the clincher. I was on the edge of my seat with the fan interference. Fortunately for us, I was able to get David in there and a well-deserved at-bat."

Bañuelos could be taken off the roster before Wednesday's game with a roster move pending, but he'll always have tonight.

"It means the world, man," he said. "It's something that you dream of as a kid. It was awesome. It was a great moment. I'm grateful for it, the opportunity. Shout out to the boys, putting some damage up early and allowing me to get a pinch-hit there toward the end of the game."

Holliday was hitless in four plate appearances and struck out twice. He’s 1-for-22 with 12 strikeouts.

* Bowie’s Brandon Young came out of tonight’s game with left oblique soreness.

Samuel Basallo made his first start in the field, playing first base and hitting a home run. Dylan Beavers also hit his first after singling twice. TT Bowens hit his second.

Frederick Bencosme had a single, triple and three RBIs.

Single-A Delmarva’s Nestor German tossed four hitless innings, allowing only an unearned run. He walked three batters and struck out six.

Braxton Bragg followed with four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out six in a 1-0 loss to Down East.

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