Rodriguez shines before bullpen stumbles in Orioles' 4-3 loss (updated)

The three weeks that passed since Grayson Rodriguez’s last start probably made today’s delay more tolerable. He had to wait almost three hours, the threat of rain more impactful than actual precipitation. But he was back in the rotation, short leash and all.

The only radar that interested him was clocking his fastball.

Rodriguez didn’t allow a hit until Julio Rodríguez’s infield single with one out in the sixth and didn’t surrender a run, but the bullpen buckled in the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the Mariners before an announced crowd of 19,286 at Camden Yards.

Gunnar Henderson hit a two-out, opposite field home run off Andrés Muñoz in the ninth, his 14th of the season to lead the majors, but the Orioles fell to 28-15 and trail the first-place Yankees by two games.

Rodriguez settled for a no-decision rather than earning his fifth win because a 2-0 lead evaporated after he left.

Danny Coulombe allowed a run in the seventh on Luke Raley’s leadoff single, Moore’s double and pinch-hitter Mitch Haniger’s groundout. Albert Suárez, pitching for the first time since Sunday, battled Ty France for 12 pitches before surrendering a game-tying double. It was the first time in 21 appearances that Coulombe was charged with multiple runs.

Yennier Cano faced three batters in the eighth. Rodriguez reached on another infield single, with Ryan O’Hearn unable to scoop Henderson’s throw out of the dirt, and he raced home on Cal Raleigh’s double to left center.

Cionel Pérez replaced Cano with one out and retired Raley on a grounder, but Dylan Moore pulled a slider down the left field line for an RBI double and a 4-2 lead.

"We just made a couple bad pitches there in big spots, and they've been excellent this year," said manager Brandon Hyde. "Couldn't ask for anything more out of those guys. Just one of those nights where we couldn't quite close it down. But they've been great."

Rodriguez struck out seven, including Mitch Garver on a slider to end the sixth. He spun, pumped his fist, shouted and left to a standing ovation.

The short leash that Hyde referenced earlier in the day stretched to 82 pitches, 25 thrown in the final frame. Rodriguez allowed one hit, walked three and hit a batter in his return from the injured list, and his ERA is 3.15.

"Way more than I anticipated," Hyde said.

"To be able to go six innings with the three weeks off, I think that was big for me," Rodriguez said. "Wish I could have been in the strike zone a little more, got a little wild with the heater. Need to work on that before the next start.

"I felt great. I was feeling good for the last week. Ready to attack the rest of the season."

The last two starts, with the break in between, have produced 11 2/3 scoreless innings.

"The guy missed a couple weeks and we were going to keep him right around that 80-pitch mark, and he threw six shutout innings, 82 pitches," Hyde said. "I thought his fastball command was a little bit erratic early but he made pitches when he had to, and a big punchout there to end the sixth. It was great to see him back out there."

The delay didn't disrupt Rodriguez's routine.

"I hadn't started warming up or anything like that, so anytime you can keep yourself from getting hot, it's just like any other start," he said. "That's kind of what happened tonight."

Rodriguez retired the side in order on nine pitches in the first inning, one fewer than Luis Castillo in the bottom half. Rodriguez hit Moore with two outs in the second and walked Dominic Canzone, but France grounded out on the right-hander’s 14th pitch of the inning.

Josh Rojas walked with one out in the third and was thrown out trying to steal while Rodriguez struck out swinging on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Grayson Rodriguez retired seven in a row and needed only seven pitches to complete the fifth and leave him at 57.

Rojas walked with one out in the sixth and Julio Rodríguez sent a grounder to the right side that Jorge Mateo gloved, but he had no play.

Austin Hays gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second on a sacrifice fly after Jordan Westburg’s one-out triple and Colton Cowser’s walk. Hays was in the lineup for the first time since April 20 in Kansas City.

Mateo led off the third with a double and scored on O’Hearn’s single for a 2-0 lead. Eleven of Mateo’s 19 hits are for extra bases.

Cedric Mullins laid down a bunt single in the fourth to snap an 0-for-16 streak and produce his sixth hit in his last 61 at-bats, but Mateo grounded into a double play.

Mateo singled and stole second base with one out in the seventh and Henderson walked, but they were stranded.

Henderson hit the rare left-handed home run over the left field wall, carrying a 98.5 mph fastball 410 feet.

"We've talked about, there's only a few guys in the league, left-handers, who can hit a ball out in that spot," Hyde said. "That's a really, really impressive home run, and unbelievable power from a 22-year-old left-handed hitter. Muñoz can supply the power, but just shows you the strength and the power that Gunnar has."

* The Giants claimed former Orioles outfielder Ryan McKenna on waivers.

McKenna was designated for assignment Monday to make room for Austin Hays.

* Triple-A Norfolk’s Cade Povich held Lehigh Valley to two runs, one earned, over six innings. He walked none, struck out eight and lowered his ERA to 2.08.

Michael Pérez had four hits and three RBIs.

Samuel Basallo and Silas Ardoin each had three hits in Double-A Bowie’s 5-1 win over Binghamton. Collin Burnes went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Alex Pham allowed one run and two hits with seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Kyle Virbitsky got the win with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

High-A Aberdeen’s Matthew Etzel hit his third home run. Mac Horvath singled, doubled and had an RBI.

Moisés Chace tossed four scoreless innings with two hits allowed and six strikeouts.

Single-A Delmarva’s Thomas Sosa came within a double of the cycle.

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