Orioles beat Marlins, 6-5, for 7th straight win behind Gunnar Henderson’s solo homer, Anthony Santander’s go-ahead single – The Denver Post

The Orioles had been riding high.

They ended the first half on a five-game winning streak, were well-represented at the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game and opened the second half with another victory. However, the start of Saturday’s game popped that bubble. The Miami Marlins scored four runs in the top of the second and Orioles star center fielder Cedric Mullins exited with a right quadriceps injury in the bottom half.

The deflating feeling of trailing early and losing a key player would have been more than enough of an excuse had the Orioles lost. But they didn’t. Baltimore topped Miami, 6-5, at Camden Yards for another comeback victory — a common theme throughout the Orioles’ stellar season.

The win was the Orioles’ 56th of the season and seventh in a row. Thirty-three of them have been in come-from-behind fashion.

After trailing by four early, Baltimore had cut that down to one by the seventh inning. One night after the surprise power of Adam Frazier propelled the Orioles to victory, their two home run leaders — Anthony Santander and Gunnar Henderson — came up clutch. Henderson tied the game with a leadoff home run and Santander roped a single to drive in what held up as the winning run.

The long ball was Henderson’s 14th of the season, a total that only trails Santander’s 16. The 22-year-old hit a towering fly on the first pitch of the at-bat, a hanging cutter from reliever Huascar Brazobán.

“I feel like we just have a great group of guys that mesh really well,” Henderson said. “We understand that no matter what the score is, we can come back. We just string together a lot of good at-bats and just get people on base, and then we’re dangerous with guys on base.”

Austin Hays and Adley Rutschman followed with one-out singles to give Santander, the Orioles’ RBI leader with 52, a chance to put the Orioles ahead. The switch-hitter delivered with an RBI single to right field to give Baltimore’s bullpen a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

After starter Kyle Gibson allowed five runs across a shaky 5 1/3 innings, Mike Baumann, Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista followed with 3 2/3 scoreless frames. Bautista, who saved Friday night’s win, retired the side in order to slam the door for the 25th time this year.

“My job is to keep the team in the game and give the team a chance to win. The offense made that possible tonight,” Gibson said. “They came back and did a great job taking the lead late.”

The Orioles, who own the American League’s second-best record at 56-35, will go for their sixth series sweep of the season Sunday against a Marlins team that entered the second half with the second-best record in the National League.

The seven-game winning streak ties their season-best stretch from April 16-24. It has followed what was Baltimore’s worst stretch of the season, when they lost six of seven games to the Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees. But Gibson said, over a 162-game season, ebbs and flows are natural. What is different about this Orioles team, he said, is the uncanny ability to rally for victories. The 33 comeback wins are tied for first in the majors.

“It gives, I think, the team in general a lot of confidence knowing that you’re never out of a game,” Gibson said. “If you only have a few comeback wins here and there, that’s one thing. To do it consistently, it’s pretty impressive, especially with a young group like this.”

Gibson’s up-and-down performance increased his ERA to a rotation-worst 4.77 and ended the Orioles’ streak of eight consecutive games receiving at least six innings from their starter. He allowed nine hits and walked two while striking out just one — a sharp contrast to his final start of the first half when he struck out 11.

Eight of his nine hits allowed were singles, as the Marlins (53-41) barely got the ball out of the infield in their four-run second. The first three batters of the inning reached on ground ball singles with expected batting averages below .250, according to Statcast tracking data. One of those was an RBI single from Jean Segura on a ball that bounced off shortstop Jorge Mateo’s glove.

The final three runs came on a single from Joey Wendle, a grounder from Dan Myers and a single from leadoff hitter Luis Arráez, who went 4-for-5 to improve his MLB-best batting average to .386. The final run had a chance to score thanks to an ill-advised decision from second baseman Jordan Westburg to throw home on Myers’ RBI grounder instead of taking the easy out at first.

“It’s just crazy where you give up four runs and two balls leave the infield in the inning,” he added. “That’s not going to happen very often.”

The veteran right-hander sandwiched a sacrifice fly to Bryan De La Cruz in the fourth between two scoreless frames.

“It was a weird night tonight,” Gibson said. “I thought I might’ve gotten all those weird ones out of the way, but apparently we had another one in us.”

With one out in the sixth, manager Brandon Hyde pulled Gibson and brought in reliever Mike Baumann with a runner on first. After walking his first batter, Baumann induced an inning-ending double play and then tossed a scoreless seventh to earn his sixth relief win of the season without taking a loss.

“Honestly, Gibson being able to keep the score right around there and then what our bullpen did after that, what Mike Baumann did, going an inning plus, getting a big double play ball and then another scoreless inning,” Hyde said. “That allowed our offense to come back.”

The offense didn’t wait to start chipping away at Miami’s four-run advantage. Mullins singled home Ryan Mountcastle, who hammered a 113.1 mph double to left field in the first at-bat of his first start off the injured list. Hyde said the Orioles are “hoping we caught a break” with the right quad tightness Mullins suffered while running the bases in the inning.

With two outs in the inning, Mateo, who has spent the past two and a half months struggling at the plate, hit a frozen rope triple to center field to score Aaron Hicks and Colton Cowser, the rookie outfielder who made his Camden Yards debut by replacing Mullins.

After De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly, Santander got the Orioles within a run with an RBI single to score Adley Rutschman, who recorded two of the Orioles’ 11 hits.

While Henderson’s solo shot in the seventh tied the game, the rookie third baseman said he’s more proud of the two barehanded plays he made with Gibson on the mound — one of which saved a run.

“I know Gunnar had that big swing in the seventh inning, but his defense really probably kept me in that game for as long as I was,” Gibson said. “He made a couple great plays on balls that weren’t even hard enough to get him.”

Around the horn

  • Hyde said the Orioles don’t have a timetable for when left-hander John Means could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment. Means, who is on the 60-day injured list recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, threw a bullpen in Baltimore on Friday, with Hyde saying he’s “progressing extremely well.” Hyde also said the club hasn’t decided what role Means could be used in if he does return to the majors this year. “We haven’t really even discussed that yet,” Hyde said. “We just want to see him get healthy and then we’ll kind of figure out where we are roster-wise — where we are in the rotation, where we are in the bullpen. … I don’t know what our roster’s going to look like, but by the time he’s ready, it’s still a ways away.”
  • Left-hander Cionel Pérez began his rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Bowie. Pérez, who is on the 15-day IL with left forearm soreness, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out three.



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