O's wait out rain, then pour it on vs. Sox

Baltimore outslugs Boston, moves to 3 1/2 games back in AL Wild Card chase

September 27th, 2022

BOSTON -- Coming off an 11-inning loss to Houston, the Orioles arrived at Fenway Park in need of a strong series to keep their postseason dreams alive. One game into the four-game set, they’re off to a good start.

The Orioles commanded the series opener, hitting five homers in a 14-8 victory over the Red Sox. With Monday’s win, Baltimore sits 3 1/2 games behind Seattle for the third and final AL Wild Card spot.

"We know how talented we are and how good we are," said Jordan Lyles, whose outing was cut short after two innings due to a one-hour-and-forty-minute rain delay. "We can get on a run. I strongly believe that, [and] a lot of the guys in there believe that also. It's up to us."

Here are three things that stood out for the playoff-hopeful Orioles after their dominant win.

Homer heavy

came into Monday’s series opener vs. the Red Sox batting .214 (6-for-28) with one homer and five RBIs in his last seven games. Mullins snapped his skid by sending the second pitch of the game over Baltimore’s bullpen and into the glove of an O’s fan. The homer marked the outfielder’s fifth leadoff blast of the season and the 16th of his career, the second-most in Orioles history behind Brady Anderson's 44.

Mullins followed his leadoff homer with a two-run triple in his next at-bat, finishing the night with two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored.

hit his 30th and 31st homers with a solo shot in the sixth and a two-run blast in the seventh -- notching the first 30-homer season of his career in the process.  followed Santander’s 30th homer with a monster three-run home run to deep center. Henderson’s fourth homer came off his bat at a Statcast-projected 111.1 mph and traveled 428 feet.

The 21-year-old second baseman and O's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, who entered Monday hitting .138 with one extra-base hit in his last eight games, also recorded his first three-walk game.

Up 13-8 in the eighth inning, Austin Hays tacked on one more insurance run with a homer to left field, his 16th of the season, to cap the scoring on an eventful series opener in Boston.

Patience at the plate

Coming into the game, Henderson had three walks in his previous 32 plate appearances. On Monday, he walked three times for the first time in his young career.

After opening his big league career batting .345 with a .973 OPS over his first 16 games, Henderson got his first taste of a big league slump: Batting .138 with one extra-base hit in his last eight games. Henderson made sure that skid was short-lived.

"It felt like whenever I was going through some of it, I had some hard hit balls that went right to them. So you go through that," Henderson said. "You've got to realize that and not tear yourself up."

"I think he's done a great job so far," manager Brandon Hyde about Henderson ahead of the opener. "And we just faced an outstanding pitching staff in Houston, and it doesn't get much easier here with Boston. Every young player is gonna have tough games, and I think he's gonna bounce back. He’s a tough kid and he's gonna deal with adversity fine, and I expect him to have a good series this series."

Pitching plans

Coming off a complete game against the Tigers on Sept. 21, Lyles was disappointed to have his outing cut short by rain. The righty finished his night with two earned runs on five hits and one walk in two innings. Spenser Watkins, who was an option to start in Thursday’s finale, took over in the third after play resumed, allowing four runs on eight eights with two walks and two strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings.

"We swung the bats extremely well tonight and we needed it, because after the rain delay, there were so many guys down in the ‘pen today," Hyde said. "I was going to have to pitch a couple guys maybe three days in a row if it got to that. Fortunately, Spenser Watkins really picked us up by being able to throw strikes and [Logan] Gillaspie [was] able to go the last two plus. It was absolutely huge for us and huge for our bullpen.”