Gunnar's 'enormous hit' lifts Orioles to another road win

June 3rd, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a night when LaMonte Wade Jr. launched the Giants’ 100th Splash Hit into McCovey Cove, it was who had the biggest swing of the game.

Henderson didn’t quite find the water, but his solo home run in the seventh inning off San Francisco ace Logan Webb broke a tie and sent the Orioles to a 3-2 win Friday night at Oracle Park.

“Best swing of the year,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “An enormous hit for us against a tough starter. I know he felt great after that swing.”

Henderson agreed, calling it the biggest hit of his career.

“I would say so. Yeah, I think so,” the rookie said.

With an exit velocity of 110.7 mph, it was Henderson’s hardest-hit ball of the season. It was also the hardest hit allowed by Webb this year, and the first homer the right-hander had surrendered since May 3.

“I’m starting to feel really good in the box and that was probably one of my best ones I’ve had,” Henderson said. “I feel like that was a big step in the right direction.”

After striking out on a changeup in his previous at-bat, Henderson patiently took two changeups outside to jump ahead 2-0.

Webb came back with a sinker, which Henderson fouled off. Then came yet another changeup, this one over the plate, and he crushed it 410 feet to right field for his sixth homer of the year.

“In my first at-bat, I went up there and saw one pitch, and then I figured he was going to come out with his best stuff,” Henderson explained. “He did and he threw it really well. After that, I saw everything that he had and was able to get my approach off of that.”

limited the Giants to just two runs in six innings, marking his sixth straight start allowing three runs or fewer. The right-hander struck out six and improved to 6-2.

Kremer, a native of nearby Stockton, had friends and family cheering him on from the stands.

“It’s different, being that I’m always on the East Coast and I don’t get too many opportunities to come to the West Coast and see people that I used to,” Kremer said. “It’s really nice.”

From there, the bullpen did what it’s done all season long. Danny Coulombe struck out the side in the seventh, Yennier Cano handled the eighth and Félix Bautista recorded his 15th save, striking out Michael Conforto on a 98 mph fastball with the tying run on second to end the game.

“Every one of our wins is like this,” Hyde said with a laugh. “We don’t make it easy on ourselves and we like to hold on tight, and we did again tonight.”

It had been a long time since the Orioles had visited San Francisco -- 2016 to be exact. Baltimore took two of three from the Giants that year. San Francisco responded in 2019, winning two of three at Camden Yards.

With Friday’s win, the Orioles own MLB’s best road record at 19-9, having won six of their last seven away from home. Their 36-21 overall record is good for third in the Majors, behind only the Tampa Bay Rays (40-18) and Texas Rangers (36-20).

“It was an awesome win,” Henderson said. “To be able to come out all the way across the country and get the first one of the series is huge.”