Gunnar Henderson entered Wednesday riding an eight-game hitting streak in which he notched one knock in each contest during that stretch. But the second-ranked Orioles prospect believed there was still untapped production that was being caused by a timing issue he's been working on for the last few weeks.
He tapped into it Wednesday.
Henderson was right on time as he broke out for his second four-hit night of the season, mashing a pair of home runs, while collecting four RBIs and scoring four times to help fuel Triple-A Norfolk's 13-10 comeback victory over Memphis at AutoZone Park.
"I felt like I was able to stick with a good approach today. Had a good plan going into the game and stuck with it and was able to put on a few good swings, get the barrel to the ball," Henderson said. "I've had a few timing things the last few weeks, and I was getting away from my approach a little bit. Getting a little too pull happy and not trusting the back side. But I was able to just trust my approach through all my at-bats tonight and put together a good night."
The last time Henderson recorded a four-hit night, he completed the cycle against Gwinnett on June 28. The two dingers, four RBIs and four runs scored also matched season highs for the 21-year-old.
Against the Redbirds, MLB Pipeline's No. 4 overall prospect led off the game with a double down the right-field line on a 1-0 pitch down the middle. Henderson opened the scoring for the Tides three batters later when he scampered home on a two-bagger by Kelvin Gutierrez.
In what was nearly an identical sequence of events two innings later, Henderson led off the third and again turned on a 1-0 pitch that crossed the plate down the middle. This time, the 2019 second-round Draft choice tattooed the ball over the wall in left field for his seventh dinger with Norfolk.
In the fourth, the lefty-swinging shortstop crushed a 2-0 fastball with two on and two outs in the frame for three-run blast that put the Tides ahead 7-1.
"We came up with a good plan before the game against this pitcher, that no matter what he did on the first pitch, not fall behind in the count and get in a hole," he said. "And I think I did a good job of that today, and when he threw one over the plate I just didn't miss it."
After striking out to end the sixth, Memphis rallied in the home-half of the inning for five runs to take a lead in the game. The Redbirds jumped out to a 9-7 advantage heading to the ninth, but Norfolk rallied for six runs in the final frame. With one out in the ninth, Henderson got things started by lining an 0-1 pitch the other way into right for a single. After a walk to Jordan Westburg, the Alabama native came around to score the first run of the inning on an RBI knock from Rylan Bannon.
"Last year I hit the ball really well to the opposite field, but I've been getting pitched in a lot lately so I just got into a pull mode," Henderson said. "But then they started going back away and I've had some trouble snapping back to going the other way. But, I was able to stay on it today and I have a good feel for what to do now and I'm looking forward to keeping it going."
Henderson opened the season with Double-A Bowie where he batted .312/.452/.573 with eight homers, three triples, 11 doubles, 41 walks, 41 runs scored and 35 RBIs in 47 games with the Baysox. He was promoted to Norfolk on June 6 and is sporting a .285/.393/.555 slash line with eight taters, three triples, seven doubles, 22 walks, 35 runs scored and 24 RBIs across 37 games at the Minors' highest level.
Henderson also appeared in the All-Star Futures Game on July 16 at Dodger Stadium.