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Gunnar Henderson's leadoff homer launches big 1st inning for Orioles in 9-2 win over Mariners

BALTIMORE (AP) — Gunnar Henderson's fourth leadoff homer of the season sparked a five-run first inning that backed an effective pitching performance by John Means and carried the Baltimore Orioles past the Seattle Mariners 9-2 Friday night.

After Henderson's 13th home run — tied with Houston's Kyle Tucker and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead — Baltimore's next five batters reached base against Bryce Miller (3-4). A throwing error by shortstop Dylan Moore let in a run and Colton Cowser followed a walk with a two-run double down the right-field line.

The first out was a sacrifice fly by Jordan Westburg that capped the outburst.

“It was great to jump on them right away and get a bunch of runs there in the first inning," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It was nice to be able to pitch with a little bit of a lead.”

In his previous start against Seattle, Means threw a no-hitter on May 5, 2021. In this one, Moore doubled on the first pitch of the game and scored on a single by Mitch Garver.

But Means (2-0) settled down in his third start since opening the season on the injured list with a left forearm strain. The left-hander allowed two runs and six hits, walked none and struck out four over six innings.

“I thought Means battled,” Hyde said. “He didn't have his best fastball command, but that changeup is so good and he got some curveballs in. He kept them off balance that way.”

The Mariners were playing catchup before Miller retired one Baltimore batter.

“They jumped on us early tonight,” manager Scott Servais said. “Bryce had good stuff, but the execution wasn't great there in the first inning. You've got to give Baltimore credit. They came out, they were swinging and they were on the heater.”

By winning the opener of the three-game set, the Orioles are assured of completing their 106th consecutive regular-season series without being swept. That's the third-longest streak in major league history, behind only the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals (124) and 1906-09 Chicago Cubs (115).

Miller rebounded from his poor start to keep the Orioles in check until he was lifted with one out in the sixth. He got some help from center fielder Julio Rodríguez, who reached over the wall to make a leaping catch and rob Anthony Santander of a solo shot earlier in the inning.

Baltimore pulled away with a four-run seventh. Jorge Mateo tripled and scored on a triple by Henderson before Adley Rutschman and Austin Hays hit successive RBI doubles..

“I thought we had a chance to creep back into it, but we couldn't hold them down in the seventh inning,” Servais said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: Garver returned after missing two games with back spasms. ... SS J.P. Crawford (oblique strain) was hit on his right hand by a pitch during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma, which will likely delay his return from the IL. “He does not have a fracture, but he's got some swelling going on,” Servais said. ... 2B Jorge Polanco missed a third straight game with hamstring tightness.

Orioles: RHP Grayson Rodriguez (shoulder) is poised to come off the injured list, Hyde said. When that happens, Hyde said the Orioles will move to a six-man rotation to help negotiate a stretch in which they are scheduled to play 30 games in 31 days, beginning with this series against Seattle.

UP NEXT

A rainy weather forecast looms for Saturday's game, which matches Seattle's Luis Castillo (4-5, 3.31 ERA) against a Baltimore starter that Hyde would not disclose. Castillo is 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA over his last five starts.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb



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