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Gunnar Henderson leaves with back discomfort as Orioles fall to Giants, 4-0

Alex Cobb dominated his former team. You probably weren’t surprised.

MLB: JUN 03 Orioles at Giants
Gunnar Henderson may have hurt himself while making this throw on Saturday night.
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Alex Cobb revenge game against the Orioles went worse than you might have feared. No, Cobb didn’t throw a no-hitter, so it could have been worse still than what it was. The Orioles had five hits, so there’s that, and they finished within grand slam range. That doesn’t make me feel any better. When it was all over with, the Giants finished on top, 4-0.

The problems, in brief: Cobb dominated for over seven innings, Kyle Bradish labored through only four innings, leaving relievers you’d rather not see to cover the rest, and Gunnar Henderson left the game early due to what the team said was lower back discomfort.

If Henderson is injured, that might have the biggest impact of anything that happened in this game on the next stretch of games to come for the Orioles. He was lifted from the game before the bottom of the third inning.

MASN showed replays following a routine ground ball that Henderson fielded and threw to first base that highlighted that Henderson came away grimacing after the throw. He finished that inning in the field but did not return for the next. Following the game, manager Brandon Hyde said that this is a back issue that has lingered for a few days for Henderson and that he was removed as a precaution. His status for the time being is day-to-day. The Monday off day can’t hurt.

This was one of those games where you could get a pretty good idea of how it was going to go from just the first inning. The Orioles batters went down quietly in the top of the first, with Adley Rutschman’s fun infield single immediately being erased by Anthony Santander’s inning-ending double play. In the bottom half of the inning, though Bradish did not allow any runs, he took 20 pitches to get through it.

Heading into this game, three of Bradish’s nine starts ended up with poor results. The common thread in these bad starts was the big inning. Make it four bad starts out of ten, because that’s what happened to Bradish in San Francisco on Saturday night. It was the third inning that cost him here, with things turning south as soon as the Giants lineup turned over and began its second time through.

The ambush was sudden but sustained. Starting with a one-out double by Baltimore and University of Maryland product LaMonte Wade Jr., five straight Giants batters got base hits. None of them went over the fence, but this was enough to get three runs across - all of the runs the Giants would need in the game, it turned out.

Things could have gone worse for Bradish, as he was bailed out on a deep fly ball when substitute center fielder Aaron Hicks made a spinning catch just in front of the wall for the inning’s second out. Two men were on base, who advanced to get both in scoring position after a wild pitch. Bradish induced a groundout to end the inning, but the Orioles decided that was enough, with Bradish at 79 pitches through four. He allowed seven hits and a walk in his four innings, while striking out five. It’s the three runs that hurt.

When the starting pitcher can only go four innings and the Orioles are losing when he comes out of the game, you’re not going to be very likely to see Yennier Cano or Félix Bautista in the fifth inning in those circumstances. It’s up to the less-good relievers to keep it close. Sometimes they don’t.

In contrast to the Wednesday loss to the Guardians, this group did not throw gasoline on a fire. Collectively, they kept it close, if only the hitters could have done anything against Cobb. The former Oriole struck out seven and did not issue a walk over his 7.2 innings. It’s not like he was getting lucky after giving up a lot of hard contact. There wasn’t much of that.

Keegan Akin was brought in for the fifth. He didn’t complete the inning, as he eventually loaded the bases thanks to a base hit, a walk, and his own throwing error. Bryan Baker struck out the next guy to strand the bases loaded. Unfortunately, Baker came out to start the next inning. I say unfortunately because it feels like every time Baker enters to finish someone else’s inning, if he starts his own inning, he sucks.

Baker walked the first two batters he faced in the sixth, and after this got him yanked, Cionel Pérez gave up a base hit to allow one of the inherited runners to score a fourth Giants run. Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann, called up yesterday in case of this kind of situation, pitched the seventh and eighth, winning the intra-Baltimore battle against Wade with a strikeout to start the bottom of the eighth. Wade’s team triumphed overall, of course.

The Orioles threatened just a little bit in the seventh inning. They got two men on base after Hicks and Ryan O’Hearn each had hits off of Cobb. After getting Jorge Mateo to ground out, the O’s lineup flipped back to the top, where Adam Frazier is leading off in the absence of Cedric Mullins.

The Giants summoned lefty reliever Scott Alexander. Might have been a good spot to pinch hit Ramón Urías, except he’d already come in as the replacement for the injured Henderson. Frazier grounded back to the pitcher, who fell over while fielding the ball but still was able to throw out the runner at first. It be like that sometimes.

The series will be settled with a 4:05 finale on Sunday afternoon. Tyler Wells and Anthony DeSclafani are scheduled as the starting pitchers for the game. The Orioles offense hasn’t had much going on in the first two games, even if they managed to win one of them. Let’s hope that they can break out in the last game before the O’s skip town.