UP NEXT:Gunnar Henderson Next to ‘Step Away’ from BALTIMORE?

BALTIMORE — — Cole Irvin pitched into the sixth inning in another effective start, and a reshuffled bullpen held on for the Baltimore Orioles in a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

Struggling reliever Craig Kimbrel was taken out of the closer’s role for this game, but he worked a perfect seventh inning. Jacob Webb retired two batters in the eighth, but then walked a batter. Cionel Pérez came on and hit pinch-hitter Joc Pederson with a pitch before Eugenio Suárez hit a routine grounder to end the threat.

Yennier Cano then pitched around a leadoff double in the ninth for his second save.

Arizona’s four-game winning streak was halted. The AL East-leading Orioles have won six of seven.

Irvin (4-1) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. That snapped a streak of three straight scoreless starts for him, but it was another solid outing for a left-hander who struggled last year after the Orioles acquired him from Oakland. He struck out six with one walk.

“This is probably the best I’ve felt in my career,” Irvin said. “Just trying to build off the confidence. We had a great game plan coming in. The execution of that plan on my end, could have done a little bit better, but all in all, this team did a lot of good things tonight.”

Brandon Pfaadt (1-3) allowed three runs, five hits and two walks in six innings. It was the longest outing by a pitcher this season with no strikeouts — nobody else has thrown more than five.

The Orioles opened the scoring with two runs in the second, shortly after new owner David Rubenstein took over the role of spraying fans in left field in the “Splash Zone” at Camden Yards. Jordan Westburg doubled home a run and Cedric Mullins added an RBI grounder.

Ketel Marte hit a solo homer in the third for Arizona, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

Ryan O’Hearn’s RBI single made it 3-1 in the fifth, but the Diamondbacks answered when Suárez hit a run-scoring single in the sixth.

The Orioles went back ahead by two when Gunnar Henderson doubled in a run in the seventh.

Kimbrel had allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in his previous five outings. In that span, he blew two saves and twice was removed while still trying to complete a save. He allowed a sharp lineout Friday, then retired the next two hitters on a strikeout and a flyout.

“I just wanted to give him a little bit of a different look, and I thought he threw the ball really, really well,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Pitching in a 3-2 game in the seventh is still a lot of pressure — high-leverage situation. I just want to get him going, honestly.”


Diamondbacks: Manager Torey Lovullo said OF Alek Thomas (left hamstring) is getting a second and third opinion on his latest MRI. … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (left shoulder strain) began a throwing program out to 45 feet Friday. … Pederson left the game holding his right arm after being hit by the pitch in the eighth.

Orioles: 2B/OF prospect Connor Norby was removed from Triple-A Norfolk’s game with a left wrist injury. The Orioles described the move as precautionary.


The Orioles send LHP John Means (1-0) to the mound Saturday against Arizona’s Ryne Nelson (2-2). Means went seven scoreless innings against Cincinnati last week in his season debut, returning from a forearm injury.

When Gunnar Henderson was on the court, no backboard was safe.

Before the Orioles’ 22-year-old phenom was manning shortstop at Camden Yards, before he was the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball, before he heard his name called as the 42nd overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, Henderson was a three-sport athlete at John T. Morgan Academy in Selma, Alabama.

During the fall, “G,” as many back home call him, was a mobile gunslinger of a quarterback who stayed on the field when the defense trotted out to shut down opposing wide receivers as a cornerback. He would swap out his cleats for sneakers in the winter, knocking down 3-pointers and dunking hard enough to shatter two of the school’s backboards throughout his high school career. After that, he then returned to the diamond and reached base more often than not while playing shortstop, one of the game’s toughest defensive positions.

“I’m a full believer in playing as many sports as you can,” Henderson said in the Orioles’ clubhouse shortly before he was named the American League Player of the Month for April. “When you start getting to the point of maybe your last high school year or something, if you really are a believer in one sport over the other. Obviously, play them all if you can, but I didn’t play football my 11th- and 12th-grade year. I didn’t feel like [the injury risk] was worth it.”

While he had to walk away from football, basketball remained an important part of Henderson’s life throughout high school. He played through a wrist injury during his junior baseball season before ultimately missing the second half because he had to undergo surgery. Henderson returned to the court his senior year and was named the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Player of the Year after averaging 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.2 assists per game. That same year, he won player of the year for baseball, too.

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