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Orioles top Mariners, 6-3, behind another Gunnar Henderson homer, Corbin Burnes gem

BALTIMORE — The Orioles’ best pitcher and hitter didn’t waste any time Sunday to play like it.

Corbin Burnes struck out the side in the top of the first en route to a dominant performance, and Gunnar Henderson clobbered a leadoff home run in the bottom half to kickstart the Orioles’ offense.

The duo — the former an experienced ace, the latter a young superstar — led Baltimore to a 6-3 win and a series triumph over the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards. Burnes tied his season high with 11 strikeouts across six innings of one-run ball, while Henderson’s long ball was his MLB-leading 15th of the year.

Burnes’ start Sunday in front of an announced 30,494 at Oriole Park was his 10th with Baltimore after the club acquired him, the franchise’s first true ace since Mike Mussina more than two decades ago, from the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason. He is 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

Despite his numbers, the right-hander has expressed displeasure with his stuff so far this season, including Monday when he struck out a career-low two batters. On Sunday, his arsenal was as astounding as it’s been this season — or at least since his 11-strikeout performance opening day — with multiple swings and misses on each of his five pitches.

Henderson’s first-inning blast off Mariners strike-thrower George Kirby was his fifth this season and seventh of his nascent career. It marked the third time in four games an Orioles leadoff hitter has gone deep to begin the game after Jordan Westburg did so Wednesday in his first start atop the order and Henderson followed suit in Friday’s win.

The long ball was also the second in as many plate appearances for Henderson after the 22-year-old shortstop went deep over Camden Yards’ left field wall — a feat just three left-handed batters have achieved since its inception in 2022 — in the ninth inning of Saturday’s loss.

Colton Cowser fully emerged from his slump Sunday with three hits, including an RBI infield single in the first. He also made an impressive diving catch in right field in the eighth inning to stymie a Mariners rally before it started after Seattle came back to win Saturday. James McCann hit an RBI double in the second, Ryan O’Hearn smacked his sixth homer of the season in the third and Cedric Mullins broke his hitting skid with RBI singles in the third and eighth.

After Jacob Webb struggled to begin the seventh and allowed two runs, Cole Irvin, a starting pitcher temporarily in Baltimore’s bullpen before the club moves to a six-man rotation, entered to throw two scoreless innings. The left-hander bridged the game to closer Craig Kimbrel, who retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save since May 3 after the veteran was briefly relegated from the role.

Baltimore is 29-15 and still two games behind the New York Yankees for first in the American League East. The Orioles are 10-3-2 in series this season.

Around the horn

Anthony Santander has a nasty bruise on his left knee after he crashed into the right field wall trying to make a catch Wednesday. Santander didn’t play Sunday after serving as the club’s designated hitter Friday and Saturday. He hasn’t played the field since he banged up his knee. He said he expects to be back to normal in a few days.

• The Orioles’ lineup Sunday featured Jordan Westburg in another new spot. After leading off for the first time in his career Wednesday, he batted in the No. 2 hole Sunday with Adley Rutschman receiving a rest day.

• The Orioles announced their starting rotation for the club’s road series against the St. Louis Cardinals beginning Monday. Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish and John Means will start the three games opposite Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn and old friend Kyle Gibson.

• Catching prospect Samuel Basallo was removed from Double-A Bowie’s game Sunday with dizziness, the Orioles said. Basallo is Baltimore’s No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America. The club’s No. 3 prospect, Coby Mayo, was placed on the injured list Friday with a fractured rib.

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