Tampa Bay Rays supervisor Kevin Cash stood outdoors the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards and will solely shrug his shoulders on the masterclass from Orioles beginning pitcher Grayson Rodriguez. Right fielder Josh Lowe shook his head at an analogous line of questioning. And when Rays starter Tyler Glasnow mirrored on his night, it was Gunnar Henderson who invoked essentially the most frustration.
Within the Orioles clubhouse, the spectacular performances from a rookie pitcher and rookie shortstop driving a vital 8-0 win was simply one other night time. To the Orioles’ American League East rivals, who path by one sport within the race for the division title, it was outstanding.
Rodriguez took the mound for his third outing towards the Rays this season. In every of his first two — each Orioles wins May 9 and July 22 — he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings whereas recording a mixed 10 strikeouts. On Saturday night time, the 23-year-old right-hander pitched a career-high eight innings, placing out seven and strolling none whereas permitting simply 5 hits.
“I feel like we’ve seen him every time, and he’s pitched really well against us,” Cash mentioned. “Today was clearly most likely one of the best, strongest. He’s clearly a really gifted pitcher, and he form of fed off that power within the crowd immediately and was in a position to harness pitches within the zone.
“Sometimes, young pitchers get a little amped up, and they start spraying balls all over. He did not do that. He was really tough against us. … He hit the occasional offspeed [pitch]. But he just powered through with his fastball. It was an impressive start for him.”
Rodriguez struck out two within the first inning and walked with a quiet confidence towards the dugout. He confirmed a bit extra emotion because the night time progressed, together with a tip of the cap to Austin Hays after a highlight-reel catch in left area and a medley of fist pumps after inning-ending double performs. When he ended the eighth inning with a strikeout of second baseman Brandon Lowe, he screamed into his mitt.
“He had his A-game tonight,” mentioned Josh Lowe, who went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. “I do know he’s been one among their large prospects for a time. Now he’s beginning to make a reputation for himself within the large leagues. He had all of it working proper and made some good pitches.
“We’ve seen him a bunch of times, I think he just executed his pitches a little better [tonight]. He had some conviction behind his fastball and was just throwing it by guys. 100 miles an hour is a 100 mile-an-hour pitch. It’s hard to hit. But when you put it where you want it makes it even harder to hit. Credit to him for doing a good job.”
Henderson supplied comparable gusto on the plate. He kick-started what has been a slumping offense, turning on a 92 mph slider from Glasnow and sending it over the right-center area wall for a two-run homer to offer the Orioles a 4-0 lead within the second inning. As he crossed house plate, the shortstop leaped towards Adam Frazier, who scored, and Adley Rustchman, who was ready within the on-deck circle.
Henderson completed 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including a run-scoring single within the fourth. His two runs gave him 91 on the 12 months, breaking Cal Ripken Jr.’s Orioles rookie report.
The 22-year-old Henderson’s youthful power complemented a mature efficiency within the win that dropped the Orioles’ playoff magic quantity to at least one. On Sunday, they will clinch their first postseason berth since 2016.
“He’s a great hitter,” Glasnow mentioned. “I wish I would’ve executed a bit more. I think just leaving some stuff there for him is never ideal. And I think a hitter like that who’s talented is going to take advantage of it.”