SAN FRANCISCO—The Orioles had to face a revitalized Alex Cobb, who won just seven of 29 decisions in three seasons with them, and they could do little against him.
Making things worse, third baseman Gunnar Henderson, whose home run was the key hit in Friday night’s win, left the game in the third inning because of lower back discomfort in the Orioles’ 4-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants before an announced crowd of 32,416 at Oracle Park on Saturday night.
“He’s just got some lower back soreness. I took him out for precaution,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s just day-to-day right now. It’s been lingering the last few days, tried to play through it and being in the games made it more sore.”
Cobb (5-2) allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven without walking a batter. He faced the minimum 12 batters in the first four innings. Adley Rutschman singled with one out in the first, but Anthony Santander immediately hit into a double play.
Ryan Mountcastle singled with two outs in the fifth and Adam Frazier doubled with two outs in the sixth. Aaron Hicks singled and Ryan O’Hearn doubled in the eighth, and after Cobb left with two outs, Frazier grounded back to reliever Scott Alexander, who slipped but still threw Frazier out while sitting to end the eighth.
“He had three pitches going, a good fastball with a lot of life and movement,” Hyde said. “Good split-finger that we had a tough time elevating and a good breaking ball. Not a ton of hard contact, a lot of soft groundballs against him. I thought he had really good stuff. We had a tough time squaring him up.”
Hyde managed Cobb in 2019 and 2020, his final two seasons with the Orioles.
“He throws a little harder. He was banged up when I had him and coming off some injuries,” Hyde said. “The last couple of years his stuff is back to where it was in the Tampa days. He’s throwing the ball extremely well.”
The Orioles were shut out for the fifth time this season. On Friday night, they came from behind for the 20th time this season.
“With this team you never know,” O’Hearn said. “We put up eight in the seventh against the Yankees [on May 24th]. I got plenty of confidence in our guys.
“That second and especially third time through the lineup, if a guy’s been getting us, I feel like we have a great chance to come back and put up runs. Like you’ve seen with this team in the past, things happen quick. We string hits together. It didn’t happen tonight.”
O’Hearn hopes that Henderson’s injury isn’t serious. Centerfielder Cedric Mullins injured his right groin on Monday, and he’ll be out an indefinite time.
“Both of those guys are such a huge part of our team,” O’Hearn said. “Hopefully, Gunnar’s all right. I haven’t heard anything about that … If that’s the case, next man up, keep going, keep grinding as a team. We hope both those guys get healthy as soon as possible because we need them. They’re big parts of our team.”
Oriole starter Kyle Bradish (2-2) had an awful third inning, in which he allowed five straight one-out hits, resulting in three runs. J.D. Davis’ single scored LaMonte Wade Jr., and Wilmer Flores’ two-run single gave San Francisco (29-29) a 3-0 lead.
“It’s tough to stop it,” Bradish said. “They’re a pretty good hitting team, and they were just rolling. I left a few balls up in the zone but was able to get through it.”
With Flores on second and Brett Sabol on first, Mitch Haniger hit a long drive to center where Hicks leaped and robbed Haniger, saving Bradish from further damage.
“He had that one bad inning where they almost batted around on him,” Hyde said. “Hard contact, balls got elevated. After Bradish, our bullpen did a nice job, gave up one run the last four innings, stayed in the game. Not enough offense.”
Bradish allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings.
Austin Slater’s RBI single in the sixth put the Orioles (36-22) behind, 4-0.
Hyde doesn’t think Henderson’s injury is major, and without Mullins, their bats were weak against Cobb.
“We just didn’t have much going offensively,” Hyde said. “Ced’s a big loss for us. He’s going to be out a while, and we’re going to have to pick up the slack. Gunnar, these things happen. He just has a little bit of soreness in the back. He’ll be fine.”
Notes: Tyler Wells (3-2, 3.29) will face Anthony DeSclafini (4-4, 3.48) on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. … Kyle Gibson will pitch against Freddy Peralta (5-5, 4.62) on Tuesday when the Orioles open their series in Milwaukee.
Minor league update: In his first start for Triple-A Norfolk, Grayson Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings, allowing one hit as the Tides beat Gwinnett, 9-2.
Rodriguez (1-0) struck out six and walked five. Colton Cowser, who had been on the injured list with a left quad injury, returned and had two hits and drove in two.
Second baseman Connor Norby drove in three runs and hit his sixth home run, and first baseman Lewin Díaz hit his 11th.
Cade Povich (4-5) allowed six runs, five earned, in three innings as Double-A Bowie lost to Harrisburg, 13-4.
Catcher Tim Susnara hit his first home run.
Centerfielder Jud Fabian had two of High-A Aberdeen’s four hits as Hudson Valley beat the IronBirds, 3-2.
Juan De Los Santos (1-5) allowed five runs, four unearned, in 1 2/3 innings in Single-A Delmarva’s 7-1 loss to Fredericksburg.