Hays' leadoff homer, Henderson's 3 hits, Wells' strong start lead Orioles past Royals, 3-2 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Hays’ leadoff homer, Henderson’s 3 hits, Wells’ strong start lead Orioles past Royals, 3-2

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE—The Orioles returned home to play the Kansas City Royals, the team with the second-worst record in baseball, and they escaped with a 3-2 win before an announced crowd of 18,076 at Camden Yards on Friday night.

The Orioles (39-24) hadn’t won two straight since May 24th-25th, and hadn’t done it at home since May 17th-18th.

Gunnar Henderson had a career-high three hits, and Tyler Wells allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Austin Hays hit Daniel Lynch’s first pitch over the left-field wall for his seventh home run and first career leadoff home run.

“There weren’t too many pitches thrown in the top of that inning. I felt like I was freed up to get after the first pitch if he threw something over the middle,” Hays said. “I was able to get a barrel on it and hit it where it was a little more shallow down the line.”

Henderson singled with one out in the second, and Lynch (0-2) thought he had Henderson picked off, but the throw from first wasn’t in time, and he had his first of two stolen bases. Jorge Mateo’s single scored Henderson.

With his three hits, Henderson has raised his average to a season-high .220.

“He’s had some struggles against left-handed pitching this year,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He gets the start against a good left-handed starter and beautiful swings. I think he got some confidence going on the road trip. To go left-on-left and square three balls up, that makes me feel real good for him.”

In the third, Nicky Lopez tripled to center and scored on Nick Pratto’s sacrifice fly for the Royals’ first run.

Hays led off the fifth with a double and scored on Anthony Santander’s one-out double.

Wells (5-2) got the first two outs in the seventh then loaded the bases before leaving.

“He’s just growing as a starting pitcher,” Hyde said. “Not a veteran by any means. For him to keep improving the way he is is a credit to him.”

Wells allowed a run on three hits in six innings before the rougher seventh..

“I felt like I was struggling to find myself for the first three, four innings,” Wells said. “Got myself into a groove in the fifth, sixth and fell out of it in the seventh. I definitely think my secondary stuff kept me in, mixing speeds.

“I would say it was a little bit of a grind as far as me trying to locate my stuff. I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, but because of great teamwork with defense behind me and obviously the communication that me and Adley [Rutschman] had. I was lucky enough to go deep into the game.”

Mike Baumann allowed Maikel Garcia to score, and the Orioles led Kansas City (18-45), 3-2.

Yennier Cano pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing two hits, and Félix Bautista registered his 17th save with a spotless ninth.

Notes: Wells struck out four, ending his streak of seven or more strikeouts in five straight games, which was tied for the second longest in team history. … The Orioles stole five bases, equaling a season high. Mateo and Henderson each had two and Aaron Hicks had one. Henderson is the first Orioles rookie to steal two bases since Matt Angle on September 19th, 2011. … Hicks has reached base in each of his eight games with the team.  … Cole Irvin (0-2, 10.38) will face Brady Singer (4-4, 6.45) on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The first 25,000 fans 15-and-over will receive an Adley Rutschman bobblehead. … The Orioles are 12-7 in one-run games.

Minor league update:  Grayson Rodriguez (2-0) allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out 10 in six innings in Triple-A Norfolk’s 8-4 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The Tides hit five home runs, an inside-the-parker by rightfielder Heston Kjerstad, his first since being promoted from Double-A Bowie, two-run homers by second baseman Terrin Vavra and catcher José Godoy and  solo shots by leftfielder Connor Norby and third baseman Jordan Westburg. It was Westburg’s 16th.

Leftfielder Zach Watson homered twice and drove in four runs and first baseman Shayne Fontana homered as Bowie beat Erie, 7-5.

High-A Aberdeen lost to Asheville, 6-4, in 10 innings. Trace Bright pitched four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out seven.

Shortstop Carter Young hit his third home run in Single-A Delmarva’s 14-6 loss to Down East.

RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM

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