BALTIMORE – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde can now fill the roster with all sorts of combinations.
Everything has been working for Baltimore lately.
“We just have a lot of options,” Hyde said. “When you have five guys on the bench, you have multiple strikers and you have situations right and left, I have a lot more options than ever before.”
Gunnar Henderson homered to start the seventh inning with two runs for Baltimore, and the Orioles rallied from an early four-run deficit to win their seventh straight game, 6-5 over the Miami Marlins on Saturday night.
Anthony Santander gave Baltimore the lead with an RBI single later in the seventh, and the Orioles are only two games behind Tampa Bay at the top of the AL East, even as the Rays scored a doubleheader in Kansas City.
Baltimore tied the season record with their winning streak, which is the longest active streak in the major leagues.
The Orioles are only carrying 12 pitchers at the moment, meaning Hyde has five hitters on the bench at his disposal. On Saturday, he used three of them and also moved starters as the game progressed. Henderson started at third base – he made a huge bare-handed play on a slow roller to save a run on fifth – and eventually switched to shortstop.
Miami opened the scoring with four runs in the second, but the Orioles immediately responded with three in the bottom half. The Marlins were leading 5-4 in the seventh when Henderson sent the first pitch off pitcher Huáscar Brazoban (3-2) into deep right field for his 14th homer.
“We understand that no matter what the score is, we can come back and we can bring together a lot of good bats,” Henderson said.
Brazoban allowed four of his five attackers to hit. Austin Hayes, Adly Ratchman and Santander scored back-to-back singles to give the Orioles the lead. Yenneye Cano scored Baltimore’s eighth and Felix Batista made a perfect ninth with his 25th save in 30 chances.
Mike Baumann (6-0) won by relief.
This year, the Marlins have fallen to 21-7 in peer-to-peer games.
Miami’s Luis Arraes had four hits to lift his batting average to .386, and Marlins outfielders Dane Myers and Jesús Sanchez were able to stay in the game after a terrible outfield collision in the first.
Miami starter Braxton Garrett allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, while Baltimore’s Kyle Gibson scored five runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Gibson allowed four singles in a row to start second, with the last two Gene Segura and Joey Wendle all driving in the same run. One out later, Myers hit the ground for second, and rookie Jordan Westburg’s throw didn’t have time for Segura to come out from third.
Arraez made it 4-0 with an RBI single.
The Orioles quickly recovered. Cedric Mullins landed an RBI single and then, after Mullins came out with a right quad, Jorge Mateo landed a line to center that Myers misplayed in a triple as he started to close in on the ball and let it float over his head .
“You ask any center fielder, the hardest reading is a direct hit right at you,” said Marlins manager Skip Shoemaker. “He didn’t play many games there. It’s just reality and hard to read.”
Brian De La Cruz made a sacrifice in the fourth to make it 5-3, but Santander countered with a high-scoring single in the fifth to chase down Garrett.
The Orioles send Kyle Bradish (5-4) to the mound for the final game of the series on Sunday. Steven Okert of Miami (3-0) will be the rookie.