Gunnar the Stunner (Yankees at Orioles; 04.29.24)

Yusuf Abdullah/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

BALTIMORE — It did not take long for now 22-year-old Gunnar Henderson to make an impact on the Major League level, so it’s not surprising that he is now making a mark on the league’s history books as well.

Henderson smacked his American League-leading 10th home run of the season to lead off Monday’s game, the only run the Orioles would need in a 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees to begin a four-game set between the top two teams in the American League East. Grayson Rodriguez pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as the Orioles tossed their third shutout of the season, all coming within the team’s last eight games.

Three of Henderson’s 10 dingers have come to lead off the game, and he took a 2-2 sweeper from New York starter Clarke Schmidt just over the high wall in right field to get the Orioles off the perfect start.

“It’s always a big boost. You’re not really expecting a leadoff homer to start the game, but our guy’s definitely got the ability to,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s 22 years old, too. It’s pretty scary how good this guy’s going to be. How good he is already.”

Here’s how good last year’s American League Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger Award winner is: tonight’s clout made Henderson (22 years, 305 days) the youngest player in Major League history to hit 10 home runs before May, and, according to Sarah Langs of MLB, is the ninth player age 22 or younger to hit 10 home runs in his team’s first 28 games of a season. That nonet includes names such as Manny Ramirez (the last person to pull off the feat, in 1995), Alex Rodriguez, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew and Mel Ott.

“I’d like to say I know I can do it, but it definitely would be a little surprising,” Henderson said when asked if he thought before the season that he would have 10 home runs before the end of April. “I’m definitely feeling good a little bit.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday evening’s game, with photos taken by ALOST staff photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 24 pictures in total.

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