Continuing to Take Flight (Phillies at Orioles; 06.16.24)

Tim Rice (Tag The Shooter)/ALOST

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

BALTIMORE — Somehow, there was another air show that stole some of the headlines from Maryland Fleet Week and Baltimore Flyover that was in town all weekend: the aerial displays and fireworks from the Baltimore Orioles, who punctuated a successful homestand with flights from their bats that left vapor trails and landed in the awaiting hands of gleeful spectators.

For the eighth time this season, Gunnar Henderson led off the game with a home run, and that was one of four dingers hit in the first five innings for the Orioles in knocking around Phillies ace Zack Wheeler and earning an 8-3 victory over Philadelphia inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon. Colton Cowser, Adley Rutschman and Jordan Westburg also went yard for the Orioles, who took two out of three from the team with the best record in the National League, while closing their homestand at 4-2 after also taking two of three against another NL East contender in Atlanta.

In front of a sellout crowd and adjacent to the aerial displays from Fleet Week nearby, the much-anticipated pitching matchup between the players who finished 1-2 in the 2021 National League Cy Young voting did not materialize — at least on one side. Wheeler, who finished second in that vote while a member of the New York Mets, had given up just six home runs on the season before giving up a quartet of homers in a game for the first time in his career on Sunday. The first one, from Henderson, came on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, as Henderson fouled off three straight full-count pitches before launching a sinker almost 420 feet to dead center field.

“Gunnar’s leadoff AB gave everyone else a blueprint,” Cowser said. “It was an awesome environment here. I’ve never played in a playoff game, but it felt like a playoff game. That’s what everybody was saying.”

One inning later, Cowser also went deep to center field off Wheeler for a two-run shot and a 3-0 for Baltimore. Rutschman led off the third inning with a first-pitch home run, also to center field, to extend the Orioles lead to four, and, by this time, the cracks of the bats from the Orioles’ players reverberated as strong as the helicopters and jets that regularly flew over the ball park during the contest.

The Orioles have now run their home run total to a Major League-leading 114, and their win moves them to within 1 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees before the two powerhouses square off for a three-game set starting on Tuesday in the Bronx.

“It’s definitely a huge test,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said about the upcoming series at Yankee Stadium. “We’re going to face three good starters and a really good back end of the bullpen, and we’re going to have to pitch against a really tough lineup.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday evening’s game, with photos taken by DC-area photographer Tim Rice. After clicking on a photo to enlarge the picture, press the left and right arrow buttons on either side of the caption to scroll through the rest of the pictures that appear on the first page, Also, click on the numbers and/or arrow appearing immediately below the picture grid to load the next set of photos. There are 29 pictures in total.

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Tags : Baltimore OriolesMajor League BaseballPhiladelphia Phillies

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