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Orioles' Gunnar Henderson smacks helmet-losing first MLB home run

Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson, who made his MLB debut Wednesday, was the No. 2 prospect in baseball. Photo by Bryan Green/Wikimedia Commons
Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson, who made his MLB debut Wednesday, was the No. 2 prospect in baseball. Photo by Bryan Green/Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Baltimore Orioles rookie infielder Gunnar Henderson lost his batting helmet in the process of hitting his first career MLB home run, providing additional entertainment for fans amid the flight of his 429-foot solo shot.

Henderson clobbered the long ball in the fourth inning of the 4-0 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

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"It was a pretty special feeling being able to do that for my first hit," Henderson told reporters.

The 21-year-old Montgomery, Ala., native flew out in his first career at-bat in the second inning. Henderson then walked to the plate for his second at-bat to lead off the fourth.

He fell behind 1-2 in the count against Guardians starter Triston McKenzie. McKenzie missed the strike zone with his fifth offering of the exchange, which evened the count.

Henderson then smacked an 87.8-mph McKenzie slider to right field. His black and orange batting helmet flew off the top of his head and went behind his back as he turned his body to connect with the ball. The helmet then bounced through the dirt near home plate as Henderson trotted toward first base.

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"Everytime I swing, it comes off," Henderson said. "We tried them all and that was the closest one. I guess I have too much hair."

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Henderson's solo shot traveled 107 mph off his bat and hovered just 79 feet above the field before it cleared the right field fence, according to Statcast.

He grounded out to the pitcher in his third at-bat. He led off the ninth with a single in his final at-bat of the night.

The Orioles scored the game's first run when McKenzie walked Orioles designated hitter Ramon Urias with the bases loaded in the third inning.

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Urias smacked a two-run homer for the final runs of the night in the top of the eighth.

Orioles starter Jordan Lyles allowed just four hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings to earn his 10th win of the season. McKenzie allowed five hits and two runs over five innings to drop to 9-11.

Henderson went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored in the victory. The second-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft was the Orioles' top prospect and the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

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The Orioles (68-61) will face the Guardians (68-60) in the series finale at 6:10 p.m. EDT Thursday at Progressive Field.

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