ST. LOUIS — Prior to Monday’s game against the Cardinals, Gunnar Henderson had hit a home run in three straight games.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde remarked that he needed a thesaurus to comment on the 22-year-old’s performance, as he was running out of ways to describe how impressive he’s been in his sophomore season.

Well, Hyde might need a whole dictionary at this point.

Henderson hit yet another home run on Monday night, his fourth in as many days and his MLB-leading 16th of the season. Henderson, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, is on pace to hit 58 home runs this season.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

And he’s done so, he said, while feeling off at the plate, prompting extra time in the batting cages until his swing felt right again.

“I’m a perfectionist, I like it to feel a certain way,” Henderson said. “But I’m very fortunate to be in the position I’m in right now.”

His efforts on this night were not enough to help the Orioles, as they fell 6-3 to the Cardinals in the first game of a three-game series. They did, however, provide some signs of life after Dean Kremer gave up five earned runs in four innings and the offense failed to get a hit until Henderson’s home run in the sixth.

It was Kremer’s second-worst start of the season, the right-hander not making it into the fifth for the second time this season.

He was off from the beginning, giving up a single and a walk to open the game. He allowed one run in the second, then gave up four in the fourth, including a three-run home run to Michael Siani, before his day was done.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“I just didn’t think he had his best fastball tonight,” Hyde said. “I knew he was getting ahead of hitters early, he had a tough time putting hitters away. ... He a little bit of an extra layoff this time, I don’t know if that affected him or not but he just didn’t have his best stuff tonight.”

The Orioles called on Albert Suárez to take the fifth, but he too struggled with command and couldn’t give them more than one inning, so the team had to dig for more relievers during a stretch where they have just two off days in 45 days. With Jacob Webb unavailable, they went to left-handed pitcher Cionel Pérez, who also gave up a run, and Keegan Akin.

The Orioles offense couldn’t string anything together for the first five innings to help out their pitchers as Sonny Gray rolled right through the lineup, giving up two walks but nothing more. The Orioles were chasing too much, Hyde said, especially Gray’s breaking ball.

“I thought we were really undisciplined, honestly,” Hyde said. “We need to be a more disciplined club against a starter that can push to the edges and try to get him in the strike zone. We’ll ambush some people early, but it’s not going to work against guys that can really, really command the baseball.”

Baltimore got a bit lucky to start the sixth, with Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo each reaching base via errors from Cardinals shortstop Masyn Winn. Henderson then crushed a sweeper into centerfield, injecting a little energy back into the team.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Ryan O’Hearn and Jordan Westburg followed with singles in the sixth, but the Orioles weren’t able to get them, or anyone else, home the rest of the night.

“You are not going to win with three hits, one being an infield single,” Hyde said. “We just have to take better at-bats.”

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

More From The Banner