PITTSBURGH — This was Yennier Cano’s inning. The bullpen, some 350 feet from where Cano stood on the mound with a game resting on his pitches, watched with arms folded. There was no one else warming.

After two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, manager Brandon Hyde walked to the mound. Rather than pitching coach Drew French taking care of the visit, Hyde took it upon himself, rallying his All-Star setup man who was pressed into closing duties Sunday because Craig Kimbrel had pitched the previous two games.

Baltimore had gotten out of a similar jam Saturday, when left-hander Danny Coulombe inherited a bases-loaded situation with no outs and escaped it. And, given another chance, the Orioles almost completed the unthinkable twice.

The Orioles made several defensive gems that kept them in the game earlier, and shortstop Gunnar Henderson nearly pulled off another. He dove to stop a chopper, tagged second with his glove and then flung his throw to first wide of the mark. The winning run scored.

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Henderson crouched near second, hat off, head in hands. The Orioles lost 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a second straight walk-off.

“You can’t blame Gunnar,” manager Brandon Hyde said, and he’s right. Henderson plays with his hair on fire — a trait that helps make the 22-year-old star so scintillating to watch. If Henderson had decided against flinging his throw toward first, there was no guarantee Baltimore gets out of the inning with the score still tied.

So he tried to make the incredible happen. And, if given the chance to do it again, Henderson will play the way he always has.

“I feel like we always play really hard defense and we always err on the side of being aggressive and trying to make plays aggressively,” Henderson said. “That’s just how we roll.”

The late comeback from Pittsburgh spoiled the superb start from right-hander Dean Kremer and wiped away some of the good feelings associated with other defensive gems made by Henderson and others. But it mainly shines a light on an offense that is in a rut. After scoring a combined 24 runs in their first two games of the year, the Orioles have scored 23 combined in their next seven games.

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“We’re not creating any sort of traffic right now,” Hyde said. “We’re not taking walks. We’re getting out early in the count quite a bit. You don’t want to discredit the other teams’ pitchers, but we’ve got to do a better job of putting pressure on them.”

The Orioles were in the game because of Kremer’s strong start. Kremer peppered the strike zone throughout his season-high seven innings, becoming the first Orioles pitcher this season to complete that many. Of his 91 pitches, 69 were in the zone, and he scattered five hits and six strikeouts while allowing one unearned run.

That run could’ve been avoided, although Kremer let himself down with an errant throw to second base for an error. That runner later scored on a sacrifice fly. Besides that miscue from the pitcher himself, the defense behind Kremer was spectacular.

“Besides the PFP [pitchers’ fielding practice] play which cost us a run,” Hyde said, “we’re playing pretty good defense.”

In the third inning, the Pirates might’ve broken through if not for that defense. Shortstop Oneil Cruz lashed a double to right-center field that narrowly missed leaving the yard for a home run. Jared Triolo, trucking from first base, was nabbed at home plate following a slick relay from center fielder Cedric Mullins to second baseman Jorge Mateo to catcher James McCann.

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That run-saving play was joined later by diving stops from Henderson and Mateo that powered Kremer through the sixth unscathed.

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After a stale offensive performance Saturday that included an 0-for-14 clip with runners in scoring position, the Orioles strung together three hard-hit balls to take a lead in the fourth. Adley Rutschman began it with a single, and Ryan Mountcastle’s 112.1 mph double (his second of the day) scored Rutschman. Mountcastle came in on Anthony Santander’s single.

But the rally ended with Austin Hays’ double play, leaving the outfielder hitless in his previous 17 at-bats to that point. Hays finished the day with a 2-for-26 (.077) mark.

He’s not alone in his struggles. Infielder Ramón Urías is 1-for-17. And, as the Norfolk Tides continue to produce at other-worldly heights, there could be pressure mounting on Baltimore’s more established players.

Pitcher Dean Kremer allowed one unearned run in seven innings for the Orioles. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

At the same time, though, it’s early in the year. A three-series sample is hardly indicative of the whole. Hays, for instance, was an All-Star last year.

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“You’ve got to let it play out a little bit,” bench coach Fredi González said pregame. “These guys have a history. They have a track record. You know they aren’t what they are this first week, one way or the other. I’ve seen hot starts, and you go, the water’s going to reach his level sooner or later. You’ve just got to be patient. You’ve got to keep running them out there. We’ve only played eight games, so the watermark will get to where it’s supposed to be.”

These nine games, now, haven’t featured a steady offensive output. There have been highs, such as nine runs scored against the Los Angeles Angels before an out had been recorded in the inning. But many games have been this way — a close affair that Baltimore tries to sneak out because of its pitching and defense.

There is concern about the bullpen, however, without closer Félix Bautista. On Saturday, Bautista might’ve pitched two innings, locking down the ninth and 10th. Instead, the game was handed over to Mike Baumann, who recorded one of Baltimore’s three blown saves in nine games.

On Sunday, Cano served as the closer to give Kimbrel an off day. Cano is a top-tier setup man. But he has struggled in save situations, allowing two or more runs in the ninth inning four times since last season began. He left pitches elevated Sunday, walked a batter, and needed a sensational play from Henderson to even come close to saving the game.

The starting pitching and the defense impressed. The offensive production didn’t. And, coupled with a ninth-inning jam, the Orioles were handed their first series loss.