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Much-needed Holliday: Orioles rookie comes through with first big league hit, sparks crucial rally

BALTIMORE (AP) — Jackson Holliday's first hit was worth the wait for the Baltimore Orioles.

It was probably the turning point in the game.

Holliday singled in the seventh inning, then scored the tiebreaking run to help the Orioles beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 on Sunday. The 20-year-old rookie, who is the top-ranked prospect in baseball, was 0 for 13 with nine strikeouts before pulling a 99 mph pitch from Abner Uribe through the hole into right field.

“Pretty relieved,” Holliday said. “It’s very nice to finally get it out of the way and just kind of enjoy playing baseball now versus trying to fight for a hit.”

Holliday struck out in his first two at-bats before he came up with the Orioles down 4-3 in the seventh. His single put men on first and third with nobody out. Then Gunnar Henderson singled to tie it, and Holliday sped around to third, barely beating the throw.

He came home when Adley Rutschman grounded into a double play.

“I know he was pressing a lot,” Orioles ace Corbin Burnes said. “Twenty years old, I was still in college. ... I can’t say I know what it feels like at 20 years old because I don’t. But just the expectations that he’s had, obviously I’ve been through a little bit of that, so I know what he’s going through.”

Holliday came up again the following inning but grounded out with two on.

The Orioles took Holliday with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft. He stormed through the minors last year, reaching Triple-A, and after a few games there this year he was called up to make his major league debut Wednesday night at Boston.

“It’s a lot, but it’s been fun. It’s quite an experience. I don’t think I would ever take it for granted, the experience that I’m having,” Holliday said. “If you go 0-for for three or four games, it’s going to happen in baseball. I’d prefer it not to be at the beginning of my career, but it’s going to happen. I’m glad to hopefully learn from it.”

After going hitless for three games, he got the day off Saturday. After his first two plate appearances Sunday, he'd struck out six straight times.

Against Uribe, Holliday took a slider for a ball and then got a pitch he could handle.

“I knew he only had two pitches — obviously they're two really good pitches, and he throws really hard,” Holliday said. “When I saw the first slider, I knew that all I had to do was get him up and I was in a good spot.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Noah Trister, The Associated Press