Do you like home runs? How about eight home runs in one game? Then this Orioles-Astros game was right up your alley. The two teams combined for 18 runs and 25 hits as the O’s cruised to a 13-5 win at Camden Yards on Thursday night.
Houston, we are clear for lift off
The Orioles hitters terrorized Astros starter Joe Musgrove all evening. When it was all said and done, the 23-year-old right-hander had allowed eight runs over 5.1 innings off of two strikeouts, one walk and 11 hits, including three dongs. Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman had struggles of his own, but we will go through the greatness that was the O’s offense tonight and then circle back. OK? OK!
The onslaught was early and often. In the first inning, Hyun Soo Kim singled and Manny Machado doubled with one out to give the O’s two runners in scoring position. One batter later, Mark Trumbo mashed a three-run tater deep into the left field stands. That made it 3-0 Birds thanks to Trumbo’s 35th dong of the season. That’s the most home runs he has ever hit a season. We still have 42 games to go.
In the second, the setup was similar to as in the first. Houston had nabbed a run in the top of the inning, so the lead needed to be padded. This time it was Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy who delivered the one-out single and double, respectively. Adam Jones scored Schoop on a sacrifice fly to right field and Hardy moved up on the throw home by George Springer. But fear not, Kim brought J.J. in just moments later with a single up the middle. 5-1 O’s.
Onto the fourth. Again, Houston scored once in the top of the frame. Not cool. So, the Orioles scored two more times in the bottom. Very cool. This time the runs came on one swing. Schoop set the table with a one-out single and then it was Hardy, spanking his 100th home run as an Oriole into the left field bleachers to make it a 7-2 game.
Baltimore Power Co.
Fast-forward to the sixth inning. Musgrove must have lost a bet or something because he was still pitching, but not for much longer. The run that the ‘Stros picked up at the start of the inning (yes, another one) was almost immediately negated by another Hardy homer, his second of the game and his seventh of the season. Despite J.J.’s small home run total, that is his second multi-dong game of the year. That would prove to be the starter’s final toss. He was pulled in favor of fellow rookie James Hoyt. Poor, poor James Hoyt. R.I.P.
The 29-year-old righty came in throwing batting practice-like pitches. Back-to-back singles from Jones and Kim set up Machado for his own home run, a three-run shot into the Baltimore bullpen. For good measure, Chris Davis piled on with a dong onto Eutaw Street just in time for his bobblehead night on Saturday, which features the popular Eutaw Street medallions the players get when they stroke one in front of the warehouse.
But that was not the end of the scoring! Davis hit another homer in the eighth inning, a moonshot to centerfield off of Tyler White. Who? Tyler White, the 25-year-old rookie first baseman. Oh yeah, we got to THAT point in this one. It was, as you can imagine, his first MLB pitching appearance. He now has a career 9.00 ERA. Congrats!
Ok, that is all of the Orioles offense from this one. Now to the pitching. Meh.
Gaus is not boss
Kevin Gausman finally got the run support he has desired all summer long. Surely, with his mind at ease, he would pitch with all of the Cy Young-like talent that he has in his being, right? Nope.
The flame-throwing righty wasn’t bad by any means. But he certainly wasn’t good either. Over 6.2 innings he threw 112 pitches and allowed five runs, four of them earned. He also struck out eight and walked just one.
It was the second inning where the unearned run popped up. Machado threw away a ground ball hit to him by Evan Gattis. The Houston designated hitter came around moments later on an A.J. Reed single.
In the fourth inning, MVP candidate Jose Altuve led off with a double down the left field line, but was left at second until Gattis struck again, singling the second baseman in with two outs.
The final three runs came off of the home run ball. Alex Bregman led off the sixth inning with a dong and then Reed hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning, scoring Gattis in the process.
This was a game where Gausman could afford to let off the gas a bit and, in some aspects, he did well. He nearly made it through seven innings and striking out eight batters and only walking one is quite good. But it was a laborious 112 pitches, he couldn’t figure out Gattis all night and giving up two home runs is the type of thing that leads to disaster come October.
On the bright side, the O’s bullpen was great. Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart combined for 2.1 innings perfect innings. Givens notched a pair of strike outs and Hart got one of his own.
Somehow, this game only took two hours and 40 minutes to complete. Make every baseball game this way. Short, sweet, full of offense and the Orioles win.
These two teams meet up again. It’s righty Colin McHugh (7-10, 4.70 ERA) for Houston and lefty Wade Miley (7-10, 5.23) for Baltimore. Man, what a pitching match-up! First pitch is 7:05 at Camden Yards.