The Orioles scored a lot of runs on this particular Friday night, but the combined performances on the mound didn’t exactly help the cause in a quest to get one game closer to the top of the AL East.
Orioles starter Wade Miley didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts; in fact, the first batter of the game resulted in the worst possible outcome.
After falling behind to George Springer 3-0, Miley forced a 3-1 fastball right to the center of Springer’s bat. The leadoff man launched a home run to right-center, putting the Astros up early by a run.
Brilliantly shaking off the rough start however, Miley worked his quick-paced magic to strike out the side following the solo shot. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman all went down swinging.
Fortunately, the bottom half of the inning belonged to the Orioles. And as an offense of their caliber is supposed to, they owned it against Houston starter Collin HcHugh.
Adam Jones led-off with a first pitch solo shot, but that was only the beginning. After he hit one over the left-field wall, the magic at Camden Yards kicked into full gear.
Hyun-Soo Kim came up next and singled, an at-bat that would ultimately be a disappointment in the grand scheme of the inning. After Kim, Manny Machado lined a hard-hit fly ball that barely snuck over the wall in center. That made it 3-0 Orioles with no outs, hardly the best part of the inning.
The duo of Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo outdid the performance of the top-third of the lineup, both launching massive home runs. Davis rocketed one of his longest HRs on a first-pitch fastball, while Trumbo(mb) took a 2-2 offering to the opposite field.
That’s right — 5 runs, 4 home runs, 0 outs.
McHugh would eventually get out of the inning, but not before allowing another pair of singles. After the first inning, his line looked like this: 1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 HRs.
How’s that for a first inning?
Unfortunately the excitement wasn’t over with. Miley couldn’t shut down the Astros in the following half inning to keep the Camden Yards momentum — in fact, he couldn’t even finish his second-inning work.
Given a four-run lead, the right-hander cut off any bit of momentum he might’ve had with the first batter in the second.
After Evan Gattis singled to start the inning, the Astros strung together four more hits, including a hit batsman, to put up a whopping runs in the inning. Tyler White and Alex Bregman notched RBI doubles, cutting the Orioles lead to 5-4.
And just as Miley looked to potentially strand a pair of runners, Jose Altuve slapped a line drive to the opposite field, scoring two more to give Houston the lead.
After the colossal mess, Buck Showalter had seen enough. He gave Miley the hook after 1.2 innings, in which he allowed six hits and six runs (all earned) over just 44 pitches — not exactly the ideal outing.
Ubaldo Jimenez entered the game to a large ovation from Orioles fans (strange, yes) and ultimately captured the final out of the inning. After just an inning and a half, the Astros were on top, 6-5.
Starting in the bottom of the third, another, albeit much shorter, string of runs were put on the board by both sides.
Jonathan Schoop took advantage of a leadoff Trumbo walk to score tie things up at six, while a wild curveball in the dirt from McHugh scored another to put the Birds up, 7-6.
But when Jimenez took the mound in the fourth, Houston quickly found a way to knot the game. Ubaldo consistently had trouble finding the zone, ultimately leading to the Astros’ seventh run of the night. After a leadoff walk from Jimenez, Bregman laced a weak single to left-center to tie the ballgame yet again.
Overall, Jimenez struggled to do what he has in all of 2016: repeat a delivery and pound the zone with strikes.
In the fifth, Houston again capitalized on the mistakes of the man on the mound. Extending the inning with a walk and several lengthy at-bats, Jimenez surrendered the eighth run of the game on a bloop single in the triangle in right-center.
This time, Teoscar Hernandez was credited with the RBI — it put the Astros up 8-7 and chased Jimenez out of the game before the inning could end.
He’d finish his three innings of laborious work with 52 pitches, throwing an even split of 26 balls and 26 strikes. Classically in the game of baseball, that’s not a very good ratio.
Tyler Wilson entered and allowed one of Jimenez’s baserunners to score on a single, giving the Astros a two-run advantage after their visiting at-bats in the fifth. Luckily, Matt Wieters’ rocket arm accounted for the third out of the inning, ending the madness.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Pedro Alvarez joined in on the home run derby in front of the packed house at Oriole Park. He sent a first-pitch fastball from reliever Chris Devenski into the seats in right, cutting Houston’s lead to 9-8.
C’mon ... you didn’t think this one was over, did you?
After five innings, there were 17 total runs scored, 20 hits sprayed around and five different pitchers to toe the rubber. How’s that for Friday night baseball fun?
For Wilson, Friday night was far from fun. It was dreadful. In a nutshell: a nightmare.
When he took the hill in the top of the sixth, he had a chance to settle the Astros down to give the offense an opportunity to do their thing. But as the script of this night seemed to go, the guy pitching in orange and black completely unraveled.
After allowing a leadoff single, Jose Altuve turned on, and crushed, a first-pitch fastball that caught every bit of the zone. It sailed far into the seats in left, a long way away from the catcher’s mitt. That gave Houston a 11-8 lead, but they weren’t done.
Two batters later, Evan Gattis launched a hanging curve over the wall in left to tally another run on the board. Just like that, before Wilson could wrangle two outs, the Astros captured their biggest lead of the night.
Unfortunately, it only got worse from there. When Wilson couldn’t settle down in the seventh, Vance Worley entered and proceeded to allow baserunner after baserunner. A walk and pair of singles led to two more runs, giving Houston a 14-8 advantage.
From there, the rest of the way was quiet and uneventful. Another run crossed on Vance Worley’s watch, but the offense couldn’t muster anything the rest of the way.
With the loss, the Orioles fall to 67-54. A Toronto loss and Boston win puts the Birds in third place, still just 1.5 games back of the division lead.