The 39,373 in attendance at Camden Yards tonight came for the Crush Davis and Sampson bobbleheads, and possibly a win, but were treated to yet another Orioles’ drubbing, as O’s pitchers were wildly ineffective en route to a 12-2 loss.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman had his scheduled start on Wednesday pushed back to tonight because of shoulder soreness, and whether it was a case of lingering arm trouble or just one of those nights the big 6’6 righty couldn’t compartmentalize his mechanics, he was lost in the strike zone. Tilly lasted only 2.0 innings, allowing six runs on six hits, though his biggest trouble was being all over the place with everything he threw.
In no haste, Tillman’s first inning started with a George Springer single, followed by rookie Alex Bregman’s third career home run, putting Tillman and the Orioles in a quick 2-0 hole. His second inning compounded issues, beginning with a walk and a double, and after Tony Kemp lined out to Adam Jones, Springer walked and Bregman singled. With Jose Altuve and the bases loaded, baseball’s current hit king dinked a grounder down the third base line, giving Manny Machado no chance at a play, extending the Astros lead to 4-0.
Tillman started the 3rd inning, but completed his meltdown by plunking Evan Gattis with the first pitch, with succeeding walks to AJ Reed, Tesocar Hernandez and lastly Jason Castro, as Tilly exited with the bases still loaded and the Orioles down 5-0. Odrisamer Despaigne did well to clean up the mess, inducing a double play and striking out Springer, but down 6-0, the nostalgia of the evening was sucked out of OPACY.
On his bobblehead night, Chris Davis did trebuchet a majestic monster oppo taco over the Orioles bullpen for a solo shot in the 4th, but the dream of another comeback was ill-fated.
As he’s prone to do, Despaigne was not sharp in his third full inning of work, surrendering a two-run Springer dinger in the top of the 5th, padding the Houston lead to 8-1. In the 6th, an Altuve double, run-scoring Carlos Correa single and Evan Gattis base-hit to right field ended his night with the Orioles down 9-1, and booked his ticket back to Norfolk (he was actually sent down following the game).
The salacious Donnie Hart entered the 6th inning with runners on the corners with no outs, and did well to limit the Astros run of amok. Hart’s first batter Reed struck out on a sweeping slider, but walking Hernandez would be his lone fault. With the bases loaded, Hart crafted a double play, but a run would score, pushing the deficit to nine.
Mychal Givens and Brad Brach added a pair of scoreless innings, and in an attempt to save an arm, Ryan Flaherty came in firing in the 9th inning. His repertoire, an 81 MPH fastball and 71 MPH changeup only resulted in two runs! It was easily the most excitement the Orioles could muster.
As for the Orioles offense, Steve Pearce, who entered the game for Jonathan Schoop (who had been the last player this year to play every inning of every game), smashed a solo shot in the 8th inning. Caleb Joseph finally did something cool, breaking a bat over his knee after a pop-out in the 9th. He still has some power, apparently.
Tomorrow, the Orioles will face reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel in an attempt to salvage a split, with Yovani Gallardo and his 5.18 ERA to counter. Keuchel sandwiched a complete game shutout between a pair of shellackings, so who knows what the Orioles will get, but if Gallardo can manage a contained five or six innings as he’s known to do, maybe the O’s can keep the growing sense of discontent at bay.
But it also wouldn’t be a surprise if he added to the current allowance of 32 runs in the last 27 innings.