The Orioles lost in late innings for the second consecutive games as the Astros broke a 3-3 tie with a run in the top of the ninth inning. Dylan Bundy registered a quality start and DJ Stewart hit a three-run homer, but it wasn’t enough to give the O’s their first win against Houston this season. The loss runs their record to 46-114.
Dylan Bundy started for the O’s and was brilliant through five shutout innings. But he walked the lead off batter in the sixth inning and was then haunted again by the gopher ball. The three runs allowed came on home runs given up on consecutive pitches. His gave up six hits and one walk in six innings while striking out seven. Bundy’s performance guaranteed that strikeout per nine inning ratio this season will go down as second best in Orioles history (next to Erik Bedard in 2007.)
Bundy started the game by worked around a single in each of the first two innings and recorded four of his first six outs via strikeout. He retired the side in order in the third and benefited from a line drive double play (the runner from first was off with the pitch) to escape the fourth inning. The Astros were again retired in order in the fifth. Bundy needed only 68 pitches (51 of which were strikes) to get through five innings.
Justin Verlander was masterful for the Astros today. It was the perfect storm of him carrying great stuff, pesky late afternoon shadows making things difficult for hitters, and a generous Angel Hernandez strike zone. He finished with ten strikeouts in six shutout innings. He didn’t allow a hit baserunner through three innings and retired seven of the first nine on strikeouts. The Orioles finally got a baserunner when Adam Jones smoked a double into the left-center field gap with two outs in the fourth inning. He moved to third on a passed ball, but was left stranded when Mancini struck out. Baltimore got their second baserunner in the fifth inning when Renato Nunez collected a one-out infield single, but he was there when Verlander registered his tenth strikeout to end the inning.
Houston got to Bundy quickly and harshly in the sixth inning. Tony Kemp led off the inning with a walk before George Springer crushed a 3-2 offering into the left field seats to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. Carlos Correa homered on the very next pitch to extend the lead to three. The latter was the 41st home run Bundy has given up this season.
Things started well for the Orioles in the bottom of the sixth after Justin Verlander was given a lead: Caleb Joseph singled on the fifteenth pitch of the at bat to lead off the inning. But Cedric Mullins slowly grounded to the right side of the infield and Carlos Correa attempted to tag out the incoming Joseph. Joseph went into a slide despite being about fifteen feet short of the second base bag and was called for interference, resulting in an automatic double play. Jonathan Villar followed that with a walk, but Adam Jones grounded out to end the inning.
Both clubs turned the game over to their bullpens in the seventh and the O’s promptly took advantage of Verlander being on the bench. Joe Smith allowed a one-out double to Tim Beckham and walked Nunez. DJ Stewart then tied the game with a three run shot into the Eutaw Street bleachers. It was his third home run this month.
Cody Carroll and Sean Gilmartin (1-1) allowed two hits in the seventh and eighth innings respectively, but neither allowed a run. Gilmartin stayed on in the ninth inning and could not work out of trouble then. He retired the first two batters of the inning before allowing a walk to Springer. Correa worked the count to 3-1 and doubled to the right field gap. Springer scored all the way from first without a throw to give Houston a 4-3 lead.
Baltimore got just what they needed to start off the bottom of the ninth off of Carlos Rondon: back to back singles from Mancini and Beckham. But Renato Nunez bounced into a 5-5-3 double play. With two outs and the tying run at second base, Stewart had the chance to be a hero. But he struck out to end the game. Rondon’s save was his fifteenth of the season. Will Harris picked up the win, improving his record to 5-3, after pitching a scoreless eighth inning.
The Orioles will get back at it in about thirty minutes. Yefry Ramirez (1-7, 6.07) will take the mound and be opposed by Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.75).