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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: at Astros, 8:10

The Orioles are coming off a win in a game they had no business winning. Can good fortune strike twice?

New York Mets v Baltimore Orioles
Happy birthday, Travis Lakins. You get to face the best offense in baseball.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Orioles, believe it or not, have a chance tonight to win their first road series in nearly two months. But to do so, they’ll probably need to play a much crisper game than they did in last night’s torturous path to victory.

It’s still hard to believe the O’s won a game in which they walked a season-worst 10 batters, including three with the bases loaded. A game in which they coughed up two leads and then nearly blew a five-run advantage in the ninth. A game in which they had to cycle through almost their entire bullpen after their starter was pulled in the fourth. A game that took 4 hours, 19 minutes to plod to its ultimate conclusion.

The Orioles are happy to take the win. But they can’t count on getting that lucky again, especially against a team as good as Houston.

They’re already facing an uphill battle tonight. In need of a starter after Dean Kremer was optioned back to Norfolk last week, the Orioles are using Travis Lakins Sr. as an opener. It’s just the fourth start of his career. The previous three came in 2019 when he was a Red Sock, and all three were also “opener” situations; he worked no more than two innings in any of them.

And oh, by the way, today is Lakins’ 27th birthday. Let’s hope it’s a happy one for him. The Astros might have other plans.

Assuming it’s a brief outing for Lakins, the O’s may turn to rookie Alexander Wells for bulk relief behind him. Wells last pitched three days ago in his MLB debut, throwing two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Lakins, Wells, and Dillon Tate are the only O’s relievers who didn’t pitch last night, so it’ll be interesting to see if Brandon Hyde can piece together a pitching plan tonight that doesn’t leave anyone too fatigued. The O’s summoned righties Conner Greene, Spenser Watkins, and Isaac Mattson from Norfolk for the taxi squad, but none were activated onto the roster.

Going against the Orioles is right-hander Jose Urquidy, who dominated them for seven shutout innings in Baltimore last week. Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and Ryan Mountcastle, who combined for eight hits last night, will need to do the heavy lifting again, because the rest of that O’s lineup is, um, not great, especially with Trey Mancini getting the night off.

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
RF Austin Hays
1B Ryan Mountcastle
DH Anthony Santander
LF Ryan McKenna
2B Domingo Leyba
SS Ramon Urias
3B Maikel Franco
C Austin Wynns

RHP Travis Lakins Sr.

Astros lineup:

2B Jose Altuve
DH Michael Brantley
1B Yuli Gurriel
LF Yordan Alvarez
SS Carlos Correa
RF Kyle Tucker
3B Abraham Toro
CF Myles Straw
C Martin Maldonado

RHP Jose Urquidy