Are we having fun yet? Your Baltimore Orioles have gone into Houston and taken not one but two games in the series. The Astros, who lead the American League with 81 wins, probably didn’t expect to lose a series to the Orioles. Heck, I didn’t expect it.
After shutting out the Astros last night behind a strong start from Kyle Bradish, tonight it was Dean Kremer’s turn. He also turned in the longest outing of his career, holding the Astros to just one run. Combine that with a few well-timed home runs from the Orioles and it was a 3-1 win for the Orioles, their 67th of the year.
Kremer used his defense to its fullest through seven and two-thirds strong innings tonight. He only struck out three, but through his first six innings he allowed just one hit and faced the minimum number of batters.
Kremer started off strong, retiring the first nine batters he faced. He did go to a three-ball count four times in those innings, but he never gave in and ended his night without a walk.
Starting off the fourth inning, Jose Altuve singled back up the middle for the first hit of the game. But just as you were saying “There goes the no hitter,” Yuli Gurriel hit the ball to Jorge Mateo at shortstop for the double play. A groundout for Yordan Alvarez got Kremer out of the inning and went on to get a 1-2-3 fifth inning as well.
Meanwhile, through five innings the Orioles were getting their licks in against Astros’ starter José Urquidy, though they only broke through for runs in one of those five innings. They stranded runners in both the first and second innings, though they made Urquidy throw a ton of pitches. Then in the third, they struck.
Doubling machine Adley Rutschman did his thing with one out, putting him on base for Anthony Santander, who absolutely murdered a baseball. It sailed into the second deck of the right field stands to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Just a beautiful shot.
After a hard hit line out from Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays stepped to the plate. On an 0-1 pitch, Hays did his best Ramón Urías impression, sending the ball deep and high to left field where it landed on the train tracks for the second home run of the inning.
Rougned Odor caused some trouble on the bases in the fourth inning with a walk and a stolen base, getting to third when the catcher’s threw went into centerfield. But he was stranded and finally, in the fifth inning, Urquidy had his first 1-2-3 inning of the game. His reward was being pulled from the game with his team down 3-0. 102 pitches through five innings will do that.
The Orioles were relatively hapless against the Astros bullpen, getting just two hits in the final four innings of the game. But thanks to the pitching staff, they already had all the runs they needed.
After yet another perfect inning in the sixth, Kremer finally cracked in the seventh inning. Leadoff batter Jose Altuve smoked a baseball to left field for a double. Gurriel grounded out to third base, but an Alvarez single through the right side knocked in Altuve and got the Astros on the board.
As the tying run came to the plate in the form of the dangerous Alex Bregman, a visit from the pitching coach was in order. After talking it out, Kremer got exactly what he needed: an inning-ending double play. Stone cold!
I figured that would be the end of the line for Kremer and felt good about it. But Brandon Hyde knew better and sent Kremer back out. He got two outs and looked poised to complete eight innings for the first time in his career. But when Trey Mancini singled to center, that was it.
Kremer probably could have retired David Hensley. But when the tying run is coming to the plate and you have Félix Bautista ready to get a four-out save, why risk it?
(Fun fact: with that single, Mancini now has a hit against all 30 major league teams. Good job, Trey!)
Bautista came into the game and did exactly what we have come to expect. He struck out Hensley to end the eighth, then pitched a perfect ninth with two more strikeouts. He needed just 15 pitches to record four outs.
Orioles win, 3-1! They have improbably won the first two games in Houston and go into tomorrow looking for a three-game sweep. It’ll be a tall order with super human Justin Verlander on the mound, but after watching these last two games I wonder if they might just do it.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 27th?
This poll is closed
Dean Kremer (7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K)
Austin Hays (2-for-4, choo choo dinger)
Anthony Santander (second deck dinger)