Written by Tony Pente
Astros beat up on Gonzalez and O’s 11-0
The Astros took advantage of some poor starting pitching and untimely poor defense to put it to the Orioles 11-0. Miguel Gonzalez was off his game as he allowed nine runs, four earned, on nine hits and two walks to take the loss. It really didn’t matter though as Houston starter Brett Oberholtzen dominated the Orioles offense allowing just three hits in seven innings of work. For Oberholtzen it was his first major league win. The Orioles have now lost six out of their last eight games and are 59-49, five games back of Tampa who also lost tonight. The Orioles will either be 4.5 or 5.5 back of the Red Sox who were tied in their game at the time of publication.
- Miguel Gonzalez struggled in his last start against Kansas City last week allowing six runs in four and two-third in his shortest outing of the season and tonight was even worse. He did not have good location on his fastball and missed often in the middle of the plate and his slider was well below average with movement and location all night. After cruising through the 1st inning, Gonzalez was tagged for four runs in the second inning including allowing Robbie Grossman’s first major league home run (A no doubter that ended up on Eutaw Street). All of the second inning runs came with two outs. He escaped a jam in the 3rd inning and almost escaped a jam in the 4th when he loaded the bases with one out before striking out LJ Hoes for the second out. He then got Jose Altuve to hit a tailor made ground out to short that Hardy inexplictable booted to let the fifth run score and keep the inning alive. To make matters worse, Gonzalez served up a grand slam to the next batter Juan Castro to blow the game open 9-0. Gonzalez would finish the night allowing nine runs, four earned in three and two-third innings of work.
- TJ McFarland came on in the 4th inning for the ineffective Gonzalez and did his job for the most part allowing one run over two and a third innings with three strikeouts.
- In the 7th Buck went to Francisco Rodriguez who may have been pitching in his first mop up duty of his career. I’m not sure Dan Duquette had mop up duty in his mind when he traded prospect Nick Delmonico to the Brewers for the former closer, but that’s where Buck used him tonight. Not last night in the 8th inning when his starting pitcher had thrown 106 pitches and held a one run lead, but tonight in a 10-0 fiasco. Rodriguez promptly gave up a home run to the insanely hot Matt Dominguez before finishing off the frame. I can imagine Rodriguez’s competitive juices might not be the same in a 10-0 shellacking then it would have been in a setup or closing role. Buck was probably just trying to get him some work though since he hasn’t pitched since Saturday night.
- Brian Matusz, who hasn’t given up a run since June 21st covering eight and third innings in ten games, came on in the 8th and allowed a base hit to Jose Altuve before getting the next three Astros hitters out.
- Troy Patton finished off the game against his original organization. Allowing one hit and no runs in the 9th.
- Chris Davis’ single in the second inning sounded like it was shot out of wooden cannon.
- Houston starter Brett Oberholtzen kept the Orioles hitters in knots with a 89-90 mph fastball, changeup combination. He simple worked in an out and changed speeds and the Orioles hitters appeared baffled. Then again, I’m fairly certain the Astros could have brought 68-year old Joe Niekro out of retirement and he could probably two-hit the Orioles right now.
- Nick Markakis got a loud, mostly mocking cheer when he singled in the bottom of the 7th. It was only the Orioles 3rd hit of the night after collecting just three hits the night before against Houston pitching.
- Steve Pearce was the hitting “star” for the Orioles going 2-for-3 with two sharp singles in his return from the disabled list.
- In bottom of third inning left fielder Robbie Grossman quickly got to a ball Steve Pearce hit down the 3rd base line and kept him to a single.
- Usually sure handed JJ Hardy allowed an unearned run to score when he booted. It appeared the runner may have distracted him a bit or stopped him from coming in on the ball and instead he caught an in between hop. Regardless, it was a bad error on a routine ball.
- LJ Hoes twisted and turned about four different times while running down a deep flyball to center field by Brian Roberts in the 8th. He got a bad jump on a hard line drive at him by Taylor Teagarden that fell in for double in the 9th.
- McLouth made a nice sliding catch in shallow center-right field taking a hit away from Jake Elmore in the 9th.
Key Moments in game:
- The Astros jumped all over Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez in the 2nd inning for four runs with two outs.
- With runners on second and third and two outs, Gonzalez got Brett Wallace to strike out on a 3-2 curveball in the dirt that Wieters blocked then threw out Wallace at first to keep game at 4-0.
- JJ Hardy’s error in the top of the 4th inning cost the team five unearned runs.
Observations and musings
- Prior to the game the Orioles traded LJ Hoes and minor league LHP Josh Hader to Houston for starter Bud Norris. Hoes and Norris just exchanged lockerooms and Hoes, who was in the Orioles original lineup in left field started in right field for the Astros while batting second.
- Ketchup won the condiment race in the top of the 3rd inning. There is questions about him juicing though as a can of V8 was found in his locker after the race.
- Former Orioles manager Dave Trembly and now third base coach for the Houston Astros
- Miguel Gonzalez has now allowed 15 runs, 10 earned in his last two starts covering eight and a third innings (10.80). He went through a similar stretch at the end of July last year when he allowed 11 runs in nine and a third innings (10.61) over his last two starts of July in 2012.
- The attendance tonight was 25,265 fans which is not too bad for a Wednesday night against the Astros.
- Buck raised the white flag in the 8th inning pulling Jones, Hardy and Wieters from the game and replacing them with Henry Urrutia (McLouth went to center), Alexi Casilla, and Taylor Teagarden.
- Hoes went 0-for-5 with two K’s in his debut with Houston. Maybe he thought he was still on the Orioles.
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