Written by Tony Pente
Orioles bats make adjustments in 6-3 win over Astros
It looked like another tough night for the Orioles as they collected just two hits through the first four innings of the game against Houston starter Jordan Lyles. Lyles mostly worked away from the Orioles hitters who kept trying to pull him to no avail. Finally, in the 5th inning, the Orioles started going to the opposite field and sure enough they started scoring runs, chasing Lyles in the 6th inning with a 4-2 lead. That was enough as Bud Norris scattered two solo home runs over six innings of work to pick up the win. Jim Johnson came on in the 9th and although he made things interesting, he picked up his 37th save, leaving runners on 2nd and 3rd.
- Bud Norris made his Orioles debut tonight against his former club. The 28-year old right-hander showed a 92-93 mph moving fastball in the first inning allowing a sharp single to left-handed hitting Jason Castro before striking out Chris Carter with a sharp slider on a 1-2 count. In the second inning the left-handed concerns reared its ugly head. After getting ahead 0-2 to left-handed hitting Brett Wallace, he evened the count 2-2 before Wallace launched, and I mean launched a long home run to right-center on a 93 MPH fastball that Norris left in the middle of the plate. Norris then got the next two left-handed batters out including a strikeout with a nice 2-2 slider under Jimmy Paredes.
- After cruising a bit, the long ball by a lefty bit him again as right fielder Marc Krauss hit a no-doubter to right field on a 91-MPH fastball in the middle of the plate. By the 5th inning Norris’ velocity dropped off a bit throwing several at 89 MPH though he did hit 92 on a fly out by LJ Hoes to end the inning.
- Back to 91-92 in the sixth inning. Got behind 2-0 to Castro to lead off the inning but threw a nice slider for a strike and then got Castro to fly out to left. He then struck out Carter (for the third time) and Wallace to end the inning for his 8th strikeout.
- Final line, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8K. 104 pitches (65 strikes)
- Tommy Hunter came on in the 7th and allowed one hit before getting that runner wiped out in a 6-4-3 double play. Robbie Grossman led off the 8th with a double and eventually scored after Hunter got two ground outs. Final Line, 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1ER.
- Brian Matusz came on in the 8th and got Castro to line out to Markakis in right.
- Jim Johnson made things interesting in the 9th walking a guy and hitting a batter (replays shows it hit the bat) before dropping a possible game ending double play ball before getting Matt Dominguez to ground out to third for the final out.
- Matt Wieters struck out swinging on a fastball that was at his ankles and a foot outside in the 4th inning. Wieters finished the game 0-for-4 with two k’s and is now batting just .236 on the year.
- Henry Urrutia took an outside fastball and hit it down the third base line for a single in a nice piece of hitting in the bottom of the 5th. In the 6th, Lyles tried to come in on his hands but Urrutia brought his hands in and got just enough to single up the middle. He missed his 3rd hit of the night when he hit a hard grounder off reliever Josh Zeid that ricocheted to third baseman Matt Dominguez who fired over to first and got him by a half step. Urrutia is batting .333 with the Orioles since his recall.
- Nate McLouth hit a nice outside 92-MPH fastball and served it into left field for an RBI in the 5th. In the 6th he took a first pitch breaking ball from left-hander Travis Blackley and lined it into right-center scoring Urrutia for a 5-2 lead.
- Manny Machado collected a RBI single on a line drive to the opposite field.
- Brian Roberts smacked a two-out RBI with an opposite field single in the 6th.
- Chris Davis launched his 39th home run of the season off Blackley in the 7th to extend the Orioles lead 6-2. Davis became the first American Leaguer to reach 100 RBIs.
- JJ Hardy allowed another easy ball to clank off his glove in the 2nd inning but recovered to throw out the slow Matt Dominguez to end the second inning.
- Matt Wieters picked Robbie Grossman off first base in the 3rd inning.
- Manny Machado isn’t hitting his weight of late, but his defense continues to be outstanding. He made two nice backhanded plays early in the game.
- Chris Davis has one of the slower and inaccurate slap tags for a major league first baseman. In the 5th inning Norris had Jonathan Villar picked off but a slow tag that even came up short as Villar dove to the back of the bag. A good solid quick tag and Villar is picked off.
- In the 5th inning, Villar dropped what would have been a pretty routine double play ball off of Brian Roberts bat allowing the Orioles to have 1st and third with one out instead of being out of the inning.
- Nick Markakis made a diving play on a sinking liner for the last out of the 8th inning.
Key Moments in game:
- In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Orioles changed their approach and finally started hitting the ball the other way as they had five consecutive at bats that included three singles to the opposite field, an error to shortstop by the left-handed swinging Roberts, and a deep sacrifice fly to left field by Nick Markakis. Prior to this inning, Houston starter Jordan Lyles was living on the outer part of the plate but the Orioles hitters made the adjustments and scored three runs to take a 3-2 lead.
Observations and musings
- LJ Hoes collected his first major league hit in the 3rd inning. Chris Davis gave him a congratulatory smack on the butt at first base.
- The Orioles ended up winning two out of three games despite getting behind in all three ball games.
- Houston’s Chris Carter went 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts in the series.
- Bud Norris got his first “victory” pie in the face courtesy of Adam Jones and Alexi Casilla after the game.
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