Jimenez Records Quality Start, But O's Fall 3-1
The Baltimore Orioles fell 3-1 to the Houston Astros Thursday night. Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez threw six hard-fought innings in the game, collecting his third quality start of the season (his 11th start of the campaign). Jimenez fired 112 pitches (65 for strikes) in his six innings of work, giving up three hits, three walks, a hit batter, one run, and striking out eight Houston batters in the game.
The Astros got on the board first, as catcher Jason Castro worked a leadoff walk in the 2nd inning. Matt Dominguez followed up the walk with a single up the middle and Jimenez issued another walk in the inning to load the bases. Castro then scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch from Jimenez (Orioles manager Buck Showalter unsuccessfully challenged the questionable safe call at the plate).
Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce led off the Baltimore side of the 4th inning with a double down the left field line to give the Orioles their second hit of the game. Both Adam Jones and Chris Davis failed to move Pearce over to third base, as the two power hitters grounded out and struck out respectively. The red-hot Nelson Cruz tied the game at one apiece with a grounder that would have been straight to the Astros second baseman if not for the Houston infield being in a shift. Cruz extended his hitting streak to 10 games in the process of leveling the game.
The aforementioned Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve, hit an infield single to lead off the bottom of the 5th inning, and then stole second base. Jimenez then plunked Dexter Fowler to give the Astros runners on first and second with 1 out. Nonetheless, the Baltimore pitcher induces a groundout to Castro and strikes out third baseman Matt Dominguez on a check swing to end the threat in the inning.
Baltimore gets two runners on base during the 6th inning, as both Jones and Cruz hit singles in the frame; however, Baltimore failed to take the lead in the inning with Davis striking out and J.J. Hardy grounding out to his Astros counterpart at shortstop.
The Orioles again gets the potential game winning run on base with Ryan Flaherty flaring a single into left field in the top of the 7th inning, but Nick Hundley and Nick Markakis are both retired to end the inning.
Altuve, who enjoyed a 3 for 4 night for Houston, recorded his third hit of the game in the bottom of the 7th inning with a single off of Orioles reliever Preston Guilmet. The Houston second baseman then stole second base for the second time on the night. Houston’s George Springer followed the Altuve stolen base with a two-run home run just over the left field fence to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.
Astros pitching closed the game out by retiring the Orioles hitters in order in both the 8th and 9th innings.
The two American League teams will face off again Friday night, as Miguel Gonzalez (3-3, 4.35 ERA) toes the rubber for the Orioles and Brett Oberholtzer (1-6, 5.32 ERA) faces Baltimore hitters in the second game of a four-game set in Houston.