It's a scene we've seen plenty, just not during the 2016 season - Dallas Keuchel throwing a gem to give the bullpen plenty of rest. Tonight was one of those performances.
After rain rolled into Baltimore before the original time for first pitch, 12:35 p.m., the game finally got underway 4 hours later. The first inning was dominated by the men on the rubber during today's game, Dallas Keuchel and Yovani Gallardo. However, the rain popped in to say hello once again, delaying the game for another additional 20+ minutes.
Thankfully, that was the last of the precipitation we'd see for the night. The game resumed in the top of the second inning where Astros fans were treated with their first look at Yulieski Gurriel. Yuli rewarded the Astros faithful who stuck out the rain with his first major league hit, a single. A.J. Reed would follow up with a single off the glove of Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce. Sadly, Yuli would have to wait to score his first major league run as that would be the only action on the bases in the inning.
The pitchers' duel continued until the fourth inning. After a Jose Altuve strikeout, Carlos Correa singled on a ball softly hit to Manny Machado, who did everything he could to throw Correa out. With Evan Gattis up to bat, Correa would then steal his 11th bag of the season. Gattis would drive a deep fly ball to center field to advance Correa to third. Gurriel would end up walking, bringing up Reed, who promptly singled and plated Correa.
The Orioles would respond the very next half inning. After quickly retiring Machado and Mark Trumbo, Keuchel would give up a homer to Jonathan Schoop. Fortunately, Keuchel limited the damage to that one run, thanks to a great running catch by Marwin Gonzalez in left field.
The Astros would continue the rain parade of runs in the top of the fifth. Tesocar Hernandez hit a ground ball toward third base where Machado committed an uncharacteristic error. George Springer hit a single to right field, advancing Hernandez to third thanks to some smart base running by Hernandez. Alex Bregman struck out before Altuve laced an RBI single into left field. Correa completed the scoring in the top half of the inning with an RBI double to score Altuve, giving the Astros a 4-1 lead.
Once again, the Orioles responded. Keuchel made quick work of both J.J. Hardy and Francisco Pena before running into some trouble. Nolan Reimold doubled and then later scored on an Adam Jones single. Jones was originally called safe at second base, however the call was overturned after the Astros called for a challenge. The run would still count, however, making the score 4-2 heading into the sixth inning.
For the next two innings, the pitchers returned to form. Gallardo pitched through the seventh inning before ending his night. The Astros made one defensive substitution in the bottom of the seventh inning, bringing on Jake Marisnick for A.J. Reed. Keuchel continued to pitch into the eighth inning.
In the top of the eighth, the homers that littered the earlier part of the series showed up once again. Jake from State Farm drove a two out home run into left field, increasing the lead to 5-2. Keuchel would come out of the game in the bottom of the eighth after a 1-2-3 inning, ending his night with 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB and 7 Ks.
The Orioles would score one final run it the bottom of the ninth inning. Ken Giles came on in relief of Keuchel and gave up a solo shot to Trumbo. The game would end on a very, very close call at first base. Chris Davis would hit a dribbler to Altuve, who charged the ball and barely had enough time to throw it to first. Davis was called out by the tiniest of margins on the field, although Baltimore challenged the call. Upon review, the call was upheld with the score final at 5-3.
The Astros will look to continue their winning ways on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. CT. Doug Fister will open the three game set against the Pirates' Jameson Taillon.