The Astros scored seven runs on eleven hits this Sunday afternoon, but it seemed like a tremendous letdown after last night’s 23 run explosion. Nonetheless, it was not a hitting letdown that lost the game today, but more than one unusually poor performance by a normally stellar pitching staff that contributed most to today’s loss.
Cy Young front-runner Justin Verlander did not have his Cy Young stuff today. He gave up a season leading nine hits in only five innings while allowing four earned runs. Six of the hits came on sliders or curves, both of which were not effective today according to Brooks Baseball. He did notch eleven strikeouts.
When Verlander left the game the Astros were behind 4 - 3, all their runs up to that point coming from a Carlos Corrrea three-run homer in the second inning.
Chris Devenski allowed the Orioles to pad their lead in the sixth when, with two outs, Jonathon Villar singled, Trey Mancini singled and then Anthony Santander ripped an RBI double.
Having won seven straight, and after last night’s demolition, there never seemed to be any doubt that this Astros team would pull out a win somehow despite being behind for most of the game. And in the top of the ninth that belief seemed confirmed.
The Astros scored three when Michael Brantley’s triple scored George Springer and Jose Altuve. Brantley scored when the right fielder’s throw slipped from his hand, enabling Brantley to make what appeared to be an inside the park home run.
With Roberto Osuna in to save a two run lead, the Astros juggernaut appeared unstoppable yet again. Although Osuna’s ERA since July 12th is 4.66, against the bottom of the Orioles lineup the game seemed in the bag.
However, the Orioles had different plans. Jace Peterson, a .254 hitter who had three hits today, led off with a double. Osuna then hit Chance Sisco, followed by a fielder’s choice grounder that sent Peterson to third base, from where he scored on a Chris Davis sacrifice fly.
Still the Astros led by a run with two outs and a runner on first. When Osuna got to a two strike count on weak hitting Astros farm product Rio Ruiz, it seemed all but over. Ruiz then took Osuna’s last pitch of the game way over the right field fence to give the Orioles the walk-off win, and salvage some dignity in this series after last night’s humiliation.
The Astro’s are not invincible.
Tomorrow the Astros travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox. Zack Greinke gets his second start of the season as an Astro against Dylan Cease.
Game time 7:10 CDT.
Box score and videos here.