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Astros Bats Wake Up too Late. Fall to Orioles 9-7

Ninth inning rally falls short.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The formula that won the Astros eleven straight games is no more, at least since Friday.

That is:

  1. Stellar starting pitching
  2. Mashing by the lineup
  3. Keep the game out of the hands of the bullpen

1. Tonight’s starter, Zack Greinke, left the game after the fifth inning behind after allowing three runs.

2. Meanwhile, the Astros managed to score only four runs before the ninth inning, three of the four RBI from walks, the other on a sac fly. The Astros worked ten walks. but had only seven hits, were 2-13 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.

3. And as anyone who has followed the Astros much this year would expect, the bullpen was once again unable to keep the game close, especially with the decision to rest Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly after being overworked in Detroit.

Nonetheless, the Astros put up a fight in the ninth inning to make the game close after being down by five runs going into the final frame.

The Orioles began the scoring with a run in the third inning after Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, and Ryan Mountcastle hit consecutive singles against Greinke, all with two outs.

The Astros took a brief lead in the fourth with a Yordan Alvarez walk followed by a Carlos Correa bloop single to center that sent Alvarez to third. Alvarez scored on a Kyle tucker sac fly. With two outs Robel Garcia singled, Martin Maldonado walked, sending Thomas Eshelman to the showers.

His relief, Cole Sulser promptly walked Jose Altuve, scoring Carlos Correa.

But the Orioles re-took the lead in the fifth on a Ryan Mountcastle two-run homer off Greinke with two outs.

The O’s added another run in the seventh when Blake Taylor, with one out, allowed two singles and a walk, and then Ryan McKenna just barely beat out a grounder to avoid a double play and score Austin Hays.

The Astros tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with the help of a Michael Brantley lead-off single and four walks. Perhaps the best at-bat of the night for the Astros was Kyle Tucker’s walk. After a 2-2 count Tucker fouled off three tough Tanner Scott sliders and watched two others for balls to score Brantley. A walk to Myles Straw by Scott scored Gurriel to tie the score.

Tyler Wells came in to strike out Robel Garcia and Martin Maldonado to keep the score tied.

The Orioles put the game away in the ninth. Brandon Bielak, who looked unhittable in the eighth, allowed five runs, the big shot a two-run homer by Austin Hays.

The Astros made a little noise in the ninth when with one-out Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch, followed by a single from Kyle Tucker, an RBI single by Myles Straw, and a Robel Garcia RBI single.

This chased Paul Fry, bringing in the Oriole closer Ryan Plutko to face pinch-hitter Jason Castro, who walked on four pitches, loading the bases for Jose Altuve and the score at 9-6. Altuve’s sac fly scored the seventh run, but Michael Brantley popped out to end the game.

The formerly red-hot top of the Astros order has suddenly turned frigid. Tonight batters 1-5 in the order were only 3-20, following a trend that started in Saturday’s doubleheader in Detroit.

Box Score and videos HERE.