A look at Colton Cowser's Houston homecoming (more on Friday's loss)

HOUSTON – Outfielder Colton Cowser is returning home this weekend as the Orioles play at Houston's Minute Maid Park. It’s a ballpark he has been in as both a fan and a player.

“Feels like home. Hot,” he said Friday afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse.

Born in Houston, Cowser still lives in the area. He attended Cypress Ranch High School in Cypress, Texas, about 26 miles northwest of Houston and led his team to the 6A state playoffs as a senior in 2018. He played his college ball at Sam Houston State, which is about 68 miles north of Houston.

A few local TV reporters wanted to talk with him yesterday ahead of the series opener. Cowser estimates he saw about 30 games in Minute Maid Park over the years.

“Lots of memories coming to this ballpark growing up," he said. "Came to a lot of games and really cool, really excited. My mom, talked to her last night and my parents are excited.

“Just going through my camera roll and found a picture of me, my mom and brother in the stands here when I was, probably, five years old. Just really cool to be able to look at that and where I am today as well.”

So, he’s got his own cheering section here this weekend.

“I think so. Family, of course, but some high school friends, college friends, lot of people,” Cowser said.

Cowser said that as a kid he was a fan of Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and the rest of the Astros' "Killer B's."

“That was a really good core there and a lot of fun to watch,” he said.

Cowser was asked by a Houston reporter about how playing on a very talented high school team prepared him for all that was still to come.

“Our school district was full of talent. Lots of it," he said. "That helped me learn about things from an early age. Just how competitive our team was and the school district was great. Really taught me how to be competitive and helped me get where I am today.”

Cowser, who was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter last night, played at Minute Maid Park as a college junior at Sam Houston in the Shriners College Classic.

About last night: The roller coaster ride was intense last night for the Orioles. They fell behind 2-0 early on and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth. A three-run homer put Houston ahead 5-3 in the last of the fifth, and after they scored nine runs in the sixth, Houston led 14-3.

Was an 11-run loss going to follow the 12-run win at New York from the day before?

As it turned out, no.

Not with the Orioles' relentless offense. After Gunnar Henderson hit a solo homer - his 23rd this year - in the seventh, the O's were 10 runs down. An inning later they hit three more home runs - including a second one from Henderson -scored seven runs and pulled to within three. 

Could they pull off this amazing comeback? They could not, but what a try they made with eight late runs.

The Orioles have scored 28 runs on 37 hits with nine doubles and seven homers the past two games. They have scored 35 runs the last three games and 51 the last six.

Anthony Santander hit his 20th homer last night. He has hit six in his past seven games and has 11 in 20 games in June. The last Oriole with 11 or more homers in a month - and the O's have nine more games this month - is Manny Machado, who hit 12 in August 2017. The club record for homers in one month is 15 by Jim Gentile in August 1961.

Tony Taters has a shot at Gentile's record.

With all those runs, it was too bad the O's had their poorest pitching night of the year. The staff's season high for runs allowed stood at 11 before Houston racked up 14 earned runs on Friday. The Orioles' team ERA, which led the American League at gametime last night, increased from 3.13 to 3.28.

Over the past four games, O's starters have allowed 16 runs over 18 innings as Grayson Rodriguez allowed seven runs in five innings Friday.

Houston's nine-run sixth was its biggest inning since the Astros had a 10-run outburst on June 17, 2022. At 36-40, Houston is within four games of .500 for the first time since April 12 (4-8).

Baltimore batters have now homered in 20 straight games to tie a club mark first set from July 17 to Aug. 9, 1998. The Orioles have hit 44 homers in those 20 games, going 13-7 and scoring 6.3 runs per game in this span. 

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