O's game blog: The series and homestand finale

After their gut-punch loss on Saturday night, it’s a quick turnaround for the Orioles today as they try to erase that memory and win this afternoon to take the series from the now 100-win Houston Astros.

When Anthony Santander hit his second homer of the game – a two-run shot in the last of the eighth – the Orioles had taken a 9-7 lead. But that lead would not hold. Houston’s four-run ninth led the Astros to an 11-10 win. Houston improved to 100-53 by winning for the fifth time in seven games, 11th in 14 and 19th time in the past 25 games.

Houston has become the first club in American League history to reach 100 wins four times in the span of five full seasons, per Elias Sports Bureau. And Dusty Baker is one of four managers in MLB history to win 100 games with a team in both leagues (also: Sparky Anderson, Whitey Herzog and Tony LaRussa). Their 100 wins ties a franchise record for most wins in the first 153 games of a season (also: 2019). Houston recorded its 28th comeback win and this marked their third game of the season surrendering 10-or-more runs (last: 5/14 at WSH, 13).

The Orioles (79-72) now have 11 games remaining. They lost ground Saturday to both Seattle and Toronto in the wild card race. They are four games behind Seattle, 4 1/2 back of Tampa Bay and 5 1/2 behind Toronto, which holds the first AL wild card today.

The Orioles had their streak of 22 scoreless innings pitched snapped with Jose Altuve’s two-run home run in the third inning. Baltimore scored five runs in the fourth inning, their 11th time scoring at least five in an inning this season. They fell to 58-2 when leading after six innings and are now 21-24 in one-run games. The O’s 17 hits is their most in a loss since Aug. 10, 2018 versus Boston, when they also had 17. Six different O’s tallied multi-hit games, the second-most in a game this year (8/19 vs. Boston, 7).

On the mound today will be right-hander Austin Voth (5-3, 2.84 ERA with the Orioles), making his 16th Baltimore start. The Orioles are 10-5 in those games. Since Aug. 12, Voth is 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA, allowing a .221 batting average and .640 OPS over 36 1/3 innings. On Aug. 28 at Houston, Voth allowed just one hit and one run versus the Astros over six innings, throwing 94 pitches that afternoon.

Houston right-hander Cristian Javier (10-9, 2.77 ERA) gets the ball for the visitors. For the year he has thrown 136 2/3 innings, allowing 86 hits with a 0.995 WHIP and allowing 1.1 homers per nine. His walk rate is 3.3 and his K rate is 11.8.

He has been dominant his past two starts against Detroit and Tampa Bay, throwing 11 scoreless innings of three-hit ball with four walks and 14 strikeouts. Those teams went a combined 3-for-35 (.086) against him with a .265 OPS.

In 11 games in the second half, Javier is 4-4 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.926 WHIP. For the season, lefties bat just .202 with a .636 OPS against him and right-handers are hitting .148/.521. So yeah, pretty strong stats.

Monday night’s win in St. Petersburg against Tampa Bay clinched the AL West Division for the Astros, marking their second straight division title and fifth in the last six seasons. The magic number to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs is four for Houston. The Astros 16-6 (.727) record in September is tops in MLB.

The O's have gone 4-2 against the Astros this season, including three shutouts. Baltimore has clinched a season series victory over Houston for the first time since 2014, when they went 4-3. Since the two teams first met in 2003, the Orioles have never won five games against the Astros in a single season.

The Orioles have gone 11-11 in their first 22 games in September. They need to go 3-3 in their remaining six games to clinch a .500 month, and at least 4-2 to clinch their fourth consecutive winning month after going 17-10 in August, 16-9 in July and 14-12 in June. The last time the Orioles had four consecutive winning months was June (16-12), July (17-8), August (19-9) and September (17-10) of 2014.

Baltimore needs to go at least 3-8 in its final 11 games to clinch its first winning season since 2016 (89-73). They need to go 2-9 to clinch a .500 record.






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