HOUSTON - Manny Machado got the best revenge today on Astros starter Scott Feldman.
Machado, hit on the left elbow in his first at-bat, belted his first career grand slam in the sixth inning to give the Orioles a 9-1 lead.
The ball appeared to slam off the Lexus sign high above the left fields seats, increasing Machado’s RBI total from five to nine this season.
Machado stood on second base in the third inning when Feldman drilled Nelson Cruz on the left hand. We’re still waiting for an injury update, including results of the X-rays.
Cruz hit the Orioles’ other grand slam this season, on April 23 in Toronto.
David Lough began today with three RBIs on the season. He’s collected three today with a two-run homer in the second inning and a run-scoring single in the sixth.
The three RBIs today equal Lough’s career high. He has three multi-hit games this season, the most recent before today coming on April 24.
The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on singles by Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop. Hardy is 2-for-3 to raise his average to .307. Schoop is 3-for-3.
Lough followed with an RBI single to left and Nick Hundley flied to right, giving the Orioles a 5-1 lead. Astros right fielder George Springer made a nice running catch to rob Hundley and allow only one run to score.
Hundley collected his second RBI as an Oriole.
Markakis was walked intentionally to bring up Machado, who unloaded on Feldman, driving the former Oriole from the game.
The nine runs are the most by the Orioles since a 9-2 win in Pittsburgh on May 20.
Wei-Yin Chen has allowed one run and three hits in five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He’s thrown 84 pitches, 53 for strikes.
The only run off Chen came on Chris Carter’s two-out single in the fourth that scored Springer, who led off with a double.
Chen permitted five runs in each of his last two starts over 6 2/3 and five innings.
Each time Matt Wieters throws in the outfield, and we’re up to two whole sessions, manager Buck Showalter is going to be pressed for a timetable for the catcher’s possible return.
And Showalter isn’t going to have one.
Could Wieters be back on the active roster in two weeks?
“I would say that’s doubtful, but I’ve learned to never doubt somebody like Matt,” Showalter said. “I’ve seen the throwing program they have him on, which is basically the longest possible (time frame). I figure we have about four weeks before we have to come to the baptism.
“He could be in the middle of a three- or four-day stint somewhere and getting ready to play. I think we’ll be able to answer enough questions before we send him out. It’s an important decision not only for us, but for his career.”
The rotation now lines up as Ubaldo Jimenez, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez versus the Rangers, and Chen and Chris Tillman starting the first two games against the Athletics at Camden Yards.
Tillman will be working on six days rest.
“I wanted to give him a couple of work days and see if we can build on yesterday,” Showalter said. “He’s still not where he’s capable of being, but he’s getting closer.
“We’re trying to give everybody a little bit. We looked at the schedule and everything. We always look at the off-day and see where we are. We wanted to wait until Chris got through pitching yesterday, look at the teams we’re playing, where and what time.
“We have a thing we carry around. We don’t base our decisions on it, but it’s a tiebreaker - matchups and different stuff, who might need the rest, who would benefit from it, who would not benefit from it. Some guys don’t want to.
“If you kind of look at history, you’ll get a pretty good idea of why we did it this way. There’s only one history we couldn’t take advantage of. We try to satisfy the needs of the team and the pitchers.”
Showalter also told reporters that Tommy Hunter’s bullpen session today at Double-A Bowie “went well.”
“He felt great today,” Showalter added. “Threw breaking balls, changeups, fastballs.”
Hunter will meet the Orioles in Arlington and throw Tuesday for pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti.
“They’ll decide whether they think he’s ready to go out,” Showalter said. “He may fly back with us on Thursday or he may go pitch with a team on Thursday, so we’ll see.”
It still seems likely that Hunter will be activated on June 9, but it’s not definite.
“He won’t make the DL period,” Showalter said. “I kind of misspoke. The earliest he could throw a rehab game would be Thursday. He’d probably do it again on Saturday, so the first time we might see him is on a Monday, a week from tomorrow.”
Update: Chen was removed after 5 1/3 innings and 97 pitches with the Orioles leading 9-1. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out six.
Chen will improve to 6-2 with a 4.26 ERA if the Orioles hold onto the lead.