Orioles lose comforts of home and another game to Astros (with quotes)

The Orioles could have moved within 1 ½ games of first place in the American League East. They could have gained ground on the two teams ahead of them, salvaged a split of their four-game series with the Astros and reestablished some semblance of home dominance.

Except they didn’t and the concerns are mounting.

The defense buckled in the top of the fifth inning, contributing to three Astros runs, and the Orioles couldn’t properly counter in a 5-3 loss at Camden Yards.

Both teams endured a 4 hour, 5 minute rain delay before first pitch, and a 30-minute delay after a scoreless first inning. For the Orioles, it amounted to a highlight.

The Orioles went 1-3 against the Astros and 1-6 in the season series. They’re 67-56 overall and 40-22 at home, losing six of their last seven games at Camden Yards.

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Mark Trumbo hit his 37th home run with one out in the ninth, but the Orioles needed more. A do-over against the American League West would be nice. They’re 12-22 this season.

Yovani Gallardo threw seven pitches in the first inning before the rain returned. He threw 17 in the second and nine in the third while keeping the game scoreless, but Houston pushed across the go-ahead run in the fourth on J.A. Reed’s two-out RBI single following a walk to Yulieski Gurriel, who singled in his first major league at-bat.

The Orioles tied the game in the bottom half of Jonathan Schoop’s 19th home run, a shot to left-center field off Dallas Keuchel, but the Astros scored three runs in the fifth. Only two were earned.

No. 9 hitter Teoscar Hernandez reached on Manny Machado’s fielding error and George Springer singled. Alex Bregman struck out, but Jose Altuve singled to break the tie.

Carlos Correa followed with a line drive to right-center field and the ball deflected off Chris Davis’ glove, allowing two more runs to score. Davis appeared to lower his head at the last instant, as if he lost sight of the ball. The play was ruled a double.

Gallardo retired the last two batters and the Orioles retaliated in the bottom half with Adam Jones’ two-out single that scored Nolan Reimold, who doubled, but the center fielder was ruled out at second base upon review.

The reversed call was both costly and puzzling, since there didn’t appear to be a replay providing evidence that Jones failed to get back to the bag after breaking contact, and the review took only 55 seconds.

Gallardo allowed four runs (three earned) and seven hits in seven innings, the length tying his season high. He walked three, struck out three and threw 63 of 103 pitches for strikes.

Parker Bridwell, recalled today from Triple-A Norfolk, made his major league debut in the eighth inning and struck out the first batter he faced, Evan Gattis, on four pitches.

Bridwell retired pinch-hitter Tony Kemp on a liner to center field, but Jake Marisnick homered to left field to increase the lead to 5-2. Bridwell, sticking with the fastball/slider combo, retired Gonzalez on a tapper in front of the plate.

It was a tough situation for a rookie making his major league debut, but manager Buck Showalter must not have felt that he had the luxury of easing the right-hander into competition.

Bridwell came back out for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Hernandez, who was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Francisco Pena. Springer flied to left field and Bregman struck out.

Giles replaced Keuchel in the ninth and the Orioles dropped their third game in a row, with the Nationals waiting in the wings.

Update: Showalter appreciated Gallardo’s seven innings and Bridwell getting through the last two to save the bullpen. He’s pretty sure that he won’t need another roster move with Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart available Monday and perhaps Vance Worley and/or Ubaldo Jimenez also ready.

Here’s a Showalter sampling of quotes:

On Gallardo:

“Good. We really needed it, in a lot of ways. And hopefully to make us better the next few days. We needed some guys to stay away from again tonight with the short outings we’ve had. He was good. How many earned runs did he give up? Three? It was a good outing, especially considering the conditions.

“He started up in the bullpen at 1 o’clock and what’s the word of the year? Cell? Another one slid in and we were going to hit a little bit, so we backed off and the next thing you know it turned into 5:45. I thought we were going to be clear there and something popped up again. So, that’s a real impressive outing when you think about all of the elements. Of course, (Dallas) Keuchel was good, too.”

On 4 hour, 5 minute delay:

“I don’t know what would have happened if this wasn’t their last trip in here. We’ve gone down the road with playing on off days and stuff and that’s a challenge. We’re not the only team going through it. We both had the same conditions. I think about a lot of things. The umpires are traveling tomorrow, they’re traveling tonight but it’s not that long a trip (to Pittsburgh).

“I think about our grounds crew that stood out there in the rain for about 20 minutes or however long it was. They did a great job with the field. I was a little surprised they (Astros) were complaining some about the field. I thought it was in ... They do a great job. Nicole (McFadyen) is the best in the business.”

On Bridwell:

“Good. Real good. That’s one thing. We feel confident that Parker’s going to come out there firing. He’s going to say, ‘Here it is,’ and that’s why everybody kind of liked him, especially in a potential bullpen role. Made one pitch selection mistake. He sped up Marisnick and you never want to throw him that pitch. Ever. But it barely got out. He pitched well. We needed those two innings pitched.”

On Davis’ failure to catch liner:
“The ball was in the lights. Chris is a good right fielder and maybe our best right fielder. It got in the lights and he just had to guess where it was. He almost made a great play. Probably one of the few guys who would have got to that.”

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