HOUSTON - The Orioles lost another game last night on a walk-off, this time with catcher Chance Sisco holding up the ball and sprawled in front of the plate and the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel somehow able to touch it while disappearing from sight.
The latest defeat for the Orioles, their 44th in 63 games, didn’t come at the usual price on this trip.
No one dislocated a body part. Chalk outlines weren’t drawn on any walls. The Orioles, for at least one night, were safe on the road.
Stevie Wilkerson was drilled on the right arm by a 98 mph fastball from Gerrit Cole in the first inning and lived to tell about it. He shook his head, managed a smile and headed to first base.
The Astros are starting left-handers Framber Valdez and Wade Miley the next two days, and Pedro Severino should return to the lineup. He passed concussion tests Wednesday after taking a foul ball off the mask and telling plate umpire Brian O’Nora that he felt “a little weird.”
Severino is batting .366/.413/.780 in 46 plate appearances against left-handers, which should put Sisco on the bench through the weekend unless there’s a more favorable matchup later in the game.
Jonathan Villar also could be in the lineup for the first time since leaving Wednesday’s game with a sore right thumb. He indicated that he might need two days of recovery time before able to swing a bat again, but he pinch-hit last night in the 10th inning.
Núñez played first base on Thursday while Chris Davis moved to right field, and he could return to the infield if Mancini remains as the DH. Otherwise, they could switch roles, with Davis on the bench against Valdez.
Manager Brandon Hyde and pitching coach Doug Brocail will keep checking Andrew Cashner for any signs that the soreness in his hip has returned. They pushed him back to today rather than using him on his normal turn Thursday night.
DJ Stewart is still walking with a slight limp, but he’s more mobile than he appeared Thursday with his sprained right ankle heavily wrapped. He couldn’t avoid the 10-day injured list. His type of injury isn’t the day-to-day type.
“Every day’s been better,” he said. “It’s just something that I’ve got to take slowly, but it’s felt better every single day. The trainers are doing a good job with me.”
The injury could have been so much worse after Hanser Alberto slid into him as they pursued a fly ball. Alberto clipped the ankle and Stewart took a nasty spill on the track. But no damage to the knee and no broken bones.
“With the situation of our roster and having three guys all get hurt, you don’t want to play short anytime and put your team in that type of situation, so I anticipated that (the IL) was going to happen,” Stewart said.
“Whatever’s best for the team. Obviously, it’s disappointing that I can’t play, but hoping to get back as soon as possible and get back out there.”
Whether Stewart makes it back in 10 days will become more evident a little later. Like after 10 days.
“I don’t know,” he said. “You can take it day-by-day, but if we keep progressing like we are right now I think we’ll be fine.”
Stewart had the wrap removed for a while yesterday with no more risks of swelling.
“It’s just depending on the treatment that they want to do at the time,” he said.
The Orioles will make a corresponding roster move after optioning Branden Kline to Triple-A Norfolk. Kline took the loss after allowing Robinson Chirinos’ walk-off double and has been scored upon in his last five appearances, with six runs allowed in 4 2/3 innings.
The fastball was sizzling again, with Kline hitting the high 90s, but he’s taking it back to the International League.
Matt Wotherspoon was the only Norfolk reliever used last night. Jimmy Yacabonis is on the 40-man roster and hasn’t pitched since working an inning on Tuesday, but he’s allowed a run in three straight appearances and walked four batters in 4 1/3 innings. Tanner Scott worked 2 2/3 innings on Thursday.
Evan Phillips hasn’t allowed a run or hit in his last three outings over 3 2/3 innings and seems to be a logical choice. He hasn’t pitched since Wednesday.