HOUSTON – The Baltimore Orioles used timely hitting and huge ninth inning to get a win over the Houston Astros on Monday night.
Austin Hays hit a tiebreaking two-run homer during Baltimore’s five-run ninth, helping the Orioles top the Astros 9-7.
“We had a lot of guys on base; we had some big knocks," Hays said. “We just haven’t been able to get that big hit when we needed to, and it was nice to put some big swings on balls tonight."
Cedric Mullins opened the ninth with his third single for Baltimore. Hays then connected for his seventh homer, sending a drive to left against Brandon Bielak (2-3). Pedro Severino added a two-run double and scored on Ramon Urias' two-out double.
Houston got three back in the bottom half, scoring on RBI singles for Myles Straw and Robel Garcia before Jose Altuve delivered a sacrifice fly. But Adam Plutko got Michael Brantley to fly out to left, earning his first save.
“Any win right now is big for our team," manager Brandon Hyde said. “But to come out here and put up 15 hits against a really good team is big ... we’re very, very happy."
The Orioles rallied for the win on a night when their pitchers struggled with command. They issued 10 walks, including three with the bases loaded.
“That’s not the recipe to win against the Houston Astros or any other major league team," Hyde said.
Rookie Ryan Mountcastle homered and drove in three runs for Baltimore. Paul Fry (2-2) surrendered three runs in 1 1/3 innings, but got the win.
The Orioles looked better Monday than they did last week when the Astros outscored them 26-3 in a three-game sweep in Baltimore.
They’ve had a tough time in Houston in recent years. Monday was only the second time the Orioles had won at Minute Maid Park in 13 games since 2016.
The Astros, who entered the game leading the majors in runs, hits and batting average, struggled to string much together, going 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
“One week we’re picking all the runners up and this week we’re having problems, especially the double plays and strikeouts with runners in scoring position," manager Dusty Baker said.
Houston starter Zack Greinke allowed eight hits and three runs in five innings.
Orioles starter Thomas Eshelman, who allowed six runs in four innings in a loss to Houston last week, permitted five hits and two runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Baltimore grabbed a 3-2 lead on Mountcastle's two-run homer off Greinke in the fifth. It was his 14th of the season.
The Orioles added a run in the seventh when Hays scored on Ryan McKenna's infield out.
The Astros loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Hunter Harvey took over for Cole Sulser and retired Martín Maldonado and Altuve to end the threat.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa left in the ninth after being plunked on the right knee. Baker said he was OK and wanted to stay in but they wanted him to ice his knee immediately. ... 3B Alex Bregman, who has been out since June 18 with a strained left quadriceps, said he’s making progress, but that he still doesn’t have a timetable for his return. Asked if he’d be back before the All-Star break, he said: “probably not.” Bregman said he is running but is not yet throwing or swinging. “I just want to feel normal again physically for the first time in two years,” he said. “So we’re working on a lot of things, not only addressing the quad, but we’re working on full lower body, like alignment’s, stuff like that."
THEY SAID IT
The 37-year-old Greinke on being hurt by soft contact in recent games: “That’s just how it is nowadays for me. I just can’t will my way into striking guys out."
Right-hander José Urquidy (6-3, 3.32 ERA) will pitch for the Astros on Tuesday when the series continues. The Orioles have yet to name their starter.
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