HOUSTON – Cedric Mullins homered among his four hits, Austin Hays and Maikel Franco had three RBIs each, and the Baltimore Orioles broke open the game late and cruised to a 13-3 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The game was tied with two outs in the seventh inning when Ryne Stanek replaced Ralph Garza Jr. (0-2) and Mullins greeted him with an RBI double to put the Orioles on top 4-3.
Manager Brandon Hyde raved about Mullins.
“He’s on base a lot and making things happen," Hyde said. “Unbelievable game again. When he plays well, we have a good chance. And he’s playing well in wins and losses right now."
Anthony Santander added a solo homer in a five-run eighth to help the Orioles to their second victory over the Astros after being swept by them at home last week.
“The biggest thing we’ve been doing is passing the torch creating opportunities for guys to score some runs," Mullins said. “Guys have been coming up big in big spots."
It was a game during which the teams combined to use nine relievers after Baltimore starter Travis Lakins and Houston’s José Urquidy both left in the second inning with injuries. Houston utilityman Robel Garcia made his first career pitching appearance in the ninth and was tagged for four runs on two-run homers by Ramón Urías and Austin Wynns.
“It’s very difficult and nobody wants to go out there and lose a game like that," Houston's Jose Altuve said. “But it’s part of the game. We’ve just got to come back tomorrow and forget about tonight’s game."
Santander got things going in the eighth when he connected for his homer with one out. The bases were loaded later in the inning when Franco smacked a double that bounced off the wall in center field to send everyone home and push the lead to 8-3.
Hays wrapped up the big inning with an RBI single with two outs.
Abraham Toro drove in three runs for the Astros, who have dropped three in a row and four of five following an 11-game winning streak.
“They’re getting the breaks this series that we were getting the last series against them," manager Dusty Baker said. “I guess it’s their turn to get the breaks."
Mullins hit his fourth leadoff homer this season on the game’s second pitch.
Urquidy yielded one hit and one run before leaving with one out in the second inning with discomfort in his right shoulder.
Australian rookie Alexander Wells (1-0) allowed four hits and two runs in 2 2/3 innings in his first major league win in his second game.
“I’m just taking confidence in every time I go to the mound," he said. “It’s good knowing that my stuff can play at this level. I’m having some success at the level and enjoying it."
Dillon Tate pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for his first save.
Lakins gave up one hit and one run with three walks in 1 2/3 innings before leaving with right elbow discomfort in his first start since 2019 with Boston in a bullpen game for the Orioles.
There were two outs in the fifth when Hays singled on a line drive to left field to score two and put the Orioles up 3-1.
Toro had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the second and drove in two runs with an RBI single in the fifth to tie it at 3.
Orioles: Hyde said they'd know more about the injury to Lakins on Wednesday after he had an MRI.
Astros: Baker said he didn't have any more details on Urquidy's injury and that he'd see a doctor Wednesday. ... RHP Bryan Abreu (strained left calf) allowed one hit and no runs with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings in his second rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday night. ... RHP Josh James, who has been out all season recovering from hip surgery, allowed one hit in one scoreless inning in his second rehabilitation game for Single-A Fayetteville on Tuesday night.
First lady Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, were at Minute Maid Park to visit a COVID-19 vaccination event hosted by the Astros.
The two toured the pop-up clinic that was part of Major League Baseball’s “Vaccinate at the Plate” program and spoke to several people as they received their vaccines or waited after getting their shots. People who received the vaccine Tuesday night got two free tickets to an Astros game and a replica 2017 World Series ring.
Biden spoke to one man who wore his ring and she was asked what it was afterward.
“He had a ring because they won the ...,” she said before trailing off and looking to Emhoff to finish the sentence.
Emhoff smirked before speaking of Houston’s World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that has since been tainted after the Astros were found to have cheated by stealing signs that season.
“Well, they beat my team in 2017,” he said. “But that’s OK.”
Biden and Emhoff watched part of the game with members of the military and front-line workers after the event.
Baltimore’s Matt Harvey (3-9, 7.54 ERA) will oppose Luis Garcia (6-4, 2.83) when the Orioles try to complete the sweep Wednesday night.
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