The Baltimore Orioles scored four first-inning runs and capped a surprising three-game road series sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-2 victory on Wednesday.
Ryan Mountcastle’s two-run double sparked the big opening inning as the Orioles completed their first-ever sweep at Minute Maid Park. Baltimore entered the series having lost 22 of its past 23 road games.
Houston, despite sitting in first place in the American League West, has been swept by the lowly Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers this season.
The Orioles capped the win with Austin Hays’ eighth-inning solo homer off Astros left-hander Ryan Hartman, who was making his major league debut.
From the onset, the Astros had issues with the strike zone of plate umpire CB Bucknor, with Astros starter Luis Garcia (6-5) laboring through a 44-pitch first inning while yielding four runs.
Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini started the uprising with consecutive walks against Garcia. The walk to Mancini lured Astros pitching coach Brent Strom from the dugout, and as he met with Garcia, Strom began to protest after Bucknor joined the mound conference, earning an ejection.
Garcia continued to scuffle, surrendering Mountcastle’s two-run double, another walk, an RBI single by Maikel Franco and a sacrifice fly by Pedro Severino for a 4-0 deficit. The Severino fly ball to left was the first of 10 consecutive batters that Garcia would retire, but the damage was already done.
Garcia allowed just one additional hit before departing after four innings, having yielded four runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Garcia threw 93 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Orioles right-hander Matt Harvey had an inverted experience, retiring the first nine batters he faced on just 32 pitches. Yet despite that rousing start, Harvey didn’t last long enough to earn the win. He allowed run-scoring singles to Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker in the fourth inning and departed after walking Jason Castro and Jose Altuve in succession with one out in the fifth.
Left-handed reliever Tanner Scott (3-3) recorded the most critical outs for Baltimore, stranding Castro and Altuve to preserve the two-run lead in the fifth before striking out the side — Alvarez, Carlos Correa and Tucker — in the sixth.
Paul Fry fired 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and Cole Sulser blanked the Astros for 1 2/3 innings to log his third save.
–Field Level Media