Correa finishes O's after Astros' brilliant relief
By Brian McTaggart and Brittany Ghiroli
HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa snapped an 0-for-15 slump by hitting a line-drive single to center field with the bases loaded in the 13th inning to score Tony Kemp, who had led off the inning with a triple, to send the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Six Astros relievers combined to hold the Orioles scoreless for 7 1/3 innings as Houston pitchers combined to strike out 19 batters, which is third most in club history. The Astros snapped a four-game losing streak.
"This was a good one," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We needed something to go our way a little bit, and the way the game went from our bullpen, to our late-inning sort of grind, it was a good team win. We did a lot of things right today. We didn't get a ton started early in the game, but we hung in there. Our pitching did a great job against that team to hold them in check and give us a chance to win late."
Orioles starter Chris Tillman worked seven strong innings and allowed only a two-run home run to Luis Valbuena in the fifth inning that put the Astros ahead, 2-1. For the Astros, that was their first lead since beating the White Sox, 5-3, in Chicago on Wednesday.
Astros starter Doug Fister came one out shy of his seventh consecutive quality start by holding the Orioles to two runs and three hits in 5 ⅔ innings. Both runs came off leadoff homers -- Pedro Alvarez in the fifth and Manny Machado in the sixth.
"You watched it, we struck out a lot and didn't score any runs," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the loss, which drops Baltimore to 2-2 on its current three-city road trip. "You saw two good teams pitching real well tonight. I'd like to think that. But you still would like to figure out a way to scratch some runs across and make use of a real good outing by our pitching staff."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bullpen mows 'em down: After Fister left with two outs in the sixth inning, six Astros relievers kept the Orioles scoreless the rest of the way. Tony Sipp retired all four batters he faced, and Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson and Will Harris each threw an inning before Scott Feldman tossed two scoreless innings, stranding runners at second in the 11th and 12th. Michael Feliz struck out the side in the 13th, as Astros relievers tied a franchise record with 16 strikeouts (April 25, 1962).
"[With] the day off yesterday, it's kind of a perfect scenario for a game like this," Harris said. "We had a fresh 'pen and guys went in there and executed pitches." More >
K-O'ing the O's: The Orioles struck out 19 times, 12 of which came from the ninth inning on. The punchouts continuously spoiled potential rallies, with Joey Rickard's strikeout in the ninth inning a prime example. Adam Jones and Chris Davis struck out to end the top of the 12th and leave runners on first and second. More >
Kemp comes up in clutch: Kemp, a rookie making only his fourth Major League start, sparked the Astros in the 13th with a leadoff triple over the head of Orioles center fielder Jones. Kemp was in an 0-for-9 funk, including 0-for-3 prior to his 13th-inning at-bat.
"You dream about stuff like that," Kemp said. "Being a part of a win like that, especially a walk-off win, our guys stayed in the game the whole time and we stayed positive, and in that 13th inning we were able to get that hit and get that run and get that win and hopefully tomorrow we can come back and do the same thing." More >
Tillman solid: The O's righty turned in his career-high seventh consecutive quality start. Tillman allowed three hits and both runs on Valbuena's homer. He struck out five.
"I feel like tonight we got pretty fortunate early -- a lot of hard-hit balls right at guys," Tillman said. "Fortunately we were able to work our way around that and navigate it. It's been good. I feel like I've been throwing the ball well. They just had that one big inning off me."
"I'm thinking, 'This is great. This is where it is. I'm going to end this.' That's the mentality I have. I was visualizing us celebrating after my at-bat. Good it happened. It's really good it happened." -- Correa, on winning hit
"We are working our way into a good count where it looks like we are able to get a base hit or walk and just can't finish the at-bat off where we were earlier in the year. Some of that is them. Some of that is us. We are letting them expand the strike zone and that's what pitchers up here do. No one pitches in the strike zone consistently." -- Showalter, on his team striking out 40 times over the past three games
Astros center fielder Colby Rasmus was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing a called third strike. More >
FROM THE TRAINING ROOM
Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo (biceps tendinitis) will throw a simulated game on Saturday in Cleveland that will likely be around two innings. He will probably have to throw another three- or four-inning sim game before going out on rehab assignment.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Rookie Tyler Wilson will take the mound for his first career start against the Astros on Wednesday night. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA on the season.
Astros: The Astros will send right-hander Collin McHugh (4-4, 5.13 ERA) to the mound in Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. CT game at Minute Maid Park against the Orioles. He is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA in his last five starts.