'Frustrating' stretch, but O's take K's in stride

'Frustrating' stretch, but O's take K's in stride

HOUSTON -- The one-dimensional Orioles lineup everyone feared showed up on Wednesday night as a powerful Baltimore lineup struck out 19 times in the series-opening 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Astros.

"We have a team that drives the ball, and the opposite of driving the ball is strikeouts," said center fielder Adam Jones, who was one of six players with multiple strikeouts on the night. "We got some guys, myself, [Chris Davis], [Mark] Trumbo, we strike out from time to time. It's OK. I think people are happy with how we drive the ball and the numbers we put up. It's just part of the game. We try to get a pitch to hit and drive it.

"Just looking at the last few games, we racked up some strikeouts, but it's all part of it because as soon as we start to drive in runs or get extra-base hits, you guys are going to forget all about it."

Baltimore's lineup, which has spent most of the season's first two months working solid at-bats and showing improved patience at the plate, has fallen into a bit of a funk with 40 strikeouts over the past three games.

"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," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his team, which is tied for the Major League lead with 65 homers. "Some of that is them. Some of that is us."

On Wednesday, the K's got in the way of several potential rallies, as every member of the starting lineup struck out at least once, with three players -- Davis, Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez -- fanning three times apiece.

Twelve of the Orioles' strikeouts came from the ninth inning on as the O's had no answer for the Astros' bullpen following starter Doug Fister's 5 2/3 innings and three strikeouts. Astros relievers tied a franchise record with 16 strikeouts, last accomplished April 25, 1962.

There were plenty of examples to go around, though Joey Rickard's three-pitch strikeout with the bases loaded in the ninth and Jones and Davis punching out back-to-back to strand a pair of runners in the 12th were two of the bigger spots.

"The thing is, we know ourselves and they always say do what you do best," Jones said. "What we do best is tee high, let it fly. sometimes we tee high, let it fly and swing at everything low. But it's part of it.

"It's frustrating, I'm sure the fans are frustrated, but it's part of our makeup and part of our DNA as a team. I think we just need to get better as a team, just situational. Just take the single, instead of trying to do too much, which is not that easy."

Added catcher Matt Wieters: "You got to give credit to the guy on the other mound, they are making pitches and we are missing some pitches we can hit. But that turns around with one swing."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.