Houston is handed another tough loss

Urquidy exits early with injury as Orioles feast on struggling Astros bullpen

Houston's bullpen could not keep Baltimore off the scoreboard on Tuesday. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss in the opener against the Orioles, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday to try and even the series and still get in line for a potential series win. Instead, after an early exit by Jose Urquidy, things went from bad to worse for Houston as their bullpen would watch Baltimore hand them a lopsided loss.

Final Score: Orioles 13, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 48-32, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Alexander Wells (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ralph Garza Jr. (0-2)

Urquidy exits early with an injury

In disappointing news for the Astros, their starter Jose Urquidy not only gave up a solo homer to start his night, but he would also get one out into the second before leaving with an apparent injury. Houston would turn to Andre Scrubb to make the emergency entrance from the bullpen, and he was able to finish the second and the third and fourth, all while keeping Baltimore to their one run. Houston was able to tie the game in the bottom of the second, getting a runner to third to set up a sac fly by Abraham Toro. They went on to load the bases with two outs but would leave all three runners stranded and the game tied 1-1.

Astros tie, Orioles jump back in front late

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever in the top of the fifth, and he would watch the Orioles jump back in front with a two-out two-RBI single to make it 3-1. The Astros responded with a two-run inning of their own in the bottom half, putting two on base to set up a two-RBI single for Toro to give him three on the night and tie the game.

Ralph Garza Jr. took over in the top of the sixth for Houston, retiring the side in order before continuing in the seventh. The Orioles would retake the lead against him the next inning, converting a leadoff single with a two-out RBI double. Ryne Stanek came in for the third out of that inning, then in the top of the eighth allowed a solo homer to make it a two-run game, then a bases-clearing double to make it 8-3.

Houston drops another to give Baltimore the series win

Blake Taylor came in to try and stop the bleeding, but he too would allow a run, making it 9-3 before it was all said and done. Houston then ceded to use a position player, Robel Garcia, in the top of the ninth, who allowed two two-out two-run homers to make it 13-3. That score would go final, in another disappointing loss where the Astros' pitching could not string together enough success to hold an opposing offense at bay.

Up Next: The series finale between the Astros and Orioles will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Wednesday. Houston will look to Luis Garcia (6-4, 2.83 ERA) to try and salvage a win in the series, while Baltimore will send Matt Harvey (3-9, 7.54 ERA) to the mound.

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A new hotel is in the works near Minute Maid. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Astros owner Jim Crane says the team is ready to break ground on a major construction project that will include a hotel and entertainment complex across the street from Minute Maid Park as soon as the 2023 baseball season wraps up – hopefully with another World Series parade in downtown Houston.


But another hotel? Another entertainment complex? More construction downtown? My first reaction was, how much more does Houston need? I remember when the Super Bowl was held in Houston in 2004, clubs and restaurants sprung up downtown practically overnight, only to disappear virtually the morning after. When it came to downtown development, the expression “less is more” turned out true. At least that Super Bowl.

I asked my contacts in government and the Houston welcome wagon, is this a good idea, building a hotel and entertainment complex next door to Minute Maid Park? Do we need it? Can we sustain it?

The answer every time was a resounding yes! For a couple of reasons: first, downtown Houston, coming out of Covid, is booming, leadership is creative and budget-minded these days, and most important, if Jim Crane is behind the idea, you can trust it’ll work. The guy’s got a track record.

“In 2004, the idea was to turn downtown’s Main Street into Bourbon Street. Is that what we really want? It was a misguided plan, the wrong philosophy, and businesses opened and closed in short order,” a source told me.

It was a different story when the Super Bowl returned to Houston in 2017. This time Houston saw the Marriott Marquis, a 1,000-room hotel complete with an iconic Texas-shaped swimming pool, open in time for the tourist onslaught. Also, Avenida Houston greeted downtown visitors with new restaurants and entertainment venues. Both the Marriott and Avenida Houston have continued to thrive long after the Super Bowl left town.

“We want our downtown to attract visitors while providing services for the growing number of singles and families who are making their home downtown. As we continue to host major events and conventions, there will be a need for more hotel rooms,” the source said.

The Astros’ plan to build a sprawling hotel and entertainment complex originally was discussed in 2021 but was put on hold due to Covid. Now Crane and the Astros are ready to come out swinging. Similar complexes operate successfully next to the baseball stadium in St. Louis, Chicago and other cities.

An Astros-themed hotel adjacent to Minute Maid Park is particularly intriguing. The lobby could be home to an Astros museum and team Hall of Fame. Rooms and restaurants could be decorated in honor of Astros legends – the “Nolan Ryan honeymoon suite,” or “Strech Suba’s Bullpen Bar and Grille.” There could be meeting space for autograph and memorabilia shows. There could be a broadcast facility for post-game interviews and analysis. And maybe one day, fingers crossed, a betting parlor like the Cubs have at Wrigley Field.

The Astros have a contract to play at Minute Maid Park through 2050 – the only long-term contract that doesn’t make Crane cringe. Anything that enhances the fan experience and generates revenue is good for the team and the city. I might even consider going downtown on non-game nights.

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