Houston can't complete the comeback

Astros suffer disappointing loss to Orioles in opener

Astros' Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke had an uncharacteristically poor start against Baltimore on Monday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

Zack Greinke had an uncharacteristically poor start against Baltimore on Monday.

Having split a four-game series against Detroit to end their recent road trip, the Astros returned home for a quick three-game set against the Orioles to try and start a new winning streak. They would be unable to do that, though, instead dropping a disappointing loss to one of the weaker teams in the MLB to start this series.

Final Score: Orioles 9, Astros 7

Astros' Record: 48-31, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Paul Fry (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (2-3)

Greinke surprisingly struggles against Baltimore

After two scoreless innings on both sides, Baltimore would get the best of Zack Greinke in the top of the third to score the game's first run, notching three consecutive two-out singles to go up 1-0. Houston countered with a two-run fourth, sending eight batters to the plate with a sac fly by Kyle Tucker and RBI bases-loaded walk by Jose Altuve to go up 2-1, though leaving the bases loaded to end the frame.

That would prove pivotal, as in the top of the fifth, Baltimore would get a leadoff single that would turn into a go-ahead two-run homer to put them back in front 3-2 off Greinke. He would get the third out but go no further, making his final line 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 96 P.

Houston's come back comes short in disappointing loss to O's

After Greinke's five innings, Andre Scrubb, recently recalled from AAA and making his first appearance since May 30th, erased a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Blake Taylor was next out of Houston's bullpen, loading the bases with one out on two singles and a walk before Baltimore would extend their lead to 4-2 on an RBI groundout. Houston was able to load the bases again in the bottom of the seventh with one out, and Kyle Tucker would make it a one-run game with an RBI walk, his second RBI of the night. Myles straw did the same in the next at-bat, tying the game, but the next two batters would strikeout to leave the game tied and all three runners on base, leaving Houston wishing they had done more.

Brandon Bielak kept it a tied game with a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, as Houston as well went down in order in the bottom half. Bielak returned to the mound in the top of the ninth, but after a leadoff single allowed a two-run go-ahead homer to put Baltimore back in front 6-4. He later allowed two more runs on a two-RBI double before Houston would bring in Ralph Garza Jr., who also allowed a run on a two-out RBI double to make it 9-4 before the inning would come to a lengthy close. Houston made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, getting three runs on RBI singles by Myles Straw, Robel Garcia, and a sac fly by Jose Altuve, but would ultimately come short of the comeback to earn the disappointing loss to the Orioles to start the series.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. While the Astros have Jose Urquidy (6-3, 3.32 ERA) slated to start, the Orioles have not yet announced their starter.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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