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There were times it seemed the 2019 Astros would rewrite everything in the franchise record book. Besides most wins in a season, there were two no-hitters, a Cy Young Award season, a new strikeout king, and, on August 10th in Baltimore, a new club mark for runs scored and largest margin of victory.
The 38-77 Orioles had almost an inverse record from the 76-40 Astros as they hosted Houston at Camden Yards for a Saturday twilight game. Aaron Sanchez, fresh from his six innings of no-hit performance the previous outing, took the mound already ahead by three runs and it just got better from there.
Alex Bregman started the scoring with a two-run homer to left off Aaron Brooks. Then rookie Yordan Alvarez unleashed his own long ball into the crowd in right for a 3-0 lead.
Alvarez was an international free agent who came from Cuba and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the 2016 trade deadline, the Dodgers dealt the raw prospect to the Astros for reliever Josh Fields. As Alvarez filled out and honed his skills, he began destroying minor league pitching and continued to devastate pitchers once he arrived in the majors.
In the second, the Astros pushed across five more runs, keyed by an RBI double by Bregman and a two-run homer to left by Jose Altuve. In the third, Carlos Correa mashed a homer over both bullpens in left center - an estimated 474-ft moonshot, one of the longest in Camden Yards history. That boosted the Houston advantage to 9-1.
After a break in the fourth, Houston resumed the onslaught in the fifth. An RBI single by Correa and an RBI double from Yuli Gurriel against Branden Kline preceded a two-run, two-out double by George Springer, pushing the margin to 13-1. Sanchez stayed around long enough for the win but he was pulled after five innings allowing just one run on three hits. There was no point wasting his arm any longer in the blowout.
A double play grounder pushed across the 14th Houston tally before the Spacemen put their ship in overdrive. Against South African righthander Tayler Scott in the seventh, Altuve smacked a two-out RBI single to left before Jake Marisnick singled home Springer. After Aledmys Diaz singled to fill the bases, Alvarez launched a rocket out toward Eutaw Street for a grand slam and a 20-1 lead.
Former Astros draft choice Rio Ruiz gave the Baltimore fans who stayed one good memory with his first big league homer. It came off Joe Smith in the seventh.
For the ninth, Baltimore raised the white flag by sending outfielder Stevie Wilkerson to the hill to pitch. The Astros showed him no mercy. Altuve doubled for his third hit before Diaz blooped a single to drive him in. That was Diaz' third hit despite sitting out the first half of the game. Alvarez then waited on a floating changeup before depositing it into right field stands one final time. It was his third homer (17th overall) with seven RBIs on the night. That gave him 51 RBIs in his first 45 big league games, breaking the mark held by the legendary Ted Williams.
When the dust settled, the Astros had a new single-game club record for runs (23), winning margin (21) and extra-base hits (13). They tied the club record for hits in a game (25) and finished one dinger short of the franchise record for home runs in a game (6).
Alvarez would go on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award, finishing with a .313 average, 27 homers and 78 RBIs.
Bregman: Starts the scoring
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Jose Altuve celebrates his homer.
(c) Associated Press
BALTIMORE - A mound visit was made for reasons unknown to anyone who watched this annihilation. Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail bounded to counsel Tayler Scott, the latest Orioles hurler humiliated by Houston.
What could conceivably be said? How do you reset anyone on a record-setting night of futility? It was the seventh inning. The Astros led by 14 runs. Franchise records were nearing extinction and the hottest hitter of Houston's hammering lineup awaited whatever came of this farcical gathering.
Yordan Alvarez ambled to the batter's box. Scott started the slugger with a sinker and followed with a slider. The breaking pitch hung. Alvarez attacked.
The Astros' revolutionary rookie launched his first career grand slam, sending the Astros past 20 runs on this crushing night at Camden Yards.
Alvarez finished with three home runs - hammering another in the ninth off Orioles center fielder Stevie Wilkerson's softball-style offering to complete this 23-2 embarrassment.
A day after appearing lethargic against the barren Baltimore pitching staff, the Astros applied a beating befitting of both clubs. They swung in a manner that suggested they could name the score, totaling a franchise record 23 runs. They matched another club high with 25 hits. Their 12 extra-base hits broke a record set in 2001.
All of Alvarez's home runs landed dangerously close to Eutaw Street beyond the right field concourse. Carlos Correa lifted the longest home run Statcast has ever measured at Camden Yards in the third, only beginning this beating.
Ten different Astros struck hits. Five had three-hit efforts. Yuli Gurriel gave a four-hit night for the fourth time in his major league career.
Houston hit six home runs. It upped Baltimore's season total to 240. Nineteen more and the staff will set a major league record.
By the fifth inning, the Astros struck 12 balls in play 100 mph or harder.
Eight of their first 13 hits in that span garnered extra bases. Neither Michael Brantley nor Alex Bregman emerged to play defense in the home-half, sparing Baltimore any further ignominy from the magnificent middle of Houston's order.
Their two replacements, Aledmys Diaz and Jake Marisnick, added five total hits.
In a season and homestand full of embarrassing, frustrating defeats for the Orioles, the Houston Astros surpassed perhaps all measures Saturday at Camden Yards.
The Orioles lost 23-2, surrendering a score of runs for the first time since their infamous 30-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in 2007.
Through five games in a stretch of 13 straight against playoff hopefuls, they are winless and have been outscored 58-16. With another game against Houston looming before a doubleheader with the New York Yankees on Monday, it did not take long for manager Brandon Hyde to begin thinking ahead.
"In the third inning, probably, I was planning, 'How am I going to finish this game?'" Hyde said. "And somehow, we finished it."
But not before the Astros (77-40) set franchise records with 23 runs and 13 extra-base hits, with their 25 total hits tying the team record. Houston scored nine runs behind four home runs in the first three innings, but their biggest frame was a six-run seventh featuring a Yordan Alvarez grand slam, one of the rookie's three home runs.
Even as the Orioles (38-78) have stormed toward the major league record for home runs allowed while posting baseball's worst ERA as a staff, they had yet to have a night like Saturday. Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini dismissed the idea that such games are a part of rebuilding.
"That really can't be your mindset," Mancini said. "Obviously, we've lost a lot more than we've won the past couple years, and we've had flashes of good times this year, such as July. Things were kind of trending up, and August has obviously gotten off to a tough start."
"This is big-boy league. We've played some really good teams so far, and it hasn't been a good homestand for us. But that's a loser's mentality right there, to think that you're going to be taking a beating, so you can't come to the park expecting that."
The numbers of the defeat are staggering, and not even Stevie Wilkerson's return to the mound for the final 1 1/3 innings could slow down the Astros' offensive onslaught.
For the 62nd time, the Orioles allowed multiple home runs, a major league record for a team’s first 116 games. They set the mark in the first inning, with Alex Bregman and Alvarez going back to back off Aaron Brooks.474
With the Astros already leading 8-1 in the third, shortstop Carlos Correa hit the longest home run at Camden Yards since Statcast began tracking in 2015. The solo shot off Brooks had a projected distance of 474 feet, surpassing Manny Machado's 465-foot blast June 2, 2017, and sailed over both of Oriole Park's bullpens in left-center field, bouncing into Legends Park.
Add in Jose Altuve taking Brooks deep in the second, and the Baltimore right-hander allowed four home runs. It marked the seventh time an Orioles pitcher gave up at least four home runs in one outing, setting another dubious major league record for the pitching staff. Brooks finished with nine runs allowed in three innings and has a 9.41 ERA in six starts for the Orioles.
"Just ran into a good offense and didn't execute pitches and had a few things not go my way," he said. "That's sometimes how it happens."
The six home runs allowed in the game left the Orioles only 18 home runs shy of the 2016 Cincinnati Reds' record for most home runs allowed in a season. They have surrendered 22 home runs in their past five games, even after giving up none in Friday's 3-2 loss. Alvarez finished with seven runs driven in for 51 RBIs this season, the most for any player in his first 45 career games. Ted Williams previously held the record with 47 RBIs.
Making his fourth career pitching appearance and the first since becoming the first position player in major league history to earn a save, Wilkerson was one out from having a career 1.69 ERA before the Astros struck for three more runs on an Aledmys Diaz RBI single and Alvarez's third homer. Wilkerson's ERA rose to 6.75.
"It's tough to see," Mancini said. "It's a great team over there. They're probably World Series favorites from what I've seen for the most part, so they take their at-bats seriously, even in the ninth inning off of Stevie.
"You see them up there, they're professional guys, they're taking really good at-bats. It's tough to be out there and everything like that, but it's our job. You're gonna have some games where you give up a lot of runs. It's not fun, but you keep plugging along and keep playing."
Rio Ruiz's (former Astros draft choice) first career pinch-hit home run cut the Orioles' deficit to 20-2. It also came in his first at-bat as a father; his son, Luca, was born July 27. Ruiz could be due for more playing time in upcoming days, with designated hitter Renato Nunez leaving the game with a bruised left ankle after fouling a ball off his leg.
Game Played on Saturday, August 10, 2019 (N) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards HOU A 3 5 1 0 4 1 6 0 3 - 23 25 1 BAL A 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 2 6 1 BATTING Houston Astros AB R H RBI BB SO PO A Springer cf,rf 5 1 1 2 1 1 3 0 Altuve 2b 6 3 3 3 0 0 0 3 Brantley lf 3 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 Marisnick cf 3 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 Bregman 3b 3 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 Diaz 3b 3 2 3 1 0 0 0 1 Alvarez dh 5 4 3 7 1 0 0 0 Correa ss 6 2 3 2 0 2 2 2 Gurriel 1b 6 3 4 1 0 0 6 2 Maldonado c 5 0 0 0 0 1 11 1 Reddick rf,lf 5 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 Sanchez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Rondon p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Smith p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Devenski p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 McHugh p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Totals 50 23 25 21 2 4 27 9 FIELDING - DP: 1. Gurriel-Correa-Rondon. E: Bregman (11). BATTING - 2B: Bregman 2 (23,off Brooks,off Kline); Gurriel 2 (31,off Kline,off Tayler Scott); Springer (16,off Kline); Marisnick (15,off Kline); Altuve (19,off Wilkerson). HR: Bregman (28,1st inning off Brooks 1 on 2 out); Alvarez 3 (17,1st inning off Brooks 0 on 2 out,7th inning off Tayler Scott 3 on 2 out,9th inning off Wilkerson 1 on 2 out); Altuve (20,2nd inning off Brooks 1 on 2 out); Correa (16,3rd inning off Brooks 0 on 0 out). GDP: Altuve (13,off Kline); Alvarez (7,off Tayler Scott); Maldonado (10,off Eshelman). Team LOB: 2. Baltimore Orioles AB R H RBI BB SO PO A Villar ss,2b 4 1 1 0 0 2 1 4 Mancini rf 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 Ruiz ph,3b 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 Santander lf,cf 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 Nunez dh 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 Martin ss 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Peterson 3b,rf 3 0 1 1 0 2 0 3 Sisco c 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 1 Davis 1b 3 0 1 0 1 2 13 1 Alberto 2b,lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 Wilkerson cf,p 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 Brooks p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Kline p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Tayler Scott p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 Eshelman p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Totals 32 2 6 2 3 11 27 15 FIELDING - DP: 3. Villar-Alberto-Davis, Davis-Villar-Tayler Scott, Ruiz-Alberto-Davis. E: Peterson (2). BATTING - 2B: Villar (26,off Sanchez); Santander (14,off Sanchez); Davis (8,off Rondon). HR: Ruiz (6,7th inning off Smith 0 on 2 out). SF: Peterson (1,off Sanchez). GDP: Sisco (4,off Rondon). Team LOB: 7. PITCHING Houston Astros IP H R ER BB SO HR BFP Sanchez W(5-14) 5 3 1 1 3 6 0 22 Rondon 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 Smith 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 4 Devenski 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 McHugh 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 Totals 9 6 2 2 3 11 1 36 Baltimore Orioles IP H R ER BB SO HR BFP Brooks L(2-6) 3 9 9 9 0 3 4 18 Kline 2 6 5 5 1 0 0 13 Tayler Scott 2 5 6 6 1 1 1 11 Eshelman 0.2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 Wilkerson 1.1 4 3 3 0 0 1 8 Totals 9 25 23 23 2 4 6 52 Kline faced 2 batters in the 6th inning WP: Brooks (3). BK: Brooks (1). Inherited Runners - Scored: Tayler Scott 2-1. . Umpires: HP - Bill Welke, 1B - Sean Barber, 2B - Mike Everitt, 3B - Lance Barrett Official Scorer: Jim Henneman Time of Game: 3:03 Attendance: 21903
Starting Lineups: Houston Astros Baltimore Orioles 1. Springer cf Villar ss 2. Altuve 2b Mancini rf 3. Brantley lf Santander lf 4. Bregman 3b Nunez dh 5. Alvarez dh Peterson 3b 6. Correa ss Sisco c 7. Gurriel 1b Davis 1b 8. Maldonado c Alberto 2b 9. Reddick rf Wilkerson cf Sanchez p Brooks p ASTROS 1ST: Springer was called out on strikes; Altuve grounded out (third to first); Brantley singled to right; Bregman homered [Brantley scored]; Alvarez homered; Correa was called out on strikes; 3 R, 3 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 3, Orioles 0. ORIOLES 1ST: Villar doubled to right; Mancini grounded out (catcher to first); Santander singled to shortstop [Villar stayed at second]; Nunez walked [Villar to third, Santander to second]; Peterson out on a sacrifice fly to left [Villar scored]; Sisco grounded out (second to first); 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Astros 3, Orioles 1. ASTROS 2ND: Gurriel singled to right; Maldonado grounded out (second to first) [Gurriel to second]; Reddick singled to center [Gurriel scored]; Springer flied to right [Reddick to second]; Altuve homered [Reddick scored]; Brantley singled to center; Bregman doubled to center [Brantley scored]; Brooks threw a wild pitch [Bregman to third]; Brooks balked [Bregman scored]; Alvarez grounded out (shortstop to first); 5 R, 5 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 8, Orioles 1. ORIOLES 2ND: Davis walked; Alberto reached on an error by Bregman [Davis to second]; Wilkerson struck out; Villar forced Alberto (second to shortstop) [Davis to third]; Mancini walked [Villar to second]; Santander grounded out (first to pitcher); 0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 3 LOB. Astros 8, Orioles 1. ASTROS 3RD: Correa homered; Gurriel flied to center; Maldonado struck out; Reddick grounded out (second to first); 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 9, Orioles 1. ORIOLES 3RD: Nunez flied to right; Peterson struck out; Sisco flied to left; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 9, Orioles 1. ASTROS 4TH: KLINE REPLACED BROOKS (PITCHING); Springer reached on an error by Peterson; Altuve grounded into a double play (shortstop to second to first) [Springer out at second]; Brantley grounded out (first unassisted); 0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 0 LOB. Astros 9, Orioles 1. ORIOLES 4TH: Davis struck out; Alberto flied to center; Wilkerson grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 9, Orioles 1. ASTROS 5TH: Bregman doubled; Alvarez walked; Correa singled to center [Bregman scored, Alvarez to second]; Gurriel doubled to left [Alvarez scored, Correa to third]; Maldonado popped to second; Reddick grounded out (third to first); Springer doubled to left [Correa scored, Gurriel scored]; Altuve grounded out (third to first); 4 R, 4 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 13, Orioles 1. ORIOLES 5TH: SPRINGER CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING RF); MARISNICK REPLACED BRANTLEY (PLAYING CF); DIAZ REPLACED BREGMAN (PLAYING 3B); REDDICK CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING LF); Villar was called out on strikes; Mancini struck out; Santander doubled to right; Injury Delay; Nunez struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 13, Orioles 1. ASTROS 6TH: Marisnick doubled to center; Diaz singled to left [Marisnick to third]; TAYLER SCOTT REPLACED KLINE (PITCHING); Alvarez grounded into a double play (first to shortstop to pitcher) [Marisnick scored (no RBI), Diaz out at second]; Correa grounded out (shortstop to first); 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 14, Orioles 1. ORIOLES 6TH: RONDON REPLACED SANCHEZ (PITCHING); Peterson singled to center; Sisco grounded into a double play (first to shortstop to pitcher) [Peterson out at second]; Davis doubled to left; Astros challenged call that Davis was safe at 2nd; call was upheld - double; Alberto lined to right; 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 14, Orioles 1. ASTROS 7TH: Gurriel doubled to left; Maldonado grounded out (catcher to first); Reddick grounded out (first unassisted) [Gurriel to third]; Springer walked; Altuve singled to left [Gurriel scored, Springer to second]; Marisnick singled to left [Springer scored, Altuve to second]; Diaz singled to right [Altuve to third, Marisnick to second]; Alvarez homered [Altuve scored, Marisnick scored, Diaz scored]; Correa struck out; 6 R, 5 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 20, Orioles 1. ORIOLES 7TH: SMITH REPLACED RONDON (PITCHING); Wilkerson grounded out (first unassisted); Villar struck out; RUIZ BATTED FOR MANCINI; Ruiz homered; Santander flied to right; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 20, Orioles 2. ASTROS 8TH: RUIZ STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING 3B); PETERSON CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING RF); ESHELMAN REPLACED TAYLER SCOTT (PITCHING); Gurriel singled to right; Maldonado grounded into a double play (third to second to first) [Gurriel out at second]; VILLAR CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING 2B); SANTANDER CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING CF); MARTIN REPLACED NUNEZ (PLAYING SS); ALBERTO CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING LF); WILKERSON CHANGED POSITIONS (PITCHING); Reddick popped to third; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 20, Orioles 2. ORIOLES 8TH: DEVENSKI REPLACED SMITH (PITCHING); Martin grounded out (third to first); Peterson struck out; Sisco struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 20, Orioles 2. ASTROS 9TH: Springer grounded out (third to first); Altuve doubled to left; Marisnick flied to center; Diaz singled to right [Altuve scored]; Alvarez homered [Diaz scored]; Correa singled to left; Gurriel flied to center; 3 R, 4 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 23, Orioles 2. ORIOLES 9TH: MCHUGH REPLACED DEVENSKI (PITCHING); Davis struck out; Alberto grounded out (shortstop to first); Wilkerson struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 23, Orioles 2. Final Totals R H E LOB Astros 23 25 1 2 Orioles 2 6 1 7