The second batsman who faced Orioles rookie right-hander Kyle Bradish on Friday night collided with the pitch. An offer later, Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez smoked a line drive to the right, but first baseman Ryan Mountcastle doubled Yuli Gurrill to throw it with a dive.
It showed how difficult it would be to hit Bradish, who only allowed Two of the eight innings came as the Orioles opened a series against the American League-best Astros with a 2–0 victory at Minute Maid Park.
Entering Friday, the Orioles (66-59) were one of four major league teams this year without a start of eight innings. Outside of John Means’ no-hitter last May, a Baltimore starter had not played more than 7 1/3 innings in manager Brandon Hyde’s four seasons.
Ramon Uriyas’ sixth inning home run supplied Bradish all the offense needed to suppress one of the game’s top offenses. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, when Kyle Tucker sang behind the Alvarez walk to keep the runners on the corners for the longtime Oriole Tre Mancini, facing his former club for the first time Since trading is being done at the beginning of this month. But Bradish got Mancini to chase down the slider for a strikeout, one of his sixes of the night. This marked Houston’s lone batting with one runner in the scoring position.
The slider was an important pitch for Bradish throughout the outing, representing most of his 96 offerings. Of his 17 inspired swings and misses, 13 came along that pitch. Prior to his last outing, Bradish went to the left of the pitching rubber after working from the middle first, which required some adjustments in the placement of his breaking balls, which paid off on Friday.
The Astros didn’t find a leadoff hitter on base against him until the seventh inning, when Alex Bregman singled out to double Houston’s hit total. But a strikeout from Tucker and two flyouts to the right, with a Mancini bat to the edge of the warning track, ended the threat. With Felix Bautista likely to be unavailable after pitching two innings on Thursday, Bradish returned to eighth and worked through it quickly, reducing his ERA from six to 3.21 on the injured list.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. was not as crunchy as Braddish, but was regularly out of trouble in his five innings, leaving the Orioles in the scoring position with one runner in eight batting. But such a hit was not needed for the decisive run, with a two-out single from Kyle Stowers in the sixth off Christian Xavier, before Ureas drives off the train track above the Crawford box in left field.
Bradish recorded nine more outs from there before handing the game to left-hander Sionel Perez, a former Astros. Perez sandwiched the two singles around the other two, representing Mancini’s winning run. But Dylan Tait ended the game by dismissing him.
This story will be updated.
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