Rougned Odor came up clutch twice Sunday, producing when the Orioles most needed him. But when a laser left his bat in the eighth inning, he didn’t think the ball would drop until it was over the right field wall.
And by the time Odor noticed that ball was destined to bang off the top of the scoreboard, the tying run had crossed but the second baseman stood on first rather than second. The baserunning gaffe proved costly in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Houston Astros, which ended the four-game series against the American League’s best club in a split.
But the implications of Odor, who had a pair of game-tying hits, admiring his near-home run instead of running out of the box is what might’ve led to the extra-innings collapse, with Houston scoring four runs off left-hander Keegan Akin and right-hander Joey Krehbiel in the 11th inning to create the necessary separation.
In the eighth, when Ryan Mountcastle lashed a double into right-center field, Odor drove him in with that hard-hit ball off the right field wall. The game was tied at 1, and Odor let out a fist pump and a yell toward his dugout. But he might’ve scored on Kyle Stowers’ single in the next at-bat, and he would’ve likely scored on Jorge Mateo’s infield single one at-bat later had he reached second on his game-tying hit.
Instead, the inning ended with bases loaded, Odor on third and the game still tied. And it remained that way into extra innings before an eventual collapse — four of the first five Astros reached safely in the 11th, with the one out a sacrifice fly to score the first of the four runs.
Baltimore had enough to overcome two deficits — first in the eighth and again in the 10th. With Trey Mancini at the plate for Houston, a wild pitch from right-hander Dillon Tate brought home Yuli Gurriel from third. Mancini later doubled off the top of the left field wall; by staying in the yard, Odor drove in the Orioles’ second run of the game, serving as the late-game stoic for a second time to level the score.
But a third comeback was out of reach, even as Cedric Mullins got one run back with an RBI single in the 11th.
Hours earlier, a 46-minute rain delay came at the right time for Baltimore, knocking Astros right-hander Cristian Javier out of the contest after he faced the minimum through six innings and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth.
Javier struck out seven of the first 12 batters he faced, then finished with eight strikeouts overall. And by holding the Orioles scoreless, he extended his scoreless innings streak to 20.
But even with so little offensive production, right-hander Austin Voth kept the Orioles in the game. He gave up his lone run on a third-inning sacrifice fly, securing his ninth straight appearance with two runs or fewer scored against him.
The Astros broke through against the bullpen for the second straight game, though, capitalizing on a disastrous inning from Akin and Krehbiel. With just 10 games to play, the Orioles find themselves 4 games behind the Mariners, who blew a nine-run sixth inning lead and lost to the Royals, 13-12.
A comeback fell short Sunday. And a comeback for the final wild-card race might’ve fallen short Sunday, too.
Around the horn
- Tyler Wells, who will miss the remainder of the season on the 15-day injured list for right shoulder inflammation, said the injury reminds him of the pain he felt at the end of last year. The shoulder wasn’t aggravated in any way by his earlier oblique strain, however. Still, watching from the dugout the remainder of the season is a disappointing development. “I use the term ‘heartbroken’ because it sucks whenever you’re not able to compete with the team as we’re making the final push,” Wells said. “It’s really difficult to sit there and be on the sidelines, but I’m trying to contribute as much as I can by being supportive.”
- Right-hander Félix Bautista threw a career-high 33 pitches in Saturday’s loss, but his lack of usage last week makes manager Brandon Hyde confident there will be no arm fatigue for Bautista. “He’s thrown a lot this year, but we’ll just check in with him every day and see what he’s doing,” Hyde said.
- Infielder Ramón Urías left Saturday’s game with a spasm between his neck and right shoulder, something he’s dealt with over the past few days. Hyde figured Urías will be back in the lineup in a day or two.
This story will be updated.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM