video thumbnail

HOU@LAA: Keuchel holds Angels to two runs over seven

The Astros' starting pitchers have been on quite the roll recently, even in picking up the loss in Tuesday's series opener against the Orioles at Minute Maid Park.

Houston's rotation is a big reason for the club's recent turnaround that had the club winning six straight games and 11 of its last 18 prior to Tuesday's 4-1 defeat.

Astros pitchers enter Wednesday's game against the Orioles with a 2.43 ERA, including 2.18 by the starting staff, over the last seven games.

"One thing is they've been in attack mode," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Early on in the year, I felt like we were pitching away from contact and a lot of it was to the outer third of the plate … I think our pitchers have done a great job of understanding why you have to pitch to both sides of the plate and don't allow the hitters to think the ball is going to be in one quadrant. In doing so, it opens both sides of the plate."

The newest American League club will turn to Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday, in hopes of continuing the rotation's recent success.

Last time out, the left-hander tossed seven innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and striking out four against the Angels, recording his first career road win.

"Dallas did a great job," Porter said. "Overall great job, to give us the amount of innings he gave us against an opponent like that."

He'll be up against Freddy Garcia, who's coming off his best outing of the year for the Orioles.

Garcia spun a gem against the Nationals, pitching eight scoreless innings with three hits and six strikeouts, and retiring 21 of his final 22 batters.

"It was fun to watch," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Freddy's margin for error isn't near what guys who have that pure stuff's margin for error is. ... But he knows himself. It's kind of like knowing who you are as a team and as an organization. Same way with Freddy."

Orioles: Baltimore playing a man short
• Baltimore will be playing a man short for the next two games against the Astros.

Nick Markakis left the team following Tuesday's victory to attend his grandmother's funeral.

"I'm sure they have good reasons for the bereavement [rule] but you have to take all three days or none at all," Showalter said before Tuesday's game. "Unless something happens, the bullpen gets blown up or we play 16 innings [Tuesday night] where we need the spot [in the bullpen], the plan right now is we go into [Tuesday] and then play short the next two days."

Markakis is hitting .300 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 57 games this season.

• Chris Davis has a .754 slugging percentage through 57 games. According to STATS, the only AL left-handed batter since 1930 to post a higher slugging percentage through 57 team games was Babe Ruth (.813 in 1930).

Astros: Houston still adjusting to AL teams
• The Astros and the Orioles are unfamiliar foes, with Tuesday's game marking only the second time in a decade that Baltimore played at Minute Maid Park.

"I faced the Orioles in 2008, but it's pretty much a different team," said longtime Astros reliever Wesley Wright. "It's more exciting for the fans to get a new experience, especially since the Orioles are one of the best teams this year."

Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez said this series is the latest example of the team's continuing adjustment period in the AL.

"It's mostly all new players to you, and you don't really have full scouting reports or too much experience against them," Martinez said. "Everything's new and this series is definitely like that, too. At least we're used to it."

• Keuchel, 25, will make his sixth start of the season after pitching out of the bullpen for the first month and a half of the season. At home, the southpaw is 1-2 with a 6.30 ERA over seven games, three of them starts.

Worth noting
• The Orioles have 64 road wins since the start of the 2012 season, good for tops in the Majors. This year they are second in the Majors with 18, behind only the Cardinals.

• The Astros are 3-7 against Baltimore all-time, with the home team winning all nine games in the series before last night's game. Houston is 3-1 at home against the Orioles, sweeping a three-game series at Minute Maid Park in 2003. While Baltimore swept the Astros in the two club's last series in '08 at Camden Yards.

MLB.com Comments