HOUSTON—Andrew Cashner had one of his best stat lines of 2019 thanks to Anthony Santander. Cashner allowed one run on four hits in six innings, but it could have been far worse.
Cashner allowed just two singles in the first five innings and had a 1-0 lead on Saturday against the Houston Astros. Derek Fisher and Alex Bregman began the sixth with base hits. With one out, Yuli Gurriel flied to deep right, and Santander made an outstanding catch, taking away a home run.
Fisher scored, and Santander threw to first to double up Michael Brantley and end the sixth in spectacular fashion.
The Orioles and Astros were tied, 1-1, instead of Houston holding a 4-1 lead. In the end, Orioles won by that score, 4-1.
“As soon as I caught the ball, I started thinking that the runner was way ahead of the base, that I had a chance and I made a throw and thankfully it was a double play,” Santander said through a translator.
“I think it was going to be a home run. Fortunately, I was able to time it pretty well and make the catch.”
Cashner, who was taken out after six innings because of a blister, was more than relieved about the catch.
“I kept telling myself get a double play,” Cashner said. “I just didn’t draw it up that way. It was the play of the game. It went from a bad outing to a good outing. Trey staying on first base, when good teams win you have to have those big plays.”
Orioles score late: Hanser Alberto led off the eighth with a double. Mancini hit a bloop single to right that Alberto thought could be caught, and he made it only to third. Renato Nunez, who homered for the Orioles’ first run in the sixth, grounded to third, but Alberto decided to come home and was easily caught in a rundown for the first out.
Pedro Severino grounded to second, and Tony Kemp threw to shortstop Jack Mayfield to force Nunez. Mayfield’s throw to first was wild, allowing Mancini to score with the go-ahead run.
Paul Fry, who pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings, got the win. He’s 1-3. Miguel Castro retried the last four batters for his second save.
In the ninth, Richie Martin hit his third home run, his second in four games, a two-run shot for the final margin.
“I just think he’s seeing more big league pitching, and so he’s adjusting as we go,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Although he’s still batting just .178, Martin has raised his average from .156 on May 19.
“I think that comes with time, just constantly putting in the work in, working with [hitting coaches Howie Clark and Don Long],” Martin said. “Just taking things slow. I think it’s all internal, how you handle yourself.”
The win broke a 10-game losing streak at Minute Maid Park. The Orioles hadn’t won there since June 4, 2015.
Their record is 20-44. In 2019, they didn’t win 20 games until their 70th game.
Kline down, Phillips up: For the fourth time this season, pitcher Evan Phillips was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Branden Kline was sent down after Friday night’s game.
Phillips, who is 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA in 12 games, has an 0.84 ERA in seven games with the Tides.
“I have high expectations for myself,” Phillips said. “I know I can be better, and I can show it off here.”
Phillips knows that he always has to be ready to be called up at any time — or sent down.
“I can’t get caught up in the travel or the up-and-down frustrations that go along with that,” Phillips said. “I’m ready when called upon.”
Phillips tries to maintain his routine to minimize the ups and downs.
“My work is still the same whether I’m here in Houston,” Phillips said. “My preparation’s the same.”
Phillips received a call from Norfolk manager Gary Kendall late Friday night that he was coming to the Orioles. He flew on Saturday morning from Columbus, where the Tides were playing, to Houston.
He carries lots of clothes for different environments in the event he’s summoned to the majors.
“I always try and stay ready in case that call comes,” Phillips said.
Hyde says Phillips needs to improve on “command and throwing his quality stuff in the strike zone. That’s what he was doing early in the season. That’s what he was doing in spring training.
“A bunch of nice appearances to start the year, and then he fell into where he was pitching behind in the count a lot, some leadoff walks, a lot of hitter’s counts. I’d like to see Evan be aggressive in the strike zone, which he’s done at Triple-A, and now it’s just doing that with confidence in the big leagues.”
Kline was 1-3 with a 5.89 ERA in 15 games.
“We needed a fresh arm,” Hyde said. “Nothing BK did. I like BK. I love his arm, 97, 98, 99 … with a good slider. We needed somebody to be able to pitch [Saturday]. He’s a guy that has options … He’s starting to pitch with a lot of confidence.
“He has long innings. When he starts to develop, he’s going to start learning how to put teams away and have innings that go 15 pitches or less instead of 23- to 30-pitch innings, which he’s been doing quite a bit, which pretty much eliminates him from going out the following inning or really being available the next day … As he gets better and as he improves, as he continues to pitch at the big league level, he’s going to have shorter innings.”
Minor matters: Austin Hays has been transferred from Double-A Bowie to Norfolk, where he’ll be playing at the Triple-A level for the first time.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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