Franco breaks up no-hit bid in 8th as Orioles lose to Astros; Pitchers checked by umpires for foreign substances -

Rich Dubroff

Franco breaks up no-hit bid in 8th as Orioles lose to Astros; Pitchers checked by umpires for foreign substances

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—On the night Major League Baseball decided to begin inspecting pitchers’ caps and gloves for foreign substances, the Orioles were nearly the victims of a combined no-hitter by the Houston Astros.

Maikel Franco’s two-run home run with one out in the bottom of the eighth was the first Orioles’ hit in a 10-2 loss to the Astros before 7,414 at Oriole Park on a rainy Monday night.

Jake Odorizzi and Cristian Javier combined to no-hit the Orioles for seven innings. Brandon Bielek struck out DJ Stewart looking and hit Austin Hays with a pitch. Franco followed with his ninth home run to make it 10-2.

“We want to break up a no-hitter,” Franco said. “When that happened, everybody was excited.”

The game’s start was delayed by rain for an hour, and then by another 41 minutes in the top of the eighth. Franco’s hit came two minutes before midnight. By the time the game ended at nearly 12:30, perhaps 500 fans were left.

“That wasn’t very fun,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We struggled offensively and gave up 10 runs.”

Odorizzi (2-3) started against the Orioles (23-49) for the 20th time in his career,and retired the first 13 batters before Stewart walked in the fifth. Odorizzi struck out Hays, and Franco hit a foul pop to third that Abraham Toro caught after falling down between home and third.

In the first seven innings, Hays came the closest to a hit when he grounded to third and Toro’s throw barely beat him.

Odorizzi struck out nine in five innings. Javier struck out two in two innings.


Pedro Severino lined a ball to left that Alvarez moved in to catch for the second out of the sixth. Ryan Mountcastle hit a sinking line drive to centerfielder Myles Straw to end the seventh.

Houston (44-28) won for the eighth straight time and nearly had their third combined no-hitter in history.

Just one no-hitter has been thrown in the 30 seasons of Camden Yards. Boston’s Hideo Nomo no-hit the Orioles on April 4, 2001.

Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma was the last to no-hit the Orioles on August 12, 2015.

John Means threw a no-hitter for the Orioles in Seattle on May 5th.

Since Means’ no-hitter, the Orioles are 8-33, and they’ve lost 11 of 12.

Houston scored its five runs against Keegan Akin (0-3) in the third. Jason Castro doubled to lead off. Jose Altuve walked, and Chas McCormick singled to left, scoring Castro.

Hays’ throw from left eluded the cutoff man at third, Franco, who was out of position, enabling Altuve to move up to third and McCormick to second. Michael Brantley walked. Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly to center scored Altuve, and Yordan Alvarez’s three-run home run, his 10th, made it 5-0.

Akkn allowed five runs on six hits in four-plus innings, walking four and striking out five. Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez and first base umpire Ted Barrett checked him after the first inning. Every pitcher was checked. Akin and Odorizzi were examined twice.

“It was pretty easy, honestly,” Akin said. “They just wanted to check your hat, your glove, your belt. Definitely different. I was kind of nervous the first time. I had nothing to worry about. It’s weird that we’ve gotten to that point. It’s good, though that they’re doing it.”

Houston scored two runs against Travis Lakins in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Gurriel and a run-scoring single by Carlos Correa.

Brantley’s two-run double, and Garrett Stubbs’ RBI double against Mac Sceroler put the Orioles behind 10-0. Then came Franco’s home run.

“It was a big relief when Maikel hit that home run,” Akin said. “You never want to get no-hit.”

The Orioles struck out 15 times.

“It was a disappointing game for us offensively,” Hyde said. “Unusual night, a pretty frustrating evening.”

Note: Jorge López (2-8, 5.95 ERA) will face Zack Greinke (7-2, 3.74) on Tuesday night.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    June 22, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Sceroler, 14+ era, & why is he still here, might not be a popular statement but Tate out of the bullpen has let 4 runs score on hits WHILE lowering his era to about 4.00, isn’t his job to shut down offenses out of the pen, realize he’s not allowing runs on HIS hits, but if I had runners on I wouldn’t want to see him coming in or following me into the game, realize he was hurt, maybe he still is…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      June 22, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Sceroler and Lakins I mentioned the other day would not be on any other teams roster. Lopez and Harvey would not start for any other team. Mikes rebuild with retreads and rule 5 is ugly

  2. Orioles20

    June 22, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Another game more crappy defense. Once again akin didn’t pitch terrible but the defense didn’t help him. Franco didn’t cut the ball off and allowed a runner to advance. Maybe akin gets a double play and is out of the inning. Are there really no better options then Lakins in triple a. I rather see a guy like Evan Phillips who has legit stuff maybe figure it out. I see people bashing Screoler but last night all his runs were unearned due to bad defense.

    • Orial

      June 22, 2021 at 9:04 am

      I see It’s been touched upon already but seeing Lakins Sr(why the Sr btw?) and Scelorar in there is head scratching. Why/how does Lakins always wiggle his way back after a demotion? Quality arms are awful at AAA. Every team seems to bring these Domican/Venezuelan hurlers in who are lights out but these re-tread overweight pitchers(are Akins/ Lakins the same guy?) from Norfolk. My God. The International talent can’t come fast enough for me.

      • Orioles20

        June 22, 2021 at 10:17 am

        Like I said Lakins is just as bad as some of the others. I rather see Phillips or Cody Carroll can get the job done.

    • Icterus fan

      June 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

      Again, we just got outplayed. We run into a good club, and we are silenced yet again. Odorizzi has a great track record, but hasn’t quite been himself this year. He was on last night, in the rain, mind you.
      You know; that old “good pitching silences good hitting” adage.
      If we had some decent fundamentally sound defense, maybe we’d be more competitive. The lack of it has become expected. When our offense and defense does click, we see an exciting team. I know things will improve, but the same old sloppiness Is causing us to beat ourselves.
      And tonight it’s a 7-2 Greinke.
      We’ll see whether the TSA, er, I mean umpire glove/hat inspections help reduce the pitching advantage.

      • Orioles20

        June 22, 2021 at 10:22 am

        There the better team obviously. But I think if we limited our miscues our pitchers would do better and keep us in the game. That inning got away from Akin after Franco didn’t cut the ball off. I know it’s not an error but it creates different situations. Let’s say Franco cuts that ball of maybe Akin can get a double play. Scroeler had an error made behind him. I didn’t see that error as I wasn’t watching but it’s things like that make us a far worse team. Thing is it’s always the same guys making the errors. We does Hyde or even Elias start to hold these guys accountable for there screwups?

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 22, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Jeepers….I wonder what the team ERA would be this year without the aid of foreign substances?

    • CalsPals

      June 22, 2021 at 8:46 am

      Watch how you talk about foreigners…go O’s…

    • Orial

      June 22, 2021 at 8:56 am

      I thought the same thing Boog. Teams like Bpst,NYY,LAD,Houst will go unscathed while Balt,etc will suffer and be punished. Fry showed signs Sat of having difficulty weaning off. Of course there’s no proof to that but ya never know. Akin last night was struggling with his grip. HBP counts will sharply rise now leading to “another” investigation. MLB shouldve left it alone–so we had a few too many no,-hitters.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        June 22, 2021 at 11:11 am

        Wanna fix this particular problem? I’ve said it many times here before, call the strikezone as it’s written in the rule book. Allow the high strike and things will balance themselves out.

        • NormOs

          June 22, 2021 at 12:24 pm

          The best thing MLB can do is let the computer call balls and strikes. Humans are incapable and have been for over 100 years. The technology is there……USE IT! Also the “bullpen” is non existant. There is no one out there that can make another MLB pen.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 22, 2021 at 10:06 am

      Orial, there’s a bigger picture here. We’re on a pace for a record number of hit by pitches because of the velocity. Do you want to see Trey Mancini get hit again?

      The game is out of whack, too many strikeouts and walks.

      This is an attempt to make the game more watchable because it’s become too pitcher/centric.

      Good pitchers will adapt. Bad pitchers won’t.

    • Icterus fan

      June 22, 2021 at 11:01 am

      Rich, how was this dealt with in the past? Pitchers in the past threw hard, too. I have no clue about how many batters were being hit “back in the day”, but aside from lowering the mound to create a more “balanced” game, what was done at that point to even out the statistics?

      Plus, if part of the equation is to reduce amounts of HBP, why decrease the grip on the ball by enforcing such inspections? Doesn’t better grip = better control?

      Is the rosin bag no longer effective enough grip?

      I’m not playing devils advocate or being intentionally obtuse, I’d really like to know.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 22, 2021 at 11:26 am

      Marty, there is more emphasis on speed now. Pitchers who thrived on cunning in the past, like Greg Maddux, would be shunned now.

      More speed equals less control, more wild pitches, more hit batters.

      Besides lowering the mound in 1969, four teams were added, diluting pitching. And yes, the strike zone was altered.

      Pitchers believe other substances are superior to the rosin bag.

    • Icterus fan

      June 22, 2021 at 12:30 pm

      Interesting. Thanks Rich

  4. willmiranda

    June 22, 2021 at 11:19 am

    First, checking O’s pitchers for cheating is just adding insult to injury. To Rich’s point about the game being out of whack because of so few balls in play because of increased walks, strikeouts, hit batters, and –dare I say?– home runs. My own hobby horse here is the strike zone. I don’t know if it was accurate, but as a child I learned that the strike zone was from the knees to the shoulders. The knee standard doesn’t seem to have changed, but the shoulders became the armpits became the letters became the belt, as I recall things. A full strike zone –where the ball is reasonably hittable– does not require the pitcher to rocket the ball through a keyhole. He can be effective by moving the ball and changing speeds. If the batter has to cover a larger area, he can’t just swing madly along a single plane, where “It’s a home run or nothing on Home Run Derby.” It may as well be tee ball, with Lucy pulling the ball off the tee half the time. How long has it been since we’ve heard talk of “covering the plate” or “defending the strike zone”? It may seem that a full strike zone is just a boon to pitchers, something we do not want; I think batters will adjust, control and maybe cut down on their swings, and put more balls in play. Maybe even a return to the bottle bat.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      June 22, 2021 at 11:27 am

      Hear hear !! (or is is here here?) Either way … spot on Will’M.

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 22, 2021 at 11:32 am

      Batters aren’t being paid to hit singles. In fact, some teams prefer walks to singles because more pitches are thrown.

      I believed for a long time that hitters would adapt and limit the use of the shift. They haven’t because they’re paid to drive the ball.

      Saturday’s game with the Orioles hitting six home runs and scoring seven runs was the antithesis of what good baseball is.

      I would like to think your solution would work, but because young players are consumed with the long ball, too, I don’t see it changing. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

      • Birdman

        June 22, 2021 at 1:10 pm

        Rich, I agree that it’s frustrating to watch so many players who refuse to hit to the opposite field and/or bunt against the shift … certainly one of the most egregious cases has been our own Chris Davis … over three seasons from 2017 – 2019, while batting a woeful .188, Davis stubbornly refused to try to hit/bunt against the shift.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        June 22, 2021 at 7:21 pm

        Hey Rich – “Batters aren’t being paid to hit singles.” and “they’re paid to drive the ball” – Well maybe that’s the issue right there. Maybe they should be for the first quote and not so much for the second! And change the “On Base Percentage” to the real term here! Homers are technically counted here as hits when the destination is really Home “Plate” which technically isn’t a “base”. Base (no pun intended) “being paid” with the real deal “On Base” percentage with minus the homers for this statistic and you’ll see things gradually change.

        And what willmiranda stated regarding the “strike zone” being lowered to the “belt” buckle so hitters are protected from being beamed in the head/shoulder area – which is a good thing but pitchers had a shrunken strike zone which wasn’t fair to them. So make Home Plate bigger and move the batters box further away from home plate So, when Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine pitched those outside balls called strikes well now they are legit, And as far as hitters are concerned use a longer bat to protect the strike zone instead of standing and leaning over the plate and it won’t be the issue any more. No more crowding the plate because hitters are further away and strikes are called from the belt to the knees. Way less hit by pitches – good for the hitter. No more delays because of it with bench clearing issues – good for the game. And pitchers have a bigger strike zone because it’s wider – and good for them also! Everyone wins a little.

        And one last thing after all that – use the automated strike zone to call balls and strikes. No more trigger happy umps just waiting to throw hitters out and costing suspensions which also costs players $$. Has anyone noticed – no more long arguments by managers and umpires, eventually getting managers tossed which costs them $$ since the replay came into play on the use of it. There’s a reason for that! No more perfect games being missed because a 1st base umpire blew the call calling the hitter/runner safe when he was out and then apologizing the next day in tears. And have every home plate umpire carry a tablet or notebook regarding the strike zone so when a player might question a pitch called a strike – they can show it now because it’s right there in black and white so no more arguments! Balls in the box or touching the box borders are a strike. Period. Levels the playing field where home teams or the better teams seem to get all the calls. No more Roberto “Robby” Alomar blowups either because an ump calls a strike in the other batters box BS! And no more this umpire has this strike zone and that umpire has that BS!

    • CalsPals

      June 22, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      Rules haven’t changed regarding foreign substances on the ball, now they decide to enforce it, ok, so let’s also enforce the strike zone as it’s defined, if the umps don’t want to call it get rid of them, pretty sure they could find some that are competent…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      June 22, 2021 at 1:47 pm

      Follow the money. I’m accepting the fact that the money is apparently in the home run, not hitting ‘em where they ain’t (unless that’s in the bleachers), going opposite field, bunting or intentionally beating the shift.
      It’s in the 100 mph fastball, not the crafty hit -your -spot off speed type pitcher.
      Comply or die, I suppose.
      In the meantime, I’ll tune in to watch my birds!

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 22, 2021 at 11:25 am

    The picture leading off today’s article of Austin Hays quizzically looking at his bat has me wondering what’s up with the all the players obsession of having to smell thier bats after foul balls? I know it’s all about the ‘burn’ and all, but really? I find it kind of ooogy, in a Mary Katerine Gallagher kind of way.

  6. Mercy>Judgment

    June 22, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Sceroler DFA’d Jannis contract selected…

    • WorldlyView

      June 22, 2021 at 8:28 pm

      Mickey Jannis being added to the roster is HUGE news. The ‘process’ is swinging into high gear. Optimistic fans should soon be saying to us pessimists “we told you so.” I, for one, would not demean MJ’s resume. He’s 33, 12 years laboring in the low minors, the equivalent of about one full season of AAA ball over this period, and ZERO MLB experience. Maybe his low ERA at Norfolk this year means he has finally found his groove. If not, he should fit right in with our rickety pitching staff, and a return to the old Oriole Way will be further delayed.

    • CalsPals

      June 23, 2021 at 1:13 pm

      At 33 he effects our young age avg…oh nooo…go O’s…

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