Orioles lose to Astros, 8-2, in Flaherty's 1st home start; Fujinami allows 3 runs; Hays homers, makes exceptional catch - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles lose to Astros, 8-2, in Flaherty’s 1st home start; Fujinami allows 3 runs; Hays homers, makes exceptional catch

Photo Credit: MItch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE—On August 1st, the Orioles acquired right-hander Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals just minutes before the trade deadline. Two days later, he started against the Toronto Blue Jays and allowed just a run on five hits in six innings in an Orioles win.

In his first start at Oriole Park, Flaherty struggled through five innings, giving up threw runs, and Shintaro Fujinami walked the bases loaded in the eighth inning, allowing three more runs in an 8-2 loss to the Houston Astros before an announced crowd of 25,479 on Wednesday night.

It was the second straight loss for the Orioles (70-44), who must beat Houston (66-49) on Thursday to avoid being swept for the first time since May 13th-15th, 2022, 75 consecutive series.

The Orioles remain two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the American League East because the Rays lost to St. Louis, 6-4.

“I thought he pitched well, but I thought the command was a little bit off the breaking ball early,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It got better as the game went on … I thought he did a nice job. He kept us in the game.”

Kyle Tucker, who won Tuesday night’s game with a grand slam against closer Félix Bautista in the ninth, hit a two-run home run against Flaherty (8-7) in the first.

“There’s some stuff to work on in terms of executing certain things in certain spots,” Flaherty said. “The slider to Tucker was OK. It’s ‘in a good location,’ I guess if it’s on the corner, but it needs to be in a better spot than that.”

The Astros scored in the second when Jose Altuve’s single scored José Abreu, who ran through a stop sign at third. Houston left the bases loaded.

Adley Rutschman led off the Orioles’ first with a triple but was left there.

Austin Hays hit his first home run since July 9th in the fifth against Cristian Javier scoring Ryan Mountcastle, who singled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. The Orioles trailed, 3-2.

“He got one airborne,” Hyde said. “It was a beautiful swing. Hopefully, that can get him going through tomorrow and into the road trip.”

Javier (8-2) allowed two runs on four hits in five innings.

Flaherty allowed three runs on six hits in five innings, walking two and striking out eight.

“Getting through five isn’t going to get it done,” Flaherty said. “It’s great to limit damage and make some big pitches in some big spots, but I had to find a way to get through six … You’ve got to find a way to get deeper.”

Flaherty hadn’t pitched in Camden Yards before and liked what he saw.

“Energy was great, I haven’t had to turn my pitch count up while pitching at home in a while,” Flaherty said. “Good energy, you kind of feed off it.”

Jacob Webb, the 47th player used by the Orioles this season, pitched the sixth inning and struck out the side.

Hays ran to the left field wall in front of the Orioles’ bullpen to rob Chas McCormick of a possible home run to begin the eighth with Shintaro Fujinami on the mound.

Fujinami retired Abreu on a fly ball to center, then walked the bases loaded. Mike Baumann gave up two-run singles to Altuve and Alex Bregman, and Houston led 7-2.

“I look at the first two walks as barely missed off the edges on a few pitches,” Hyde said. “Then we didn’t get some of those calls, and unfortunately, he walked three there and Altuve gets an end-of-the bat base hit off Baumann.”

The Orioles loaded the bases against Bryan Abreu in the bottom of the eighth, but Hays flied out to short right and Westburg grounded back to Abreu.

Jeremy Peña’s RBI single in the ninth gave Houston its final run.

Notes: Flaherty has struck out 16 batters in his first two starts, the most for any Orioles pitcher in their first two starts. … Webb was the first Oriole to strike out the side in his debut since Al Reyes in 2020. … Dean Kremer (10-4, 4.61) will face Hunter Brown (8-7, 4.07) on Thursday at 12:35 p.m. … The Orioles released infielder Robbie Glendinning, who’d been at Triple-A Norfolk and minor league outfielder Isaac Bellony.

Minor league update: Bryan Baker (0-1) allowed two eighth-inning runs as Triple-A Norfolk lost to Jacksonville, 3-2.

Chayce McDermott, the International League Pitcher of the Week for the past two weeks, gave up one run on two hits in five innings. Austin Voth, on a rehab assignment, pitched two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.

Third baseman Josh Lester hit his 17th home run.

Centerfielder Cedric Mullins was hitless in five at-bats in what could be the final game of his rehab assignment in Double-A Bowie’s 4-3 win over Richmond

Catcher Silas Ardoin drove in two runs for the Baysox.

Trace Bright (1-5) allowed four runs on six hits in four innings, striking out nine, as High-A Aberdeen lost to Brooklyn, 6-2.

The IronBirds had just three hits. Leftfielder Jacob Teter drove in two runs.

Centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. was hitless in three at-bats in his first game for Single-A Delmarva, which lost to Carolina, 6-4. Bradfield walked twice and stole a base.

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