Castro homers, drives in 4 as Astros rout Orioles 12-2
BALTIMORE (AP) The Houston Astros have rediscovered their hitting groove in Camden Yards.
In the process, they've been bullying the Orioles in their own backyard.
Jason Castro homered and drove in four runs, Alex Bregman and George Springer also connected and the Astros beat Baltimore 12-2 on Saturday night.
The blowout came one night after the Astros whipped the Orioles 15-8 to snap a five-game losing streak.
''We've had a lot of guys putting together quality at-bats, going up there trying to hit the ball hard,'' Bregman said.
Bregman got this rout started with a two-run homer in the first inning off Chris Tillman (15-5), who had been given an extended rest because of a sore shoulder. Houston increased its lead to 6-0 in the third and went up 10-1 in the sixth.
''That was a good offensive night for us from the very beginning,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''We had numerous chances we didn't even take advantage of. We continue to get contributions from the top of the lineup, bottom of the lineup, middle of the lineup. It's a fun offense when we get going.''
It might get even better on Sunday. The Astros announced after the game that they will recall Cuban defector Yulieski Gurriel from Triple-A Fresno and start him as the designated hitter in the finale of the four-game series.
The Orioles, meanwhile, are in full recovery mode after a 1-4 start to a homestand that began with two losses to Boston.
''It's pretty tough to cover that many runs the last two nights,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''It's pretty obvious we need to pitch better.''
Chris Davis homered in a fourth straight game and Steve Pearce also went deep for Baltimore. But the Orioles have dropped eight of 12 overall to fall into the third place in the AL East.
Baltimore pitchers combined to allow a season-high 10 walks. Utility infielder Ryan Flaherty worked the ninth inning, giving up two runs and three hits.
Asked the last time he pitched, Flaherty replied, ''High school. Wasn't very good then and still not.''
Mike Fiers (9-6) had little trouble in his first career appearance against the Orioles. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing one run and five hits to lower his ERA on the road from 6.27 to 5.71.
Tillman had his start pushed back from Wednesday to Saturday because of shoulder discomfort. He and Showalter insisted that wasn't a factor in one of his worst outings of the year - two innings, six hits, six runs and five walks.
''Physically, I felt fine,'' the right-hander said. ''That's the big positive coming out of this - probably the only positive you can find. I felt good. Just couldn't command the baseball.''
Showalter said Tillman was ''rusty,'' and would have been forthcoming if the shoulder bothered him before his start.
''He's not going to do anything to hurt the club,'' the manager said. ''I trust his honesty with us.''
The Astros scored two runs in six different innings. Every starter scored at least one run.
The Astros optioned 1B Tyler White to Fresno to make room for Gurriel. ... The Orioles optioned Odrisamer Despaigne to Triple-A Norfolk after recalling him earlier in the day.
Astros: 3B Luis Valbuena (right hamstring) was sent back to Houston to have his injury re-evaluated and could be done for the year. ''It's going to threaten his season, just based on where we are,'' Hinch said. ... OF Jake Marisnick missed a second straight game with a sore groin. ''I am not going to put him out there if he is not 100 percent,'' Hinch said.
Orioles: Orioles C Matt Wieters was placed on the paternity leave list and will likely be out through at least Sunday.
Astros: Dallas Keuchel (7-12, 4.76 ERA) starts Sunday in the series finale. In his two outings this month, the lefty blanked Texas and gave up six runs in five innings to St. Louis.
Orioles: Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 5.18) has won only one of his last nine starts. He's 1-3 since June 29.