Orioles vs. Astros summary, score, stats and highlights
Astros pull the rabbit out of the hat with come-from-behind walk off
Mauricio Dubon's first MLB walk off
In a game that was must-win for the Astros, things didn't always look pretty. In fact, they played the game much as they have played this season. Scrappy, untidy, often looking adrift, and - crucially - trailing for eight innings. And then they turned it all on a dime.
More than any other team in baseball, the Houston Astros are a team willing to scratch and claw their way to a win. They lay down bunts, they maintain their composure and work walks, they look for singles and play a form of baseball that is often seen as anachronistic. They play small ball. Joyously.
And frustratingly for their opponents and, well for lack of a better term let's call them "haters" (and boy are there many of those), this more often than not sees the Astros grind out wins.
The problem is that from the outside, these wins may look to be undeserved. It is easy to subscribe to this view. After all, just in today's game, the Orioles were in the driving seat for eight innings. They looked the better team all the way around. At times, they played circles around Houston.
But this is to ignore the sheer brilliance of what Houston does, what Houston is. The Astros are not in a sprint. They are in a marathon. They will grind you down and stay the course, and in the end, what is more deserving of victory that that?
In a series of moves that demonstrate Dusty Baker's managerial style, the Astros brought on Yordan Álvarez to pinch hit in the eighth inning of a game for which he was not meant to be available. When he drew a walk, they immediately brought on Mauricio Dubón to pinch run for him. Dubón was brought around by an Altuve walk and a Peña single to score the tying run.
Then in the ninth, with Yainer Diaz on third base, Dubón slaps the first pitch of his first at-bat to right field for what is the Honduran's first ever walk off. And just like that, Houston yet again pulls the rabbit from the hat, turning water to wine.
Things are not immediately solved for Houston, far from it. They have lost six of their last nine games and are clinging to the top of the AL West by their fingernails. With Texas romping past Boston and Seattle beating Oakland, a loss today would have seen the Astros not only out of first place but perhaps even out of playoff contention altogether.
Perhaps the best description of the Astros philosophy came from the mouth of Dubón himself in the post-game on-field interview. "Sometimes, we pitch and we don't hit. Sometimes, we hit and don't pitch. And sometimes, baseball happens."
Even the legion of haters have to tip their hats.
That is going to do it for our live coverage of game three of the Orioles and Astros series. We hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did! Join us as we bring you coverage of the playoffs and World Series here at Diario AS USA as well as keeping you up to date with all baseball and sports news.
We will be covering the Mariners and Rangers on Friday, September 22 as we stay with the wild race going on for the top of the AL West. Please join us, but until then, good night and God bless!
With a booming win by the Rangers and what is looking to be a Mariner win underway, the Astros absolutely needed this win, not only to stay in first place in the AL West, but to stay in playoff contention.
The Astros have pulled off a win that was not always pretty but in the end managed to grind away and beat down opposition. Dubon came on as a pinch runner and in his first at-bat of the day, the first pitch that he sees, he slaps a peach of a single to right. Just what was needed at just the right moment.
Astros walk it off!
Mauricio Dubon jumps on the first pitch and lines a single to right. Yainer Diaz scores! In a game that the Astros absolutely had to win, they trailed all day and turned it on at the very last.
Chas McCormick will now come up and nubs one to second base for a sacrifice. Diaz moves to third on the play and the Astros have a runner on third and one out.
Yainer Diaz leads off jumping on the first pitch that gets down the right field line for a leadoff double!
The Orioles will call on Danny Coulombe to try and close down the Astros in the ninth.
Adam Frazier fouls several pitches back before hitting one sharply to Altuve at second. The throw to first ends the inning.
Austin Hays jumps on an early fastball, grounding one to first. Jose Abreu flips it to Pressly covering the bag for the second out.
Heston Kjerstad will lead off for the O's and lines a shot to third, nabbed by Alex Bregman for out number one.
Mauricio Dubon will remains in the game as the center fielder as Yainer Diaz will take over behind the plate.
Ryan Pressly will come on for Bryan Abreu looking to keep this game where it is
The count runs to 3-1. With nowhere to put him, the next pitch is important. He finds the zone for strike two.
With a full count, all runners will be moving. The delivery is smacked straight back at Baumann's feet. It hits the rubber and pops up over second base. Frazier leaps and makes the grab, going to first in time to get Abreu out and end the inning. Wow! The Orioles dodged a bullet there! But not before the Astros could level the game up at 1-1.
Jose Abreu will now try and get some of those runners around with two outs here.
After fouling two off, Bregman chases a high curveball for strike three. That is a huge strikeout for Baumann!
Alex Bregman comes to the plate and this is exactly the hitter you want in this situation. He is exceedingly picky with his pitches and matches uncanny contact ability with power.
Kyle Tucker is intentionllay walked and the bases are full with one out now.
Peña is patient and the count runs full before the payoff pitch from Baumann is slapped off the top of the right center field wall! Dubon comes around to score, Altuve is held at third on a two out double and the game is tied!
Jeremy Peña will try and make the most of this, the best opportunity that the Astros have had in the game.
That is going to be it for Shintaro Fujinami. 12 pitches, none of them for a called strike. Mike Baumann will come out of the O's bullpen to try and put out the fire.
Jose Altuve will come to the plate now and Fujinami is having all kinds of trouble finding the strike zone. Four straight balls for a walk.
Singleton lines a sharp one but directly at second base. Adam Frazier nabs it and Dubon gets back to first base. One out
The O's head out to talk to Fujinami and settle him down. Jon Singleton will pinch hit for Martin Maldonado. Dusty Baker is making all kinds of moves!
And now a surprise, to the delight of the Houston crowd. Despite what he said before the game, Dusty Baker decides to call on Yordan Alvarez to pinch hit for Jake Meyers.
He gets a straight four-pitch walk. In an effort to save Álvarez from running, Baker will now pinch run Mauricio Dubon for Yordan.
Shintaro Fujinami will replace Jacob Webb on the mound for Orioles.
Cedric Mullins jumps on the first pitch and hits one deep to left. Back to the wall and McCormick makes the catch to end the inning.
Ryan O'hearn comes to the plate and slaps a ground ball to the left side where Alex Bregman grabs it and makes the throw to first for the second out.
Anthony Santander leads off for Baltimore in the eighth and gets into a hole 0-2 quickly. Abreu blows a high fastball past him for a swinging strike three. One away
Chas McCormick now comes up with two out and a runner on first. He drives a well hit ball to right center where Mullins comes down with it on the warning track. Two well-hit balls and a base runner but it comes to nothing for Houston who still trail 1-0 after seven.
Yainer Diaz comes up now and gets in an 0-2 hole quickly. The next delivery runs inside and hits Diaz on the elbow.
Jose Abreu hits the second pitch on the ground to third. Ramon Urias makes the throw to first for out number two.
Alex Bregman jumps on the first pitch and tries to even the score on one swing. Straightaway center field, pushes Cedric Mullins to the warning track where he pulls it down for the first out.
The Orioles will go to their bullpen now after six incredible innings from Kyle Bradish. They will ask Jacob Webb to take over the duties here.
Ruschman slaps the first pitch from Abreu to first base. Jose Abreu fields it and steps on the bag to end the inning.
Adley Rutschman will come up now and Dusty Baker will make a change. Bryan Abreu will be called on to try and get that final out.
Gunnar Henderson will come to the plate and drives one to left field, just beyond the reach of Chas McCormick's diving glove. It goes to the wall for a two out double.
Ramon Urías will stand in now and he runs the count full before whiffing at a high slider for strike three.
Adam Frazier jumps on an early fastball and flies it to center where Jake Meyers pulls it down for the first out.
Dusty Baker heads back to his bullpen and calls on Kendall Graveman to take over from Hector Neris
A checked swing line drive to third is brought down by Urías and the Orioles get out of a jam. The Astros are still scoreless after six and Baltimore can breathe a sigh of relief.
Sinkers and curveballs get Tucker on the back foot and the count runs to 1-2
Kyle Tucker will come to the plate now with two out and runners on first and second.
Jeremy Peña will try and do something with that base runner and is extremely patient, working the count full. The payoff pitch from Bradish is a fastball that Peña foul tips into Rutschman's glove.
No! It wasn't fouled into the glove at all. Peña's bat hit Rtschman's glove and they call catcher's interference. Peña gets first and the umpires confer. Baltimore challenges it and lose their challenge.
Jose Altuve gets three breaking pitches and goes down swinging for the second out.
Martín Maldonado shows bunt and pulls the bat back. A pitch off the plate is called a strike anyway. The second pitch is the same, with Maldy pulling the bat back and it was correctly called a ball that time. Another one misses and it is 2-1.
Maldonado lays down a perfect bunt up the first base line and Meyers advances to second. Perfect sacrifice bunt.
Jake Meyers leads off for Houston in the sixth. He holds off on the early junk ball stuff and runs the count to 3-1. A nice sinker is fouled off to run the count full.
The payoff delivery from Bradish is taken inside out for a single to right field.
Austin Hays rips a ground ball to third. Runners are off on contact andAlex Bregman makes a bullet of a throw to get the out at first. Houston escapes with no damage!
Heston Kjerstad comes up with one out and men at the corners. He lines the first pitch to right field. Santander is tagging at third but Kyle Tucker's throw is on the money and Santander thinks twice about it.
Cedric Mullins jumps on the first pitch and lines it directly to Jose Altuve for the first out. The Astros needed that.
Ryan O'hearn comes to the plate now and poops one over to second base. Peña and Altuve had a miscommunication and the ball falls to the ground. They rule it a hit but that was an error really. Santander advances to third and O'hearn is safe at first.
Anthony Santander leads off and attacks the fastball early, ripping it into the right field corner. Tucker fields it but Santander is in at second with a leadoff double.
Dusty Baker will go to his bullpen and call on Hector Neris to replace Cristian Javier after five good innings of work.
Chas McCormick will try and make something happen with that base runner for Houston. He pops a curve ball into right field where Anthony Santander hauls it in to end the inning. The threat is neutralized and we are still 1-0 at the end of five.
Yainer Diaz comes to the plate with one out and a runner in scoring position. He gets fooled by three sliders and goes down swinging for out number two. That slider from Bradish is insane!
The next pitch is another slider and Abreu swings and misses for the first out.
Jose Abreu now gets a steady run of low sliders and te 2-2 delivery is in the dirt, skipping away from Rutschman and Bregman advances to second base on the wild pitch.
Bregman takes a strike before getting ball four for another free pass. That is his second walk today.
Alex Bregman will lead off for the Astros here in the fifth and Bradish keeps to the low end of the zone. Bregman is not biting and the count runs to 3-0
Adley Rutschman now comes to the plate to see if he can get anything going. He nubs one into shallow left. Jeremy Peña chases it down from short stop and manages to get to it to end the inning!
Henderson goes down swinging at a high changeup for the second out. That is the third strikout for Henderson today.
Gunnar Henderson will now stand in as the Astros bullpen gets to work loosening up.
Maldonado heads out to calm Javier down.
Javier goes to first with a lazy pickoff attempt before coming to the plate with a low fastball that misses for ball four. Runners now on first and second with one out.
Ramon Urías now with one out and one on and he gets out ahead 3-1. Javier jams him with a fastball to fill the count. Frazier was running on the pitch but it was fouled back.
The payoff pitch is fouled off again. Again Frazier was running. We will do it again.
Adam Frazier up now and he taps a soft line drive to shortstop Jeremy Peña, who bobbles it and Frazier beats it out.
Austin Hays will lead off for the O's and gets a steady fastball-curve diet before a changeup befuddles him for a swinging strike three.
Kyle Tucker now comes up with two outs and nobody on. He grounds a slow roller to second for the final out of the inning. The Astros are at sixes and sevens here against Bradish through four. Baltimore leading 1-0
Jeremy Peña sees nothing but sliders from Bradish whips the fourth one right back to the mound. Bradish is able to react and get his glove up for the quick out.
The Astros will have the top of the order here in the fourth with Altuve, Peña, and Tucker.
Jose Altuve flied out to left his first at-bat. He loves to jump on early pitches and so it is but he swings through three of them for the first out. Altuve is clearly frustrated and throws the bat as he walks off.
DH Heston Kjerstad now and Javier goes straight at him. Two quick strikes and two foul balls before the 0-2 delivery misses high.
Javier goes right back to the well with another high fastball and Kjerstad swings through it for strike three to end the inning.
Cedric Mullins now comes up and Javier misses the first three pitches to make it 3-0.
Mullins takes a hack and skies a towering fly ball to center field for Meyers. He puts it away for the second out.
An outside fastball catches O'hearn off balance. A check swing foul tip is hauled in by Maldonado for strike three. One away
Ryan O'hearn leads off for the O's here in the fourth and Javier paints the zone with two quick sliders for strikes.
One more pitch and Maldonado goes down swinging to end the inning.
Maldonado falls behind 1-2 and Bradish goes to first again. McCormick is off for second and Bradish pitches up and away, a kind of mini pitch out, and McCormick is dead to rights at second.
Martín Maldonado will stand in now and Bradish makes a pick move to first, respecting McCormick's speed. He can only do that once more and Chas is now a bigger threat than before.
Bradish attacks the zone and Meyers goes down on three pitches for out number one.
Chas has 19 stolen bases and needs only one more for a 20-20 season.
Jake Meyers will come up and see if he can push that base runner 90 feet further along.
Chas McCormick leads off for Houston in the third. Bradish stays with his breaking ball bread and butter, working the bottom of the zone, and the count runs to full. The payoff is a two seamer which jams McCormick. Broken bat and it rolls slowly to third. Chas has wheels and he beats the throw for an infield hit!
Anthony Santander will see if he can do anything with a base runner and two outs. He gets a low breaking ball that he hits well to straightaway center field. Jake Meyers takes a few steps back and puts it away to end the inning.
Adley Rutschman will try his luck now and Javier goes fastball fastball fastball, all for balls. He goes back to that slider to get two strikes and run it full.
The payoff is a low fastball to give Rutschman the free pass.
The next two pitches miss to run the count full. The payoff from Javier is a lovely four seamer with beautiful ride on it. Henderson swings through it for out number two. Javier has excellent control right now, painting the edges of that zone.
Back to the top of the order and Gunnar Henderson now stands in. Javier gives him three sliders and two of them hit the outside edge of the plate for a 1-2 count.
The number nine hitter, Ramon Urías will lead off for the Orioles here. Three straight strikes and Javier makes quick work of him for one out.
Diaz sees five straight sliders to run the count full. The payoff pitch is right down the middle and simply jelly-legs Diaz for a called strike three to end the inning.
Yainer Diaz will see if he can keep the Astros alive here.
Jose Abreu will see if he can do anything with the runner. Instead, he bounces one to short for an easy double play, wiping out any advantage that Houston may have had here.
Bregman excercises his discerning eye to get the count to 3-1 before an extremely generous call on a high strike runs it full. The payoff went back to the same spot and the umpire couldn't in good conscience call it a strike agaiin. Bregman gets a team-leading 86th walk to lead us off.
Alex Bregman will lead off for the Astros in the second and is as solid a hitter as you could hope for in baseball. He has no real holes in his swing and is generally good for contact and power.
Adam Frazier will stand in now and works the count to 2-2 before tipping a slider into the glove of Maldonado for the third out.
Austin Hays will try his hand now and puts one high in the air to left center. Chaz McCormick calls for it and puts it away for the second out.
Nothing fancy, Javier just goes after him and blows a fastball past Kjerstad for strike three. One down
Designated hitter Heston Kjerstad will lead off for the O's here in the second and Javier opens it up with a slider for a called strike one.
Tucker gets behind in the count and tips a fastball into the glove of Rutschman for strike three. So the Astros go in order and we move to the second inning, Baltimore still up by one.
Kyle Tucker will see if he can get something started for the Astros.
Another peach of a slider and Peña goes down swinging for the second out.
Jeremy Peña now for Houston and he gets in a hole quickly swinging at nice breaking balls to fall behind 1-2
Kyle Bradish is ready to face Jose Altuve to lead off here in the bottom half of the first inning. Altuve likes to jump on pitchers early and so he does again. A fly ball to left field is put away for the first out.
Javier delivers an elevated four seam fastball and Mullins can't catch up with it for strike three. Javier strikes out the side but not before the O's get on the board.
After a pickoff attempt, Santander takes off on the next pitch. The pitch missed for ball two and Santander easily beats the throw for a stolen base.
Two out and a runner now in scoring position for the O's.
Cedric Mullins now and he fouls two back to quickly fall behind 1-2
Javier manages to stay composed and fights back from a 3-1 count to beat O'hearn on a fastball up for the second out.
Ryan O'hearn comes to the dish now still with one out and now a runner on first.
Anthony Santander now comes up with one out and one on. He pokes a slow roller between short and third for a single. Rutschman rounds third and even with his slow pace is still able to beat the throw and open the scoring. 1-0 Orioles.
Adley Rutschman now stands in for Baltimore and quickly gets in a hole swinging at a beauty of a changeup to make it 0-2. Javier tries to sneak that change up past him again but Rutschman booms it off the base of the right field wall for a one out double.
Javier comes back with three straight breaking pitches and gets Henderson swinging for the first out.
The Astros are on the field and Cristian Javier is ready to face Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson and get things going. The opening offering is a fastball wide for ball one.
Both teams are currently warming up and we are less than 20 minutes from the opening pitch here in Houston.
Orioles Batting Order
1. Henderson (SS)
2. Rutschman (C)
3. Santander (RF)
4. O’Hearn (1B)
5. Mullins (CF)
6. Kjerstad (DH)
7. Hays (LF)
8. Frazier (2B)
9. Urías (3B)
The Home Team
Astros Batting Order
1. Altuve (2B)
2. Peña (SS)
3. Tucker (RF)
4. Bregman (3B)
5. Abreu (1B)
6. Diaz (DH)
7. McCormick (LF)
8. Meyers (CF)
9. Maldonado (C)
Kyle Bradish (RHP)
11 - 7
Cristian Javier (RHP)
9 - 4
On the mound, the Orioles will tap their 27-year-old right hander out of New Mexico State, Kyle Bradish. In the middle of a breakout year, none of the big stars on Baltimore’s lineup are more responsible for their leading the AL East than he is. Sporting a four seamer and a sinker, Bradish’s true signature is an elite slider and a curve that is all but unhittable. He won’t overpower you with the heat, but has still racked up 150 strikeouts in 152.2 innings pitched this year. His 3.12 ERA and 1.09 WHIP belie how good he really is of late. A second half resurgence this season has seen him throw a 2.62 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP over the last fifteen games.
The story on the other side is a mirror version, with the Astros starting Cristian Javier who has struggled recently. As close to lights out as can be imagined over the past two seasons, Javier has been to the big show and shined at the job, but lately is hemorrhaging home runs. Most of his trouble has been on the road, with a respectable 3.86 ERA in Minute Maid Park. This is doubly impressive versus the Orioles lineup, where Javier has held them to only a .151 batting average as a team this season. Tonight he will be using all of his wiliness and power to try and avoid the sweep.
The Landscape in the American League
These are two teams who are both in the driving seat in their respective divisions, and both in desperate need of a win tonight.
Baltimore have been the team to beat in the AL East all season and while they are miles out in front of the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox, there is still enough rope left in the regular season for Tampa Bay to claw their way up and shoplift the season away from them.
The Astros are in an altogether more precarious spot. Only a half a game in front of both the Mariners and Rangers, Houston have spent most of the season chasing Texas and with a loss tonight could find themselves fighting to stay out of third place in the AL West.
While the Mariners and Rangers still have to go head to head twice over the next week, Houston will face Seattle in between those two series, making for a true Mexican standoff for the top spot in what has been hands-down the most competitive division in baseball this year. The first of the three teams to blink in this duel could find themselves out of the postseason entirely.
Welcome to the Diario AS USA live commentary of game three of the series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Houston Astros. We are ramping up into the final weeks of the regular season and will hit the ground running with full coverage of the MLB post season as the battle to get to a 2023 World Series champion heats up.