Orioles set three-game series record for strikeouts
HOUSTON — After setting the major league record by striking out 52 times in a three-game sweep, the Baltimore Orioles couldn't wait to get out of Houston.
A 4-2 loss to the Astros on Thursday night was the final straw for slugger Adam Jones.
"This hasn't been fun," Jones said. "I look up there and see that we set the record for strikeouts in a three-game series. Let's get the hell out of Houston."
Astros starter Lance McCullers (1-1) allowed just one hit — a home run to Mark Trumbo — and had 10 strikeouts in five innings, helping Houston break the previous major league record of 47 set by Washington earlier this season.
Houston, which finished with 15 strikeouts, became the first club since 1913 to have at least that many in three consecutive games.
The Orioles have now lost four straight and have scored three runs or fewer in six of their last seven games.
"They're very frustrated and I'm frustrated for them," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "''Guys don't want any excuses. Nobody wants to hear about excuses and our guys are the last to use them, so it's not just one person, it's been a challenge for all of us even some guys who are normally good contact hitters."
Ken Giles gave up an RBI single to Manny Machado in the ninth but still finished up for his first save of the season.
George Springer's two homers, which came against Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman, went 430 and 443 feet, respectively. His first came on the second pitch of the game for the Astros' seventh leadoff homer of the season. The previous six were hit by Jose Altuve.
Gausman (0-2) allowed four runs and five hits — including three homers — in five innings after having previously allowed three home runs in 36 2/3 innings this season.
Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning for his fifth of the season.
"In this ballpark, if you leave pitches up to this club, they are going to be able to hurt you," Gausman said. "Valbuena kind of killed us this series. That was one thing I wanted to do was shut him down. That was one of the names I circled, and I didn't do it."
Showalter defended his starter and blamed the consistent lack of offensive production on the team's continued woes.
"Kevin's not the story for me — the story is not scoring any runs," Showalter said. "Kevin pitched well enough to win."
Gausman entered Thursday with some of the worst run support among Baltimore starters, getting just 13 runs in six starts.
"All of us are looking forward to getting out of here and going to Cleveland and hit the ground running," Gausman said. "We're all kind of scuffling right now."
Orioles: LHP T.J. McFarland, who was placed on the disabled list with a bruised patella on May 21, will throw a two-inning simulated game Friday, manager Buck Showalter said. He is expected to return to Triple-A Norfolk's active roster after that.
Astros: OF Carlos Gomez, who is on the disabled list with a bruised left ribcage, had a rest day in his rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday. Gomez went 1 for 4 with a solo home run in his second start in Corpus Christi on Wednesday night.
Orioles: Mike Wright (2-3, 4.97) is expected to make his 10th start on Friday in Cleveland. Despite going at least five innings in each start this season, Wright has just one win in his last four starts. Wright allowed five hits and two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 9-4 win over the Angels in his last outing.
Astros: Mike Fiers (3-2, 4.35) is scheduled to make his ninth start on Friday against the Angels. Fiers had a three-game winning streak snapped in his last start against Texas, taking a loss despite allowing just two runs in seven innings. He leads Astros starters with a 3.19 ERA since April 23.