The Baltimore Orioles will try to bounce back from a damaging loss when they host the Houston Astros in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday.
After blanking Houston in the first two games, Baltimore appeared on the verge of winning a slugfest when it took a 9-7 lead in the eighth inning Saturday night. But the Astros rallied for four runs in the ninth and held on for an 11-10 win.
The loss, coupled with a win by Seattle, left Baltimore (79-72) four games behind the Mariners for the final American League wild-card spot with 11 games remaining.
“Every game you lose right now hurts, and we’ve got to rebound, and we’ve got a day game tomorrow,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Saturday. “We’ll try to win a series tomorrow.”
Despite the loss, Baltimore leads the season series 4-2.
The playoff-bound Astros (100-53) helped manager Dusty Baker become just the fourth manager in major league history to win 100 games in both leagues.
“It’s been a record-setting year in many ways, and we’ve got a couple more records to go,” Baker said.
Right-hander Cristian Javier (10-9, 2.77 ERA) will go for the Astros on Sunday as they seek the series split. Javier has won his last three decisions and has given up three earned runs or less in each of his past 12 starts.
He is coming off allowing no runs on one hit with six strikeouts and four walks over five innings in a 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.
Javier is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three relief appearances against the Orioles.
Baltimore will counter on Sunday with right-hander Austin Voth (5-3, 4.32), who has allowed three earned runs or less in each of his 16 starts this season for the Orioles after being acquired on waivers from the Washington Nationals. In his last outing, Voth allowed two runs on six hits in five innings during a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.
Voth is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two games — one start — vs. Houston.
On Saturday night, the Astros tied the score 7-7 in the eighth before Anthony Santander’s second homer of the night, a two-run shot, put Baltimore ahead 9-7.
Bautista, so reliable for the Orioles this season, couldn’t seal the win. Kyle Tucker’s double to right tied it, and Yuli Gurriel’s two-run single against Jake Reed made it 11-9.
It wasn’t a save chance as Bautista finished the eighth and was in line for the win.
“It’s difficult for sure,” Bautista said. “I couldn’t go out and complete the job, but at the end of the day, it’s an experience that I’m going to learn from, and I know next time I go out there I’ll be better.”
Cedric Mullins also homered for Baltimore.
Jose Altuve homered for Houston, which broke out of a mini slump with 12 hits, including two each by Tucker, Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez.
“They got some big hits, we got some big hits. They were celebrating, we were celebrating,” Baker said. “I’m just glad we won. That was a strange game.”
Houston shortstop Jeremy Pena left the game with a facial abrasion after sliding across home plate in the fifth inning and is day-to-day.