HOUSTON (AP) — Consecutive strong starts from a pair of young pitchers has propelled the Baltimore Orioles to two wins over the Houston Astros.
Anthony Santander and Austin Hays homered, and Dean Kremer pitched into the eighth inning, leading the Orioles to a 3-1 win over the Astros on Saturday night.
Kremer (6-4) allowed four hits and a run in a career-high 7 2/3 innings as the Orioles continued their strong play against the American League-leading Astros (81-47) in their pursuit of the third wild-card spot.
The 26-year-old Kremer’s performance comes a night after rookie Kyle Bradish threw eight scoreless innings in Baltimore’s 2-0 win in the series opener.
“So impressed,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Two deep starts from two guys that haven’t been in the big leagues very long and are showing so much improvement … just watching a couple of young guys really learn at the big-league level and in a tight race and in important games. So it’s a lot of fun.”
Kremer was excited to build on what Bradish did Friday night.
“I believe every day is a different day, but watching him set the table made me feel like I can do this, too,” he said.
Santander’s two-run shot came off José Urquidy (12-5) with one out in the third inning, and Hays connected with two outs in the frame to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
Kremer retired Kyle Tucker on a fly ball for the first out of the eighth inning, but the Astros believed catcher Adley Rutschman interfered with the at-bat and challenged. The call was upheld after a review.
There were two outs in the inning when Trey Mancini singled, chasing Kremer. He was replaced by rookie Félix Bautista, who struck out David Hensley, who was playing in his first MLB game, to end the inning.
Bautista returned and struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his 10th save.
“They’re pitching the heck out of us,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They’re throwing everything in the book at us: cutters, changeups, breaking balls. They’re pitching and their bullpen — we knew it was good coming in here — but they’re just pitching the heck out of us.”
The Orioles have won three straight and five of six.
“I love how we’re playing the game right now,” Hyde said.
Urquidy yielded four hits and three runs in five innings to snap a four-game winning streak, his longest of the season.
“He was just missing in the strike zone and pitching from behind,” Baker said. “It was fortunate that he only gave up three runs.”
Rutschman doubled with one out in the third inning before Santander launched his 23rd home run into the second deck in right field to make it 2-0.
There were two outs in the inning when Hays sent a slider from Urquidy into the seats in left field to extend the lead to 3-0.
Kremer retired the first nine batters he faced before José Altuve singled with one out in the fourth inning. But he was erased when Yuli Gurriel grounded into a double play before Yordan Alvarez grounded out to end the inning.
Houston didn’t get another hit until Altuve doubled with no outs in the seventh. The Astros cut the lead to 3-1 on a one-out single by Alvarez. But Alex Bregman grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Astros: Utility player Aledmys Díaz (left groin discomfort) did some fielding work Saturday as he continues to recover from his injury. There is no timetable for his return.
ODDS & ENDS
Tucker went 0 for 3 to snap a career-long 17-game hitting streak. … Hensley was 0 for 3 in his major league debut.
Houston’s Justin Verlander, whose 1.87 ERA leads the majors, looks for his major league-leading 17th win as the series wraps up Sunday. Austin Voth (4-1, 4.73) is set to start for Baltimore.
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