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Marwin Gonzalez ignites five-run sixth as Houston Astros jolt Baltimore Orioles

By
Jeff Seidel, The Sports Xchange
Houston Astros' Marwin Gonzalez hits the ball. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Houston Astros' Marwin Gonzalez hits the ball. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

BALTIMORE -- Marwin Gonzalez was not supposed to be batting in the sixth inning for the Houston Astros, and it may have been better for the Baltimore Orioles if he hadn't.

Gonzalez belted a pinch-hit, three-run homer off Darren O'Day, sparking a five-run sixth that gave Houston the lead for good in an 8-4 win over Baltimore on Saturday night.

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Baltimore (46-51) took a 4-1 lead into the sixth, but starter Chris Tillman gave up a two-run homer to Yuli Gurriel that was originally ruled a double. After a review, it was changed to a home run.

O'Day (1-3) then replaced Tillman. The right-hander gave up two singles and, with two outs, Gonzalez was summoned to pinch hit after Colin Moran fouled a pitch off his face near his left eye and needed to be carted off.

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Gonzalez then belted his three-run shot to right on the eighth pitch to him by O'Day, and that gave the Astros (65-32) a 6-4 lead. The third baseman later doubled and finished 2-for-2 with the three RBIs, but it was the home run that changed the game.

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"That was a scary moment for us," Gonzalez said. "I just focused to have a good at-bat, and I was trying to bring the runner on second (in) and tie the game, but I got a homer and that was even better for the team."

It was Gonzalez's 18th homer and Houston's first pinch-hit homer this year.

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O'Day gave his best wishes to Moran afterward but was upset with himself for not being able to finish off the inning and giving up the home run.

"I thought I had him set up for a pitch there and I didn't execute, so I just made a mistake," O'Day said. "It's really unacceptable for a team that's kind of fighting for every win. I just didn't get the job done."

The Moran injury overshadowed the victory as it clearly shook up his teammates.

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"He's at the hospital getting evaluated for everything from a concussion to a fracture," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's going to go through an array of tests. It was a pretty scary incident. I go on the field and he's got blood on the face. Blood is generally you don't see in our sport."

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Hinch also said Moran, who is the nephew of former lon-time Oriole B.J. Surhoff, is likely headed to the disabled list. Moran was 1-for-2 in this game and 3-for-6 (with a homer plus a triple Friday) in the series.

Evan Gattis had an RBI single and Carlos Beltran added a sacrifice fly as Houston scored its final two runs in the ninth.

Francis Martes (3-0) relieved starter Collin McHugh and picked up the win thanks to 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

McHugh pitched in his first game of the season after recovering from elbow impingement and sailed through the early going until giving up two-run homers to Adam Jones and Jonathan Schoop in the fifth that gave Baltimore its 4-1 lead.

The Astros improved to 5-0 against the Orioles this season.

Still, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter liked what he saw from Tillman, who gave up three runs and six hits in the 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and no walks.

"It's another good outing by Chris," Showalter said. "The line may not look as well as he pitched tomorrow, but I was real encouraged with Chris last two outings."

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Neither team did much offensively early, with each leaving runners on the corners once.

McHugh needed 27 pitches to get through the first inning after a 58-minute rain delay.

The Astros took a 1-0 in the fifth when Alex Bregman homered on Tillman's first pitch of the inning.

The Orioles turned it around in the bottom half when Jones and Schoop both hit two-run homers with two outs. That ended McHugh's night and gave the Orioles a 4-1 lead.

NOTES: Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the following while speaking with some fans at a "State of the Orioles" event: "I don't believe all this stuff that says we have half the club on the market, because we've got a lot of baseball left to be played," according to MASN. ... Orioles RHP Mike Wright (shoulder bursitis) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. ... Houston 2B Jose Altuve's first-inning single gave him a 14-game hitting streak, tying a career high. ... The Astros moved RHP Joe Musgrove to the bullpen with the return of RHP Collin McHugh to the starting rotation.

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