HOUSTON -- Dylan Bundy, a bright spot in an otherwise struggling Orioles rotation, had another quality outing against the Astros on Wednesday, but Baltimore's offense didn't produce quite enough to squeak out a win.Instead, on a day Houston starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel wasn't at his best and its vaunted offense
HOUSTON -- Dylan Bundy, a bright spot in an otherwise struggling Orioles rotation, had another quality outing against the Astros on Wednesday, but Baltimore's offense didn't produce quite enough to squeak out a win.
Instead, on a day Houston starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel wasn't at his best and its vaunted offense wasn't crushing the ball, the Astros found another way to win, topping the Orioles, 3-2, at Minute Maid Park.
"Our guys really grinded through," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We just couldn't get that hit. That's a tribute to [Keuchel]. He kept us from really opening up a bit and kept them in the game."
It came down to who was able to come through with the late-game clutch hit. The Orioles had a couple of chances, but couldn't deliver. Jonathan Schoop, who reached base in four of five plate appearances and logged his second three-hit game of 2018, led off the fifth with a base hit, but was erased on a double-play ball from Adam Jones.
Schoop doubled with one out in the seventh but was stranded when Jones grounded out and Trey Mancini flied out to center.
Meanwhile, the Astros pushed across the tying run on a squeeze bunt by Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth inning and used a stolen base by Derek Fisher in the seventh to set up Alex Bregman's go-ahead single.
For two teams that have either given up a lot of runs so far this season (Baltimore) or scored a lot (Houston), Wednesday's game was unusual. Still, despite the Orioles' 1-5 start to the season, there were positives to draw from Wednesday's game -- namely, Bundy's second solid outing to begin 2018.
Combined with seven shutout innings on Opening Day, Bundy has allowed two runs (one earned) over 13 innings.
"It's been fun to watch," Showalter said. "You never think anything's a given going into a season, but to see him get off to this type of start. ... I thought coming out of the spring he deserved to be our first starter, and it really makes you feel good about that confidence you had in him."
Bundy struck out eight Houston batters, bringing his season total to 15. He's the first Orioles pitcher in history to fan eight in four consecutive road games. Through that run, Bundy has recorded 36 strikeouts over 25 innings.
During one stretch Wednesday, he struck out seven of 12 batters.
"It was a battle," Bundy said. "Everybody knows who that team is. You just have to execute your pitches. You try to work ahead of them as much as you can and use their aggressiveness against them."
Bundy was sharper than Keuchel, who struggled with this control and needed 104 pitches to get through five innings. He allowed five hits and two runs (one earned) and walked four batters.
The Astros have won 14 of 16 from the Orioles since the start of 2016 and have won nine in a row against Baltimore in Houston. The Orioles' last win at Minute Maid Park was June 4, 2015.
The Orioles will play five teams this month that were in the postseason in 2017, and they have back-to-back series against the clubs that faced off in the American League Championship Series. Following the Astros series, the O's were off to New York for a four-game set with the Yankees.
"I think we're all good," Bundy said. "Six games in? It's definitely not the start we wanted and what we're used to, but it's baseball. We have to keep going out there every day and play the way we know how to play."
Added Schoop: "We're getting there. Everybody's clicking a little bit. There's still work to do -- we've just got to worry about the next series that comes."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Putting on the squeeze: Aggressive baserunning on a throwing error from Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander helped the Astros tie the game in the sixth inning. Altuve singled, went to second on a Josh Reddick single and third on an errant throw by Santander, putting Gonzalez in position to drop a rare squeeze bunt to score Altuve and tie the game at 2-2.
Stolen base payoff: Fisher, who scored the winning run from second base in Game 5 of the World Series on a walkoff single by Bregman, made his speed pay off again Wednesday when he swiped second base in the seventh inning and scored moments later in a single to left by -- you guessed it -- Bregman to put the Astros ahead, 3-2.
"Dylan has three or four pitches, and at some time today, they were all available to him. He really pitches to weakness as well. You go through a scouting report with him, and you know he's going to retain it and attack it." -- Showalter
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Schoop extended his hitting streak vs. the Astros to seven games with a 3-for-4 performance in Wednesday's series finale. He has a .484 average (15-for-31) with three doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs during his streak.
Orioles: Baltimore opens a four-game set with the Yankees in the Bronx on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. ET, marking its first intradivision series of 2018. Right-hander Andrew Cashner will take the mound for Baltimore looking to improve upon his first outing of the season, in which he allowed five runs (four earned) over five innings in a loss to the Twins on Saturday.
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Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Orioles on Wednesday.