BALTIMORE -- Orioles rookie DJ Stewart hit a big game-tying homer, and Dylan Bundy posted a quality start in his season finale, but it wasn't enough to hold off the defending World Series champions.Carlos Correa's two-out ninth-inning double off Sean Gilmartin -- who has been one of the O's best
BALTIMORE -- Orioles rookie DJ Stewart hit a big game-tying homer, and Dylan Bundy posted a quality start in his season finale, but it wasn't enough to hold off the defending World Series champions.
Carlos Correa's two-out ninth-inning double off Sean Gilmartin -- who has been one of the O's best pitchers this month -- gave Houston the lead for good and a 4-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Camden Yards.
Bundy went six innings but struggled with the long ball, which has plagued him all of 2018. The Astros went deep back-to-back with George Springer and Correa making it 3-0 in the sixth.
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"He was pretty good, especially early on," manager Buck Showalter said of Bundy, who finishes the year 8-16 with a 5.45 ERA. "It gets magnified because of the way Justin Verlander's pitching, there's not going to be much margin for error. But I thought it was a pretty positive note, all things considered. He was carrying one of his better fastballs, had better command.
"I'm glad to see him end on a good note and also pitching his last start of the season, you like to be set for that. That's all you need to know about Dylan. It was important for him to pitch today."
The O's righty, who was the club's Opening Day starter, finishes the year having allowed a club-record 41 homers, though he can take solace in the first five innings of Saturday's outing and the seven strikeouts he accumulated.
"It's not great," Bundy said of his overall season, "but I finished the year healthy and ended strong."
The 25-year-old's goal this spring was 30 starts, and Bundy was able to surpass it by hitting 31, which is a career high.
Stewart, who made his big league debut on Sept. 12, hit his third career homer off Astros righty Joe Smith to tie the game in the seventh. After Verlander tossed six scoreless innings, Timothy Beckham delivered a one-out double off Smith to jump-start the offense. Renato Nunez walked before Stewart deposited an 0-1 slider into the right-center-field seats.
"I know now that I've been here, I can't get complacent, you got to work even harder to stay here. [First-base coach Wayne] Kirby says, you can get here, but it's even harder to stay here. That's my plan going into the offseason: to prepare like never before. Now that I've had a taste of it, I want more."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Almost, Not Quite: The Orioles got back-to-back singles in the ninth from Trey Mancini and Beckham but Nunez grounded into an easy double play to thwart the momentum. Hector Rondon got Stewart to strike out to end the game.
HE SAID IT
"He didn't break out the changeup until the fourth or fifth inning. Two curveballs, command. You see the things he's done. ... He's 35 years old. It's remarkable to watch him pitch, even though it's beating you. It's a good exposure of why they're good. He would have kept pitching I'm sure five or six days from now. I'd like to say it was fun to watch, but it was tough." -- Showalter, on Verlander
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.