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O's held to Mancini's HR in Houston's opener

Special to MLB.com

HOUSTON -- When Trey Mancini took Collin McHugh deep on the first pitch of the ninth inning Monday night, Mancini's first home run of the season snapped the Orioles' 17-inning scoreless streak.

It's been a rough start offensively for the Orioles through four games this season. Monday was no exception. Baltimore totaled six hits -- three came over the final two innings -- in the Orioles' 6-1 loss to the Astros, who were in a celebratory mood before, throughout and after the game at Minute Maid Park.

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HOUSTON -- When Trey Mancini took Collin McHugh deep on the first pitch of the ninth inning Monday night, Mancini's first home run of the season snapped the Orioles' 17-inning scoreless streak.

It's been a rough start offensively for the Orioles through four games this season. Monday was no exception. Baltimore totaled six hits -- three came over the final two innings -- in the Orioles' 6-1 loss to the Astros, who were in a celebratory mood before, throughout and after the game at Minute Maid Park.

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The packed home crowd of 42,675 had reason to be festive after the Astros unveiled their 2017 championship banner prior to the game.

Not so for the Orioles, who have scored four runs on 12 hits over their past three games. They didn't get the start they were hoping for from starter Chris Tillman, who exited in the fifth after issuing a leadoff walk to Josh Reddick.

"It's the first four games, we've got 158 more to go," said Baltimore third baseman Tim Beckham, who was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .067. "We just want to go out there and play good baseball.

"It hasn't gone our way early in the first four games, no one is pressing. We just have to keep grinding out good at-bats, and it will definitely turn. We're a great ballclub, and we have great hitters, and we're going to hit. It's a matter of time, and once we get it going, we're going to get on a roll and have some fun."

It hasn't been much fun in the early going for the Orioles, who have lost three straight after winning their season opener on a walk-off home run by Adam Jones.

Jones had two of the three hits that Houston starter Charlie Morton allowed Monday, including a single to lead off the second inning, when the Orioles missed a chance to score with the bases loaded. The inning ended when No. 9 hitter Caleb Joseph lined out sharply to Gonzalez at first base.

The Orioles' lack of hitting and scoring can be attributed to most of the players slumping out of the gate, as well as good pitching from the opposition. Baltimore has not scored a run this season off a starting pitcher in 27 innings.

"It's a combination, but it's the big leagues," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You face good pitching. It's the biggest jump in sports, the level of pitching in the Minor Leagues to the big leagues.

"But we got guys with track records [of hitting], just like other clubs have struggled early on in the season. You'd like to see it happen yesterday and happen every day and every at-bat. It's hard to do. We're four games into the season, and I try not to make too much out of it. You got to trust your people that have done it for you."

Mancini's homer to the deepest part of the field in straightaway center traveled 394 feet. Colby Rasmus followed with a double that hit the base of the center-field wall.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Leave 'em loaded: The Orioles loaded the bases in the second inning on a walk, a hit batter and a two-out walk. Morton bore down against Joseph and got him to hit a line drive right to Marwin Gonzalez at first base to end the inning. That began a stretch in which Morton sent down 13 of the final 16 Orioles hitters he faced.

Video: BAL@HOU: Gonzalez snags liner with the bases loaded

Triple the fun: Derek Fisher's RBI triple in the fourth inning was his second in as many games. Fisher's hit traveled 379 feet to center field and bounced off the wall, allowing catcher Brian McCann to score all the way from first for a 3-0 lead. According to Statcast™, Fisher reached a top sprint speed of 29.2 feet per second, while the rumbling McCann was at 22.9 feet per second.

Video: BAL@HOU: Fisher plates McCann with triple to center

QUOTABLE
"That was the highlight of the night for me. I had to go up the runway. God bless him. I know how well-respected and popular he is for the right reasons." -- Showalter, on Rich Dauer, a former Astros coach and Orioles player who threw out the ceremonial first pitch in an emotional moment, five months after undergoing successful surgery after suffering a life-threatening blood clot in the brain

Tweet from @Orioles: Rich Dauer, former Astros coach who spent his 10-year playing career with the #Orioles and was a member of the O���s 1983 World Series Championship team, threw out the first pitch tonight in Houston. #Birdland pic.twitter.com/p22QMToPAU

CORREA EXITS
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is day to day after being removed from Monday's game after two innings due to discomfort in his left big toe. Correa fouled a ball off his foot Sunday in Arlington but stayed in that game.

WHAT'S NEXT
Right-hander Mike Wright Jr. is rewarded with the start after having a solid Spring Training, while the Orioles wait for Alex Cobb to get ready to join the rotation. Tuesday's middle game of the three-game series starts at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Orioles on Monday.

Baltimore Orioles, Trey Mancini, Chris Tillman