BALTIMORE -- Yefry Ramirez went a career-high six innings, but the Orioles offense had no answer for the Astros, falling 5-2 in a doubleheader sweep on Saturday night.The Astros, who clinched the American League West earlier this week, may not have a lot to play for this final series. But
BALTIMORE -- Yefry Ramirez went a career-high six innings, but the Orioles offense had no answer for the Astros, falling 5-2 in a doubleheader sweep on Saturday night.
The Astros, who clinched the American League West earlier this week, may not have a lot to play for this final series. But they're still an exceptionally tough opponent for the O's, winning 17 of 19 games between the two teams dating back to the start of 2016. The Orioles are winless in six games against the defending World Series champions this season and have been held to six runs total in the first three games of the series.
"We're just not doing much offensively against some good pitching. How many runs did we score in 18 innings? Not many, obviously," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's good to see [Ramirez] and Dylan Bundy and David Hess with some competitive outings. We just didn't do much offensively. Didn't support them real defensively. But they did their part to give us a chance to win. That's what I'll take out of these first three games."
Ramirez, like Bundy in Game 1, turned in a quality start despite the loss. The 24-year-old righty struggled with his command at times, most notably walking in a run in the fourth, but was able to hold Houston to three runs in the 107-pitch outing.
"It's really satisfying," Ramirez, through an interpreter, said of finally getting through six for a quality start. "It really gave me confidence."
The Astros, who took the lead for good on Jake Marisnick's bases-loaded free pass in the fourth, added a run in the sixth and scored a pair off Orioles reliever Mike Wright Jr. in the eighth.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel went just three innings in his final tuneup, allowing only Austin Wynns' second-inning RBI single. The O's scored a second run on Lance McCullers's wild pitch in the seventh.
For Ramirez, who ends the year 1-8 with a 5.92 ERA, 2018 was about learning at the big league level as it was for many of his teammates.
"Most important is to learn from this experience, try to avoid the same mistakes," he said. "I made some mistakes tonight. I also made some mistakes against the Yankees. I'm going to try to learn and try to avoid those mistakes again [in the future]."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Short in the seventh: Down two, the Orioles loaded the bases with one out on Framber Valdez before Astros manager AJ Hinch inserted McCullers. After the wild pitch, which allowed Renato Nunez to score, McCullers settled down. He struck out Corban Joseph and got Cedric Mullins to ground out to keep it 3-2.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Jones has gotten ovations all weekend, but when he dug in in the sixth inning the crowd started chanting, "Adam, Adam," and in the first, Jones made a diving four-star catch. There was a 31 percent catch probability after he had to go 62 feet in 3.8 seconds, according to Statcast™.
The longtime outfielder, who started his 11th consecutive Opening Day for Baltimore in center field, and wife Audie -- in partnership with the Orioles Charitable Foundation -- donated $150,000 to local nonprofits on Saturday. More >
The Orioles will face Astros starter Charlie Morton in their final game of 2018. Jones, the Orioles' longest-tenured active player, will take center stage in what could be his final game with Baltimore. The 33-year-old is a free agent at season's end. Rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis will start for the Orioles. First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. ET.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.