Gonzalez Pinch-Hit HR Carries Astros To 8-4 Win Over Orioles

BALTIMORE (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez stepped in for injured Colin Moran and delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the sixth inning to propel the Houston Astros past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Saturday night.

Moran fouled a ball off his left eye and had difficulty standing before being carted from the field. An update on his condition was not immediately available.

Gonzalez subsequently ended a nine-pitch at-bat by driving a 2-2 offering from Darren O’Day (1-3) over the right-field wall and onto Eutaw Street. It was Houston’s first pinch-hit homer of the season, and it capped a five-run uprising that wiped out Baltimore’s 4-1 lead.

Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel also homered for the Astros, who will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. Houston has won eight straight over the Orioles spanning two seasons.

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his season debut and Francis Martes (3-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

McHugh went 19-7 in 2015 and 13-10 last year before being diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis at spring training. He was shut down after one inning in a rehab start for Triple-A Fresno on April 6, returned to the mound on June 30 and pitched in four games with Double-A Corpus Christi before being activated Saturday.

McHugh showed no ill effects from the layoff — until the fifth inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to Seth Smith, he got two quick outs before it started to rain. An instant later, Adam Jones drove a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats.

Manny Machado followed with a single and Jonathan Schoop chased McHugh with a shot that wasted no time clearing the left-field wall.

Gurriel shaved the margin with a two-run drive off Chris Tillman in the sixth, and Gonzalez completed the comeback.

Tillman and McHugh had to wait through a 58-minute rain delay before the game began. They were locked in a scoreless duel until Bregman led off the fifth inning with his ninth home run, the first in 69 at-bats since June 23.

NOT SELLING?

Orioles vice president of baseball operations doesn’t sound like he’s going to be dealing away talent before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. “We’re going to see what we can do this week to help our ballclub,” Dan Duquette told fans at the annual midseason “State of the Orioles” session.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: McHugh’s activation from the disabled list forced RHP Joe Musgrove (4-8, 6.12 ERA) out of the rotation. After Houston scored two in the ninth, Musgrove worked a perfect bottom half.

Orioles: RHP Mike Wright (right shoulder bursitis) was activated from the 10-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. … INF Ryan Flaherty (shoulder) says he might be ready to return three games after his rehab assignment begins next Thursday. “I can do everything. I’m just trying to build my arm strength up,” Flaherty said Saturday.

UP NEXT

All-Star RHP Lance McCullers (7-2, 3.28 ERA) pitches for Houston on Sunday. He’s 3-0 in three career starts against Baltimore with 29 strikeouts in 20 innings. The Orioles will counter with RHP Dylan Bundy (9-8, 4.18 ERA), the only member of the starting rotation with a winning record.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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