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11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, April 4, 2018
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 27,698

Astros assured of another series win, go for sweep of O's

According to STATS
According to STATS

Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros

  1. The Astros have won 11 of their last 13 meetings with the Orioles dating back to the start of the 2016 season. Their 11-2 record versus the Orioles is their best record against any AL opponent since that time.
  2. The Orioles are slugging an MLB-worst .115 in the first eight innings this season, but they are slugging .813 in the ninth inning or later, the second-best mark in baseball behind the Nationals (.833).
  3. Jose Altuve has tallied nine hits in his first four games of the season, tied for the third most by an Astro in the last 30 years. Only Craig Biggio (11 in 2011) and Richard Hidalgo (10 in 2004) have notched more.
  4. Manny Machado has reached base (via a hit, walk, or hit by pitch) seven times this season, accounting for 29.2 percent of the Orioles' 24 total times reaching base—the highest percentage in MLB.
  5. Charlie Morton went 14-7 in 25 starts last season. Morton held opposing hitters to an average of .119 (21/176) against his curveball last season, the fourth-best mark in baseball (minimum 100 AB on curveballs).
  6. Chris Tillman went 1-7 (.125) in 24 appearances last season, a year after going 16-6 (.727) in 2016. Tillman's .602 decrease in winning percentage from 2016 to 2017 was the third-largest decrease in MLB history from one season to the next (minimum 15 starts both season).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/2/2018 thru 4/4/2018

HOUSTON -- Before Houston Astros ace right-hander Justin Verlander could settle in and pitch his club to a series victory against Baltimore, Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop ambushed him.

And after the Astros forged ahead to present Verlander the lead, he scuffled again, allowing a second home run, this one to Adam Jones, to put the Astros at a deficit again.

It didn't matter.

Houston (5-1) claimed its second consecutive series victory to open defense of its World Series title by slugging its way to a 10-6 victory, setting the stage for a sweep of the Orioles (1-4) on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. Verlander finished with nine strikeouts but wasn't sharp, allowing four runs while failing to escape the sixth inning. The offense bailed him out.

While six Astros scored, right fielder Josh Reddick (2-for-4, six RBIs) and Carlos Correa (2-for-2 with three RBIs and three runs) carried the load. Correa did so on a cranky left big toe, delivering an inside-the-park home run in the first inning and a sacrifice fly in the third.

Correa departed prior to the eighth inning and, with a scheduled day off Thursday, will not participate in the series finale.

"He played uncomfortable," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Correa, who reached via a walk in the seventh inning just prior to Reddick smacking a grand slam. "It doesn't look like it sometimes, especially when he has an inside-the-park home run, but he was still pretty uncomfortable. Once we got the lead like that (10-5) it was pretty easy to take him out."

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will make his second start of the season and first at Minute Maid Park, where he is 36-21 with a 2.87 ERA over 80 career appearances (74 starts). Keuchel has made six prior appearances against the Orioles, all starts, going 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He faced Baltimore once last season, allowing one run on four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over six innings in a 5-2 win at Minute Maid Park on May 27.

The Orioles will counter with right-hander Dylan Bundy (0-0, 0.00 ERA) as he makes his second start with an extra day of rest. Bundy worked seven shutout innings on Opening Day against Minnesota, allowing five hits and one walk while recording seven strikeouts in a no-decision.

Bundy is 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA over two career appearances (one start) against the Astros. He did not factor in the decision in his lone start against Houston last season despite allowing seven runs on eight hits (including two homers) and three walks with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. The Orioles recorded a 9-7 win at Houston on July 23.

Right-hander Mike Wright Jr., made what might amount to a spot start on Tuesday. Baltimore is anticipating the return of right-hander Alex Cobb perhaps as early as next week. Cobb, a free-agent signee during the offseason, is scheduled to pitch a five-inning simulated game Wednesday, with a final decision on his status beyond that likely to come this weekend.

"It's mostly from him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the decision. "He's veteran enough and he's pitched enough innings. I watched his last outing. Most is going to come from what Alex is telling us. He's very mature about it."

Updated April 4, 2018

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