April 27: Baltimore 7, Houston 2
This ended up being the only game of the series in which both starters got out of the second inning. It was a fairly ho-hum affair that Harry Howell had under control in a complete game. Cesar Cedeno was Mr. Everything for Houston, scoring both Houston runs, one on a homer, and throwing out two Orioles at the plate on plays no one in the stadium thought he had a chance on. Octavio Dotel fumbled up four runs while facing just five batters in the eighth.
R H BB BAL 000 300 040 - 7 16 3 HOU 010 100 000 - 2 7 2 HR: C. Ripken (2), M. Wieters (1), C. Cedeno (2) starters IP R ER HR BB SO H. Howell 9 2 1 1 2 4 M. Cuellar 7 3 3 1 1 6 BAL 12-10, HOU 9-12
April 28: Baltimore 9, Houston 8 (10 innings)
The Astros pounced on Jack Powell for six runs in the first two innings, but couldn’t hold the lead. Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou went yard back-to-back in the first against Powell, typically one of the toughest pitchers to take deep. But Baltimore relievers Hoyt Wilhelm, Gregg Olson, Stu Miller, Jim Palmer, and Darren O’Day combined to allow just two more runs after Powell was lifted in the second, and the steady attack of Baltimore bats kept chipping away and tied it up in the eighth. The top five Baltimore hitters (Ken Singleton, George Sisler, Frank Robinson, Ken Williams, and Bobby Grich) went a combined 12-for-26 with a homer and five doubles. Doubles by Singleton and Williams scored the winning run in the top of the 10th. Bobby Grich, an unexpected power source for Baltimore in the early going, hit his sixth homer.
R H BB BAL 310 020 1101 - 9 15 7 HOU 330 011 0000 - 8 13 6 HR: B. Grich (6), J. Bagwell (5), M. Alou (5) starters IP R ER HR BB SO J. Powell 1.2 6 6 2 3 2 J. Richard 7.0 7 6 0 5 5 BAL 13-10, HOU 9-13
April 29: Baltimore 17, Houston 9
Things went from bad to worse in the final game. In what will hopefully be the ugliest inning played all season, the first TEN Oriole batters reached safely before the first out of the game was recorded. The fourth batter, Ken Williams, went grand salami. Roy Oswalt was pulled after six batters and no outs recorded. Baltimore was up 12-0 before an Astro stepped into the batter’s box. After Oswalt got zero outs, Houston manager Bill Virdon brought in long man Wade Miller, and was forced to leave Miller out to dry despite him struggling almost as bad as Oswalt. By the time Miller was through 6.2 innings, he’d surrendered 11 runs, and Virdon finally felt like there was enough gas in the rest of his bullpen to finish out the game. “I hated leaving Wade out there like that,” Virdon said. “It’s a rotten feeling. But I had a good talk with him after the game, and he understands that’s just baseball sometimes. He’s a good kid. But not a fun game to be a part of for any of us.”
The Orioles improved to 6-0 in inter-divisional play after sweeping the Angels in their previous series. Baltimore is the only team in the league to not lose an inter-division game yet.
R H BB BAL 1201 001 300 - 17 19 5 HOU 201 010 140 - 9 14 2 HR: F. Robinson (5), K. Williams (3), A. Jones (5), C Ripken (3), B. Robinson (2), J. Bagwell (5) starters IP R ER HR BB SO U. Shocker 7.2 9 9 1 2 0 R. Oswalt 0.0 6 6 1 2 0 BAL 14-10, HOU 9-14