July 31: Baltimore 6, Houston 2
Houston arrived in Baltimore fresh off their stunning sweep of Boston that helped the Orioles’ cause of catching the Red Sox for the Original Division lead.
The big Baltimore bats belted Nolan Ryan for six runs in less than three innings and sucked any drama out of the first game pretty quick. George Sisler spanked four hits and Harry Howell went the distance for Baltimore.
R H BB HOU 110 000 000 - 2 8 6 BAL 231 000 00x - 6 13 4 HR: F. Robinson (22) starters IP R ER HR BB SO N. Ryan 2.2 6 6 1 2 3 H. Howell 9.0 2 2 0 6 5 HOU 48-55, BAL 58-45
August 1: Baltimore 9, Houston 1
The Orioles again jumped out to a big lead right from the get-go, aided this time by a Jeff Bagwell error, an Andy Ashby passed ball, and a Matt Wieters home run.
Urban Shocker was one inning away from his first shutout, but Houston pushed across a single run in the ninth to spoil it. Shocker was wild and walked eight, but none of the walks figured into Houston’s run. It was Shocker’s finest day in what has been a bad season, and the third straight complete game by a Baltimore starter.
R H BB HOU 000 000 001 - 1 6 8 BAL 520 000 20x - 9 13 3 HR: M. Wieters (7) starters IP R ER HR BB SO R. Oswalt 6.0 7 2 1 1 6 U. Shocker 9.0 1 1 0 8 4 HOU 48-56, BAL 59-45
August 2: Baltimore 8, Houston 7 (10 innings)
The Orioles again jumped out to an immediate big lead. Ken Williams and Cal Ripken both homered in a six-run first inning.
But Houston managed to inject some drama into this one. Starter Johnny Niggeling handed a 7-2 lead to the rusty Baltimore bullpen, and the relievers nearly choked it away. Hoyt Wilhelm faced three batters, all of whom came around to score on a Jeff Bagwell blast. Lance Berkman added a solo dong later in the inning to make it 7-6 Baltimore.
Baltimore’s seventh run came unearned on a passed ball in the third inning when it seemed fairly meaningless but loomed large after Houston’s rally.
Darren O’Day then coughed up the tying run to Houston in the ninth after walking two and giving up a Cesar Cedeno double. It stayed dead-locked until Frank Robinson led off the bottom of the 10th against Billy Wagner and launched a rocket into the Camden seats to walk off the sweep.
Baltimore took all six of their games against Houston for the season and improved to a dominant 21-3 against the Expansion Division. They are breathing down the neck of the suddenly vulnerable Red Sox.
R H BB HOU 000 002 401 0 - 7 9 8 BAL 601 000 000 1 - 8 10 2 HR: J. Bagwell (22), L. Berkman (21), F. Robinson (23), K. Williams (8), C. Ripken (8) starters IP R ER HR BB SO M. Scott 8.0 7 6 2 2 5 J. Niggeling 6.0 2 2 0 5 3 HOU 48-57, BAL 60-45