The Orioles' longest game of the year, Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros, was one they will quickly try to forget.
After seven standout innings by starter Chris Tillman and five more innings of lockdown relief, the Astros pushed across the deciding run in the 13th inning to end the action after 4 hours, 14 minutes of baseball.
Astros left fielder Tony Kemp welcomed reliever Dylan Bundy into the game to open the 13th with a triple to center field. Bundy intentionally walked the next two batters before shortstop Carlos Correa singled Kemp home to end the game.
"Our guys pitched really well, right to the end," manager Buck Showalter said. "Their guy caught a ball and hit it over the center fielder's head. A bunch of solo home runs — Tillman got one changeup up that [Luis] Valbuena hit out. Most nights, that's good enough. I'm really, really pleased with our guys, especially out of the bullpen [and] with Chris again. You watched it. We just struck out a lot and didn't score any runs."
Offensively, the Orioles did little with their four extra innings of at-bats. They managed just eight hits in 13 innings, and struck out 19 times.
"We still would like to figure out a way to scratch something across and make good use of the real good outing by our pitching staff," Showalter said.
Tillman strong again: Tillman retired the first nine batters he faced on just 28 pitches, and was cruising until he got off-kilter in a 36-pitch fifth inning. After the first two batters reached, Tillman induced a double play to prevent what could have been a disastrous inning. First baseman Luis Valbuena, the next batter, homered to give the Astros their only two runs off Tillman. Tillman then issued his second and third walks of the inning before getting a lineout to bring the Orioles back into the dugout.
Outside of that frame, only one Astro reached base against Tillman, who allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.
"It's been good," Tillman said. "I feel like I've been throwing the ball well. They just had one big inning off me."
Big blasts: The Orioles' only runs came on — you guessed it — home runs. Shortstop Manny Machado's solo home run nearly cleared everything in left field at Minute Maid Park, landing on the train tracks that overlook left field here. Machado's home run tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth. Designated hitter Pedro Alvarez hit his third of the season in the fifth inning to open the scoring.
Eventful eighth: Darren O'Day relieved Tillman to begin the eighth inning, and after a quick first out, gave up a double to right fielder George Springer that eluded a sliding Mark Trumbo in right field and bounced off the top of his head.
Center fielder Adam Jones tracked down a deep fly ball for the second out, then Correa lined a ball right at second baseman Jonathan Schoop to end the inning.
Speed demon: The Orioles nearly stole the game in the ninth inning in an improbable way. Following a two-out single by catcher Matt Wieters, he stole his first base since Aug. 3, 2013. He was one of three players left on base that inning. Wieters had another two-hit game to bring his average to .288 on the season
What a relief: After Tillman exited, the Orioles relief corps of O'Day, Brad Brach, and Mychal Givens posted zeroes in five innings to extend the game. Brach and Givens combined to strike out six in four innings of relief.