By Brittany Ghiroli and Brian McTaggart
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles used six home runs -- including two each from J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis -- on Thursday to blast their way back into a second-place tie with the Red Sox in the American League East.
Baltimore roughed up red-hot Astros rookie Joe Musgrove, tagging him for eight runs in a 13-5 series-opening win at Camden Yards.
Hardy and Davis -- who had been in quite the slump -- were joined by Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo in the homer brigade. Trumbo, who set a career high with 35 homers, got the O's off to a 3-0 start with his first-inning blast off Musgrove.
"That was a byproduct of a lot of good at-bats, a lot of counts. ... It's one night, but I think there was a lot of frustration there. I don't know if frustration is the right word, but [we got] back to what we're capable of doing," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "[Musgrove has] been pitching real well. Tonight he had some command problems with the breaking ball, left some where he wasn't trying to get them, and our guys, seems like a while now, we weren't getting many mistakes, and when we were, we weren't as consistent with making them pay as we were tonight."
"It was great. The guys came out, and I tried to bring some excitement that first inning, and really, from then on, you could tell that they were going to come out hacking," Gausman said of watching his lineup work. "You're always one pitch away with this lineup, especially when you get guys on base tonight like we had."
Houston has now lost five straight games and dropped 6 1/2 games behind in the AL Wild Card chase.
"They just continued to come at you," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They do that in this ballpark. They're very comfortable. They do a lot of damage. This is how you score. We didn't keep them in the ballpark at all the entire night. It turned out to be a long night, for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Call him Crush: Davis' first homer landed all the way on Eutaw Street and marked his second consecutive night with a mammoth homer. He went deep again in his next at-bat, perhaps a sign that the slugger's slumping bat is finally starting to heat up. The pair of homers on Thursday gave Davis his first multihomer game this season.
"Obviously, we know what that could mean," Showalter said of Davis, who hit 22 homers in August and September of last season. "But the weight of the Orioles is not around Chris' shoulders. A lot of things will have to go well. Certainly, it will help our chances, but we can still be the last team standing if it doesn't happen." More >
Oh no, Joe: Musgrove's third career start certainly didn't go as planned. The rookie right-hander was rocked for eight runs on 11 hits, including three home runs, in 5 1/3 innings. He had pitched seven innings in each of his first two starts, both of which came against potent offenses in Texas and Toronto. The Orioles proved to the most potent yet.
"I firmly believe that I belong up here," Musgrove said. "I know I'm going to go through ups and downs and just try to limit the downs and analyze things tonight. Look at film and get back to work and get ready for Pittsburgh." More >
Can't hold that Tiger: Bregman continues to stay hot, whacking his second homer of the season. The long homer came off Gausman, who hosted Bregman when he visited LSU on his recruiting trip. After starting his career in a 2-for-38 slump, Bregman is hitting .308 with five doubles, two homers, nine runs scored and eight RBIs.
"He's certainly swung the bat well," Hinch said. "Even in that rough stretch, he was still pretty good. He's a good player. Like I said, the scoreboard is not going to do justice to him yet, but his at-bats are quality. That's why he stays in the two-hole and he's hitting in front of one of the best hitters in the game. He continues to contribute every day. There's not a lot not to like about Alex Bregman." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Hardy's first homer was his 100th as an Oriole, and it also carried him past Miguel Tejada for sole possession of second place on the O's all-time homer list for shortstops. Hardy trails only Cal Ripken Jr. (345).
"It was big," Hardy said of the O's offensive breakout. "We haven't been swinging the bats all that great, and to bust out like that tonight, hopefully it keeps going and we can keep that confidence."
WHITE PITCHES IN
Astros first baseman Tyler White pitched the eighth inning, becoming the second Houston position player to pitch this season. Catcher Erik Kratz pitched at Seattle on April 26.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: The Astros will send right-hander Collin McHugh to the mound in Friday's 6:05 p.m. CT game at Oriole Park. McHugh, who has a 4.70 ERA, has dropped his last four starts. He has a 7.65 ERA in that span, with 17 runs and 31 hits allowed in 20 innings. In his last 13 starts since June 4, he's 2-6 with a 4.60 ERA.
Orioles: The Orioles will send left-hander Wade Miley to the mound for Friday's 7:05 p.m. ET game. Miley is still seeking his first win for the O's since being acquired by Baltimore. He had his roughest of his three starts with the Orioles his last time out, when he allowed seven runs (six earned). He has a 2.84 ERA in two starts against Houston this season.