Musgrove taking positives, lessons from loss

Musgrove taking positives, lessons from loss

BALTIMORE -- Somewhere in his eight-run, 11-hit performance in Thursday's 13-5 loss to the Orioles on Thursday, rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove was able to salvage some positives.

After throwing a pair of seven-inning gems against the Rangers and Blue Jays in his first two career starts, Musgrove was tagged for three homers -- including a three-run shot by Mark Trumbo in the first inning that set the tone for the night -- to take his first career loss.

"They're a fastball-hitting team, and I like to throw fastballs," Musgrove said. "They just did their job a little better tonight. I didn't locate pitches very well, got behind. On two-strike counts, I didn't make good put-away pitches and just got too much plate."

Manager A.J. Hinch said it simply came down to pitch execution.

"It looked like every time he was going down and away with a pitch, it leaked over to the arm side," Hinch said. "The first pitch to Trumbo, you lay it down and away, and it leaks to upper middle, which is right in Trumbo's hot spot. That kick-started the night on a three-run homer -- a hanging breaking ball. Just a couple of pitches that weren't his [tonight], and I think he learned. We learned a lot about him tonight. I thought he did battle on a night he had to stay out there as long as he could with our bullpen."

Musgrove will take some lessons from the game, but his confidence remains high.

"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."

Because his starters haven't been working deep into games recently and the bullpen is taxed, Hinch tried to keep Musgrove out there as long as he could, even when things starting getting out of hand. Hinch even turned to first baseman Tyler White to pitch in the eighth.

White's first mound appearance

"We end up throwing a position player, so that should tell you where we were with the bullpen," Hinch said. "I appreciate [Musgrove's] competitiveness. Going home tonight, he'll want to execute better next time."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.