Castro's grand slam powers Astros past Orioles

Castro's grand slam powers Astros past Orioles
July 31, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Porter on Oberholtzer: 'What a tremendous job'

(USA Today Sports Images)

This was a feel-good game for the Astros. In a spot start, Brett Oberholtzer won in his first major league start, Robbie Grossman hit his first major league home run, Matt Dominguez went 4-for-5 with a home run and Jason Castro connected on a grand slam among his three hits. It added up to a decisive 11-0 win over Baltimore on Wednesday at Camden Yards to even the three-game series. Earlier in the day, the Astros traded right-hander Bud Norris to Baltimore and outfielder Justin Maxwell to Kansas City.

TURNING POINT

A four-run second inning positioned the Astros to get only their third win in 12 games since the All-Star break. The inning was highlighted by Grossman’s deep home run to right field off Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez.

WHO’S NEW?

Right fielder L.J. Hoes, who was acquired by the Astros for Norris earlier in the day, started in right field and batted second in the order. Before the trade, Hoes was in the Baltimore starting lineup playing right field and batting ninth. Hoes went 0-for-5 on Wednesday, but at least he was on the winning team.

STARTING PITCHING

Oberholtzer  (1-0)is in his third stint with the Astros this season, and by the way he pitched on Wednesday, he may stick with the big club for awhile. A starter throughout his minor league career, Oberholtzer had made three relief appearances with the Astros this season.

He made a case for being considered in the rotation after Wednesday’s seven innings of scoreless ball in which he lowered his ERA from 7.36 to 3.77. Oberholtzer allowed only three hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Of his 87 pitches, 60 were strikes.

Gonzalez (8-5) didn’t have the success of Oberholtzer, lasting only 3 2/3 innings while allowing nine runs, four which were earned.

BULLPEN

Chia-Jen Lo made his Astros debut with a scoreless eighth inning. Showing a lively arm, Lo was hitting 94-95 mph with his fastball. Jose Cisnero pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

AT THE PLATE

With a 15-hit attack the Astros had many stars. Grossman’s two-run homer in the second gave the Astros a 4-0 lead. Castro’s 13th home run capped a five-run fourth inning that increased Houston’s lead to 9-0. Castro had two doubles, giving him 29 on the season. Dominguez hit his 14th home run in the seventh that made it 11-0. Dominguez scored three times, Grossman had two hits, Brandon Barnes scored twice and Jose Altuve had two hits and two runs.

The Orioles managed only seven hits, six for singles. Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce had two hits each.

UP NEXT

Bud Norris, who pitched parts of five seasons with the Astros, makes his Orioles debut against his former team. In the series finale on Thursday Norris (6-9, 3.93 ERA) will oppose Jordan Lyles (4-4, 4.92 ERA). Baltimore was originally going to pitch 13-game winner Chris Tillman on Thursday.