BALTIMORE – Yovani Gallardo had never been through a four-hour rain delay. He didn’t know what to do. Originally, Sunday’s game was supposed to start at 1:35 p.m. It didn’t begin until four hours, five minutes later.
After a scoreless inning, there was another half-hour delay.
When the rain finally ended, the Orioles played a listless game, losing for the fifth time in six tries on this homestand to the Houston Astros 5-3 before 29,734 at Oriole Park.
Only a fraction of the announced crowd was there at the start of the game, and fans were invited to move down to any unoccupied seat.
The Orioles (67-56) lost two to Boston and three of four to Houston (64-60). It was truly a lost opportunity because both the Red Sox and AL East leading Toronto lost, leaving the Orioles 2 ½ games out of first.
Gallardo gave up four runs, one of them unearned in seven innings, and helped the Orioles tattered bullpen recover.
“It was a good outing, especially considering the conditions,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s a real impressive outing when you think about all of the elements.”
Gallardo gave up two runs on a double that Chris Davis lost in the lights in right field, and a third one scored due to an error by Manny Machado.
Showalter defended Davis’ play.
“Chris is a good right fielder and maybe our best right fielder. It got in the lights and he just had to guess where it was. He almost made a great play. Probably one of the few guys who would have got to that,” Showalter said.
Gallardo walked toward the bullpen at 1 p.m. to begin his pregame ritual, and then the rain came, and it wasn’t until four hours later that he resumed.
“It’s hard. Honestly, I was just walking around, pacing around, talking to the guys. I tried not to think about it too much. I know it might sound a little bit weird, but obviously, it’s one of those things where they were going to give me enough time just to get the things that I had to do to get ready, to get down and prepare, get mentally ready. The last thing you want to do is be sitting here and thinking about the game the whole day. By the time the game starts, you’re mentally drained,” Gallardo said.
He allowed a run to Houston in the fourth on an RBI single to A.J. Reed.
Jonathan Schoop’s 19th home run in the fourth off Dallas Keuchel tied it at 1.
Schoop has been through some long rain delays with the Orioles, but this one was the longest.
“It’s difficult, but you’ve got to go. You’ve got to play a game. You’ve got to do something to stay engaged with the game. Whenever the game starts you’ve got to focus to be ready,” Schoop said.
Houston took a 4-1 lead in the fifth on the unearned run, which scored on Jose Altuve’s single, and then Correa’s fly to right field.
Nolan Reimold doubled with two outs in the second, and scored on Adam Jones’ single. It was Reimold’s first extra-base hit since July 24.
Keuchel (8-12) gave up two runs on five hits in eight innings.
Gallardo (4-5) allowed four runs, three earned on seven hits in seven innings.
Parker Bridwell, who was called up on Sunday from Norfolk, retired his first two batters in the eighth, then allowed Jake Marisnick’s third home run, and the Orioles trailed 5-2.
Bridwell worked a scoreless ninth, and Ken Giles allowed Mark Trumbo’s 37th home run of the year, but recorded three outs for his third save.
“If I could put it into words I would. It’s just a dream come true. Just like any other kid. I was pretty nervous before that first pitch. And then that kind of lifted a little weight off my shoulders. But it was fun. It was everything I expected,” Bridwell said.
The Orioles have a difficult week ahead. They play four against the Nationals, two at home and two away before heading to New York for three games against the Yankees.
“We know we can score a lot of runs. That’s baseball. Sometimes you score, sometimes you don’t score. We’ve got to keep in there, keep focused, keep bringing it, and it’s going to come,” Schoop said.
NOTES: Bridwell was the fifth reliever to debut this year for the Orioles. Jayson Aquino, Donnie Hart, Ariel Miranda and Ashur Tolliver were the others. … Cuban refugee Yulieski Gurriel debuted for the Astros. The 32-year-old was 1-for-2 and a walk. … Delays in Baltimore this year have totaled 11 hours, 32 minutes. … Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.59) starts for the first time in Baltimore against Dylan Bundy (6-4, 3.36) on Monday.