BALTIMORE -- In one of the most bizarre at-bats in memory, a game was changed. Houston Astros third baseman Colin Moran, a nephew of longtime Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff, who works with the team's minor leaguers, fouled a pitch from Darren O'Day off his left eye.
As Moran sat on the ground while being attended to for an extended period, the right-hander waited and fretted. It was a truly scary moment, and then finally after Moran was taken off the field by a cart, Marwin Gonzalez batted for Moran.
Two pitches later, Gonzalez fouled a pitch off and the bat flew behind the Baltimore Orioles dugout, injuring a small boy who was escorted out for medical attention.
Then, on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, and the eighth to Gonzalez, he slammed a three-run home run onto Eutaw Street to lead the Astros to an 8-4 win against the Orioles before 32,524 at Oriole Park July 22.
"It was tough. I hope he's OK," O’Day said of Moran. "But I don't think that really affected me as a pitcher. It's easy to make an excuse. I came in and made a couple poor pitches, got guys on base and then I had to be perfect. It was a tough at-bat.
"He fouled off some really good pitches until he got a bad one. Did a hell of a job keeping it fair. I thought I had him set up for a pitch there and I didn't execute, so I just made a mistake. It's really unacceptable for a team that's kind of fighting for every win. I just didn't get the job done."
During the afternoon, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations told season-ticket holders that contrary to some published reports, he wasn't planning a massive selloff of veterans in advance of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.
O'Day is one of those veterans who's been rumored to be available. He's able to forget about that, but he had something more frightening to be concerned about. After the game there was no definitive word on Moran, who was in the hospital for further evaluation.
"It was one of the more strange outings," O'Day said. "It's really why you've got to enjoy every game you play, even when you're struggling. You never know when something's going to happen. I've had good friends who've had accidents like that and never knew if they were going to play again or didn't get to play again, so I hope he's OK, but as a professional you've got to try and block that out. I'd forgotten he threw the bat, but you've got to be focused on the pitch. You lose focus and things can happen."
Chris Tillman continued to ramp up his performances, and five days after allowing a run on two hits in six innings, he allowed three runs in 5.1 innings before the right-hander yielded to O'Day.
"He made a lot of good pitches that a good hitter who is hitting .300 ticked off, fouled off, what, three or four pitches, a quarter of an inch from a strikeout or what have you," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
"No, he made a lot of good pitches and the guy made him keep making them and he finally made a mistake and (Gonzalez) did something with it. He's having -- a lot of their guys -- are having big years."
Baltimore had an impressive four-run fifth against Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, who was making his first start of the season after suffering from tendinitis in his right shoulder.
Center fielder Adam Jones and second baseman Jonathan Schoop each hit two-run home runs to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead.
After McHugh left, three Astros relievers held the Orioles hitless in the final 4.1 innings. The Orioles had just four hits -- three in the fifth.
ODDS AND ENDS: Houston is now 11-1 against the Orioles since the start of 2016. … The game started after a rain delay of 58 minutes, bringing delay time this season to eight hours, 55 minutes. … The Orioles conclude their 10-game homestand July 23 as right-handers Dylan Bundy (9-8, 4.18) and Lance McCullers (7-2, 3.28) face off.