BALTIMORE (AP) — Kyle Bradish upstaged Justin Verlander and Trey Mancini.
Not a bad night’s work for the Baltimore rookie.
Bradish came within one out of his first career shutout, outpitching Verlander in a stellar performance to lift the Orioles over the Houston Astros 2-0 on Thursday.
Bradish (4-7) took a perfect game into the sixth inning before Mauricio Dubon lined a single to left field with two outs. That was the only baserunner Bradish permitted until there were two outs in the ninth, when Jeremy Pena also singled. With the potential tying run at the plate, the Orioles brought in closer Felix Bautista to finish for his 15th save.
“I knew if a runner gets on, I was going to come out. It’s a two-run ballgame, and Bautista was fresh, and we’ve got to win these games,” Bradish said. “I wasn’t too happy that I didn’t finish it, but I completely understand.”
Bradish struck out 10 in his latest dazzling effort down the stretch for this surprising Baltimore team.
“Just feeling good,” he said. “Routine was good today, arm felt really good. Pregame bullpen, really good. Everything was working.”
Mancini went 0 for 3 in his first game back at Camden Yards since the Orioles traded him to Houston on Aug. 1, and the AL West champion Astros failed in their first attempt at earning their 100th victory this season. They lost for just the second time in 12 games.
The Orioles remained four games behind Seattle for the final wild card in the American League.
Verlander (17-4) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings in his second game back from a calf injury. He threw five no-hit innings against Oakland last Friday, but Baltimore broke through against him with three hits in the second.
Ryan Mountcastle and Terrin Vavra hit consecutive singles with one out, and both runners moved up on a groundout by Kyle Stowers. Rougned Odor singled home both runners.
Verlander still leads the majors with a 1.82 ERA.
Bradish whiffed the last two hitters in the second and then struck out the side in the third. He retired the first two batters in the sixth before Dubon’s single landed in front of Vavra in left.
There was a big cheer from the crowd when Bradish came out in the ninth to try for his first complete game. He struck out the first two hitters before allowing Pena’s single on his 100th pitch.
The Orioles nearly had a complete game for a second straight night. Jordan Lyles threw one Wednesday in an 8-1 win against Detroit.
“Different scenario, different score, different guy on deck,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Bautista struck out Aledmys Diaz to end the game with slugger Yordan Alvarez due up next.
It was the fourth time in his past six starts that Bradish allowed two or fewer hits while going at least seven innings. He threw eight innings of two-hit ball in a 2-0 win at Houston on Aug. 26.
It’s another sign of a bright future for a Baltimore team that has also had a chance to showcase promising young position players like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson this season.
The Orioles nearly scored in the fifth when Cedric Mullins doubled to right and went to third on a throwing error by Kyle Tucker. But Mullins was waved home on the play and third baseman Alex Bregman retrieved the ball and threw to the plate in plenty of time to get him.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve missed the game after he was hit by a pitch on the left elbow Wednesday against Tampa Bay.
Jose Urquidy (13-7) starts for Houston on Friday night against Baltimore’s Dean Kremer (7-5).