Astros aim to stay on track against Orioles

( - The Houston Astros look to keep rolling along when they shoot for a series win over the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday in the third test of a four-game set from Minute Maid Park.

The AL West-leading Astros won Monday's opener by a 5-2 score, then handed the Orioles a 6-4 defeat last night thanks to a big five-run third inning. After Baltimore stormed out to a 4-0 cushion in the second inning, the Astros took the lead for good the next frame.

Preston Tucker started the rally with an RBI single, Evan Gattis followed with a three-run homer and Luis Valbuena capped the surge with a solo shot for the Astros, who won for the 13th time in the last 20 tries.

Collin McHugh picked up his sixth win (6-2) of the season and gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings. He settled down after that shaky second inning.

"There have been good comebacks, (we've) come back from a lot. I'm just glad we could get him (McHugh) some runs and we've got a potent offense," Gattis said.

Lance McCullers will handle pitching duties for the Astros Wednesday and is 1-0 with a 2.40 earned run average in three starts this season. The rookie did not figure into the decision of a 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Friday and was touched for two runs (1 earned) in 4 1/3 innings.

McCullers will make his third career start at home and will face the Orioles for the first time.

The Orioles have lost four in a row and fell to 0-2 on a seven-game road trip with last night's loss. Mike Wright was staked to a 4-0 lead, but the roof caved in on Baltimore and he allowed five runs in five innings.

"Anytime we get four runs, especially in one inning, I've got to keep that lead," Wright said. "I can't let it all happen in that one inning. Any time an offense can score four runs, we should win the game."

Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs and Manny Machado finished with two hits and an RBI for the Orioles.

Baltimore, which is slated to visit Cleveland for three games this weekend, will hand the ball to Miguel Gonzalez Wednesday night. Gonzalez is 5-3 with a 3.48 earned run average in 10 starts and is winless (0-1) in his previous two appearances. Gonzalez, who was 5-1 in six decisions prior to this slump, did not record a decision in Friday's 2-1 win over Tampa Bay. He was solid through eight innings and gave up only a run and three hits.

Gonzalez has made four career starts against the Astros, going 1-2 with a 3.47 ERA.

Baltimore went 4-3 against Houston last season.