Houston, TX – Miguel Gonzalez spun six solid innings of one- run ball to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Houston Astros, 3-1, Thursday in the rubber match of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park.
Gonzalez (3-2) allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out seven to earn his first victory since April 23. Jim Johnson held the Astros hitless in the ninth to nail down his 20th save.
"(Gonzalez) had good command and got a little stronger as the game went on," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his starter.
The Orioles did all their damage in the fourth, with Adam Jones stroking an RBI double and J.J. Hardy adding a run-scoring single in the rally. Hardy finished 4-for-4 for Baltimore, which has won six of its last eight games.
Bud Norris (5-5) pitched admirably in defeat, yielding all three runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts over seven frames.
J.D. Martinez knocked in the lone run for the Astros, who had won six straight before dropping two-of-three against the Orioles.
"We played well against a really good team," said Astros manager Bo Porter optimistically.
Martinez's sacrifice fly in the first gave the Astros an early cushion, but Baltimore broke through with three runs in the fourth to seize control.
Norris retired the O's in order in the first and then again in the third before running into trouble in the decisive fourth inning.
Chris Davis started the frame with a single before coming around to score on Jones' double to right. Jones moved to third on a groundout and scored when Hardy ripped a base hit through the right side to give Baltimore a 2-1 edge.
After Chris Dickerson grounded into a fielder's choice, Ryan Flaherty ripped a single to shortstop to put runners on the corners. Flaherty then stole second before Norris uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Dickerson to score for a 3-1 advantage.
Houston failed to move a runner past first from there until the ninth, when Carlos Pena reached on an error and Chris Carter was hit by a pitch with one out.
Johnson, however, induced a game-ending double-play groundout from pinch- hitter Carlos Corporan to secure the victory.
Houston went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base ... Baltimore finished 1-for-10 with RISP and left nine on base ... The Astros fell to 2-21 when they're held without a home run ... Baltimore right fielder Nick Markakis missed the game to attend his grandmother's funeral.