O's, Astros square off for second time in less than a week

(SportsNetwork.com) - For the second time in a week, the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros will square off on the diamond, this time in Minute Maid Park as the teams kick off a four-game series on Monday night.

Baltimore won two of three over the Astros last week as part of a 4-4 homestand.

The Orioles now hit the road for seven straight as they will also travel to Cleveland this weekend. Baltimore enters Monday's opener looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.

After getting shut out in Saturday's 3-0 loss, the Orioles managed to put five runs on the board in Sunday's rubber match of that series. Delmon Young and Manny Machado sparked the lineup with two home runs each, however the Rays offense went on to plate nine runs on 15 hits as O's starter Chris Tillman dropped to 2-7.

Tillman was tagged for six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, and relievers Oliver Drake and Brian Matusz also struggled in the later innings.

"Mentally, I'm good. I feel really good with where I'm at. It's just execution, it all comes down to execution," Tillman said. "You make a pitch we get out of it, we are sitting here celebrating instead of going on the road with a loss. It's unfortunate, two guys had big days like we did. We weren't able to come out of it with a win."

Houston continues to sit atop the American League West but has cooled off a bit with losses in three of four entering Monday.

The Astros offense was unable to solve Chicago White Sox starter John Danks in Sunday's 6-0 setback. They did manage 10 hits against Danks, who went the distance, but hitting into three double plays thwarted any momentum on the basepaths. In addition, Jonathan Villar was thrown out at home trying for an inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning, and he was later caught in a rundown between third and home to end the seventh.

"It looks bad, 6-0, but we put together 10 hits, no long balls for us, no timely hits. We didn't string anything together and they did," said Evan Gattis, who has hit safely in seven straight games.

Roberto Hernandez took the loss as he allowed five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 frames, with three of those runs coming in the third.

Brett Oberholtzer will toe the rubber for Houston on Monday in his first start since coming off the disabled list with a nagging left index finger blister. The left-hander is slotting into the rotation in place of Scott Feldman, who is expected to miss six weeks following knee surgery on Friday.

Oberholtzer's only previous start this season came against San Francisco on May 13, when he worked just three innings due to the blister and gave up an earned run on three hits.

Ubaldo Jimenez gets the nod for Baltimore once again. The righty faced these same Astros on Wednesday and came away with a no-decision after allowing four runs on 10 hits and a walk in seven innings. He also struck out four.

Center fielder Adam Jones is hoping to return to Baltimore's lineup after resting a sprained left ankle over the weekend.