Red-hot Astros return home to face Orioles

The Houston Astros look to keep their season-high six-game winning streak going at home when they open a three-game series Tuesday versus the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros won all six games on their recent road trip and completed a four- game sweep of the LA Angels of Anaheim with Monday's 2-1 win behind a strong pitching performance from starter Erik Bedard and the bullpen. Bedard held the Angels to a run in seven innings, while Wesley Wright, Josh Fields and Jose Veras combined to throw three shutout innings of relief.

Veras notched his 11th save in the ninth.

Astros first baseman Chris Carter homered off of Angels starter Joe Blanton, who was superb in the loss with eight innings of two-run ball and 11 strikeouts with no walks.

"It was all a matter of these guys playing to their potential and us coming together as a team," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You're starting to see we're coming together."

The Astros last won seven in a row from July 27-Aug. 3, 2010 and went 6-0 on a road trip for the first time since July 18-22, 2005. They have registered an 11-7 record since May 15, but are only 1-4 in the past five at home.

Lucas Harrell draws the start for the Astros Tuesday and he ended a five-game drought (0-4) the last time out in a 7-5 win at Colorado on Thursday. One start after lasting just 1 2/3 innings versus Oakland on May 25, Harrell didn't have his best stuff, but managed to come out on top by allowing four runs -- three earned -- in 5 2/3 innings at Coors Field.

Harrell pushed his record to 4-6 in 12 starts with a 5.37 ERA. The right- hander is only 2-4 in seven home starts and has never faced Baltimore.

Baltimore is coming off a weekend series win over the Detroit Tigers and recorded a 4-2 victory in Sunday's series finale.

The Orioles are even with the New York Yankees for second place in the AL East at 2 1/2 games behind Boston and have been riding the bat of Chris Davis of late. Davis is first in the majors with 20 home runs and second in RBI (52) and batting average (.357). Davis homered in the recent win over the Tigers and is hitting .416 with 11 homers, 22 RBI and 23 runs in the last 23 games.

Davis helped the Orioles bounce back from a 10-3 defeat the previous time out and go 4-1 on a recent homestand.

"It was big for us," Davis said of the homestand. "For us to battle back after the loss (Saturday) and get the win, it's good."

Davis was named AL Player of the Week on Monday for the second time. He was the AL Player of the Week for April 1-7 and was April's AL Player of he Month.

Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia and Nate McLouth added an RBI apiece in Sunday's win for the Orioles, who have won nine of the last 13 games.

Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman allowed one run on five hits over six innings in his third career start. Brian Matusz gave up one run on three hits in the seventh to pick up the win.

The Orioles will visit Tampa Bay for three games on this trip, but are counting on Chris Tillman to get the job done in Houston tonight. Tillman did not figure into the decision of a 9-6 win over Washington last Wednesday and was tagged for six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He had won four of his previous five decisions and remained 4-2 in 11 starts with a 4.26 ERA.

Tillman, a right-hander, has never faced the Astros and is 3-0 in four road assignments this season.

Baltimore and Houston are meeting for the first time since the Orioles swept a three-game series at Camden Yards from June 17-19, 2008. The Orioles haven't played in Houston since losing all three matchups from June 3-5, 2003.