HOUSTON (AP) — A day after hitting six home runs, the Houston Astros had more problems at the plate.
J.J. Hardy got a season-high four hits and Adam Jones added an RBI double, leading Miguel Gonzalez and the Baltimore Orioles to a 3-1 win over the Astros.
“We chased a lot of pitches — a lot of breaking balls and sliders — out of the strike zone,” manager Bo Porter said. “And as the game went out, we continued to chase, and we continued to expand the zone.”
That certainly had something to do with Gonzalez (3-2), who yielded five hits and a run in six innings, and matched his season-best with seven strikeouts. He slowed down the Astros a day after the home run outburst led to a 11-7 win.
“He mixed things up real well today,” Brandon Barnes said. “He threw his pitches well in and out, up and down. He really had his fastball going today.”
The Orioles won their third straight series by taking two of three from Houston.
Barnes led off for Houston with a single, Jason Castro hit a one-out double and J.D. Martinez had a sacrifice fly that made it 1-0 in the first. Houston hoped that would be the beginning of another big game, but that was the only inning the Astros got more than one hit — and no more for extra bases.
“In that first inning we felt like we had something going again, but we just kind of fell short,” Barnes said.
Bud Norris (5-5) allowed nine hits while striking out seven in seven innings. He said he felt like he probably needed to be perfect to win against Baltimore’s powerful lineup.
“With that lineup of theirs, yeah, and you know it, too,” he said. “Those guys really know what they are doing. They have been playing really good baseball the last couple of years. We went out there and played right with them, but we came up a little short.”
Porter was pleased with the performance of Norris, who has a 2.28 ERA in eight home starts this season.
“Anytime your starter goes seven innings, that is a good outing, especially against a team like the Baltimore Orioles,” Porter said. “I thought he did a tremendous job of keeping up in the game, but it was really unfortunate that offensively we were not able to muster much this afternoon.”
It was a good beginning to the month for Gonzalez, who had a tough May, going 0-1 in four starts in the month. Baltimore scored just seven runs combined while he was pitching in those starts.
Darren O’Day took over for Gonzalez and struck out two in 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Brian Matusz got the last out of the eighth before closer Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save.
Chris Davis singled to start the Baltimore fourth and scored on a double by Jones to tie it. Jones advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a single by Hardy for a 2-1 lead. A wild pitch by Norris gave the Orioles another run in the inning.
“I definitely made a bad pitch to Jones, and some of the balls just fell in for them,” Norris said. “It was a tough one for us.”
Marwin Gonzalez hit a leadoff single in the Houston eighth and Barnes hit a deep fly.
Jose Cisnero threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts for Houston.
NOTES: Baltimore’s Jason Hammel opposes Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer when the Orioles open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday. … Houston will send Jordan Lyles to the mound against James Shields when the Astros begin a three-game series at Kansas City. … The Orioles placed reliever Steve Johnson on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and recalled OF Xavier Avery from Triple-A Norfolk before the game. … Baltimore OF Nick Markakis is expected to rejoin the team on Friday after missing two games to attend his grandmother’s funeral. … Houston 2B Jose Altuve got a day off on Thursday while dealing with a sore groin. Porter said he expects him to return to the lineup on Friday.
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