BALTIMORE (AP) — With several players hampered by injuries, Steve Clevenger became the latest Orioles’ role player to get a big hit.
Clevenger, who is in the lineup while starting catcher Matt Wieters recovers from elbow soreness, hit an RBI double in the 10th inning to extend the Orioles’ winning streak to five games with a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
“It’s big, just for the team,” Clevenger said. “We were on a four-game win streak, now five. We’re never going to give up until the last out and we proved that tonight.”
J.J. Hardy had an infield single with one out in the 10th before Clevenger hit a double down the right field line off Paul Clemens (0-1).
“I was just battling,” Clemens said. “I couldn’t come in with my fastball at all so that’s bad. I was really looking to get comfortable out there. We didn’t go to off-speed soon enough. I just kept missing with my fastballs and paid for it. I feel responsible. This is a ball game we should win.”
The Astros have lost seven of their past eight games.
Houston’s Jose Altuve hit a two-out, two RBI single in the ninth inning off Baltimore closer Tommy Hunter that gave the Astros a 4-3 lead.
However, after a 55-minute rain delay, Astros right-hander Anthony Bass loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a walk before pinch hitter Delmon Young tied the game with an infield single.
“I didn’t let them on,” Hunter said. “I didn’t want them to get on. I actually tried to get them out. They got a couple hits. They got me tonight. I’m probably going to come back out and give them hell tomorrow. That’s the only thing I can do.”
Ryan Webb (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for Baltimore.
After Nelson Cruz gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead with his 10th home run of the season in the eighth, Hunter entered and allowed a single and double with one out before getting Jonathan Villar to ground into a fielder’s choice preventing a run from scoring.
However, Altuve delivered a sharp single to center to give the Astros the lead.
Astros right-hander Collin McHugh allowed two runs and seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks over 6 1-3 innings. After allowing just one run in his opening two starts of the season, McHugh allowed five runs in just four innings May 4 against Seattle.
“Collin did a tremendous job,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He pitched well. He had a sharp breaking ball working. He did a good job of pitching the ball to the inner third of the plate. He put us in position to win the game.”
After losing his previous two starts, Baltimore right-hander Miguel Gonzalez allowed two runs and six hits with six strikeouts and two walks over a season-high seven innings.
The Orioles’ Adam Jones hit his fourth home run and Nick Markakis went 2 for 5 and extended his hit streak to 17 games, the longest active in the majors.
George Springer went 2 for 4 for Houston and hit his second career home run after getting his first Thursday against Detroit.
With the Orioles trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Hardy led off with a single and then Clevenger also reached when McHugh fell while trying to handle a dribbler. After Steve Pearce singled to load the bases, McHugh allowed the tying run on a wild pitch.
The Orioles could not take the lead despite having runners on second and third with no outs as McHugh and left-hander Tony Sipp got groundouts before Josh Zeid struck out Manny Machado to end the threat.
The Orioles improved to 17-0 when leading after eight innings.
The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the second when Springer homered to left off Gonzalez with two outs. Houston increased the margin to 2-0 the next inning when Villar singled to center and then took second when Jones bobbled the ball. Villar stole third and scored on a single by Dexter Fowler.
McHugh was cruising and retired eight consecutive batters before allowing a walk to Pearce in the fifth. Jones homered in the sixth to pull the Orioles to within 2-1. It was the first Orioles’ hit since Clevenger singled in the second.
NOTES: Houston manager Bo Porter lost a challenge in the seventh when Dexter Fowler was out on a close play at first base. It took 1 minute, 16 seconds to confirm the ruling on the field. … Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (strained left oblique) played nine innings and went 1 for 4 in a rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie. He will be evaluated Sunday when he is scheduled to come off the disabled list. … There is no timetable for Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (sore right elbow) to begin throwing. Wieters served as the designated hitter for the past three games. … Astros catcher Jason Castro was back in the lineup Saturday after missing the previous game because of a left forearm bruise. … Houston reliever Matt Albers (right shoulder tendinitis) is eligible to come off the disabled list, Porter said the team will give him a few more days to rest.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)