Astros-Orioles Preview


The Baltimore Orioles have won four consecutive games, and they have a hot-hitting first baseman to thank for it.

The Orioles look to continue taking advantage of the struggling Houston Astros on Saturday as they try to continue their longest winning streak of the season.

Baltimore (19-14) has only scored 16 runs during its winning streak but has hit seven homers, including solo shots from Steve Pearce and Manny Machado in Friday's 4-3 victory..

The long ball from Pearce was his third in the last four days and his second in as many games. It was the first time in Pearce's eight-year career that he has gone deep in consecutive games.

"I just want to keep doing what I'm doing,'' said Pearce, who was released by Baltimore on April 27 and re-signed two days later to fill in for the injured Chris Davis. "I think they know what I can do. Hopefully, I can stay around for a little longer this time.''

Baltimore last won five in a row July 14-22.

The last Orioles loss came the last time Miguel Gonzalez (1-3, 5.28 ERA) took the hill. The right-hander was roughed up Sunday in Minnesota, allowing six hits, four walks and three runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 5-2 loss.

He had posted a 3.18 ERA over his previous four outings after allowing seven runs over 3 1-3 innings in his season debut.

Gonzalez started twice versus the Astros last season, throwing six innings of one-run ball in Houston before giving up nine runs - four earned - over 3 2-3 in an 11-0 loss at Camden Yards on July 31.

He'll be opposed by Collin McHugh (2-1, 2.79), who is trying to recover from a difficult outing after a pair of gems to begin his Astros career.

The right-hander gave up six runs and eight hits over four innings in Sunday's 8-7 loss to Seattle after allowing just a run and five hits over 15 1-3 in his first two starts.

"Just not executing pitches very well is what it comes down to," McHugh said. "I just missed with a couple of pitches here and there. They put some good swings on it, and that really took the wind out of the sails in that third inning."

Houston (11-25) has dropped six of its last seven games as its hitting woes continue. The Astros are batting an AL-worst .218 and dropped to .204 with runners in scoring position after going 0 for 6 on Friday.

"Whenever you get opportunities to put runs on the board, you want to do everything you can to execute," manager Bo Porter said.

The Astros are hopeful catcher Jason Castro, who sat out Friday's contest because of a bruised forearm, will be back in the lineup on Saturday.

Gonzalez certainly wouldn't mind if he missed another day. Castro is 4 for 5 lifetime against the Baltimore starter with three doubles and a home run.