Orioles 3, Astros 1

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Baltimore right-hander Miguel Gonzalez stifled the Houston Astros on five hits in six strong innings and paced the Orioles to a 3-1 win in the rubber game of a three-game series on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.
Gonzalez, who endured a winless May in which he received precious little run support, surrendered just one extra-base hit, a first-inning double to Astros catcher Jason Castro that positioned Houston (22-39) to score its only run.
Gonzalez (3-2) struck out seven and issued one walk, an intentional pass to Castro in the third.
The Orioles (34-26) provided Gonzalez with just seven runs of support in four May starts. Baltimore wasn't much better in the series finale, but a three-run fourth inning off Astros right-hander Bud Norris (5-5) proved enough.
After stranding two base runners in scoring position in the second, Norris failed to escape the fourth unscathed after Chris Davis and Adam Jones reached on a single and a double, with Davis scoring on Jones' first run-scoring hit of the series. Two batters later, shortstop J.J. Hardy delivered the second of his four hits, an RBI single to right that scored Jones from third for a 3-1 advantage.
Hardy capped a series of three consecutive multi-hit games by going 4-for-4. Davis finished 2-for-4.
With Darren O'Day, Brian Matusz and Jim Johnson, who picked up his 20th save, combining to work three scoreless innings in relief, Baltimore improved to 9-11 in the series finales and 7-3 in rubber matches of three-game series.
Norris had been impeccable at Minute Maid Park, posting the lowest home ERA (1.83) since the start of the 2012 season. He overcame his hiccup in the fourth to log at least seven innings for the fourth time in his last seven starts, matching his season high with seven strikeouts.
After Castro advanced Brandon Barnes to third base with his first-inning double, J.D. Martinez followed with a sacrifice fly to right field. Houston advanced just two additional runners into scoring position.
NOTES: Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 road games, including a single in the seventh inning. ... Norris had not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his previous seven home starts this season.

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