Orioles-Astros Preview


Scott Feldman pitched relatively well against the Baltimore Orioles last month, and even better in his most recent outing.

Looking to help the Houston Astros bounce back from their first loss in a week, Feldman tries for a second straight victory Sunday when he faces his former team at Minute Maid Park.

Feldman, who went 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 15 starts after Baltimore acquired him from the Chicago Cubs on July 2, allowed solo home runs to Manny Machado and Steve Pearce plus three other hits in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 4-3 loss in his return to Camden Yards on May 9.

"It would've been a nice one to win," Feldman (3-2, 3.02 ERA) said of his first start since missing almost a month with biceps tendinitis.

The right-hander then allowed 12 runs - seven earned - and 19 hits in nine innings while going 0-1 in his next two starts before giving up two runs in six innings of a 9-2 victory at Kansas City on Monday.

Baltimore's Nelson Cruz is 2 for 9 against Feldman, but he's batting .476 (20 for 42) with eight home runs, 15 RBIs and nine walks during a 12-game hitting streak. He hit his major league-leading 20th homer and drove in three runs Saturday as Baltimore (27-27) ended a four-game slide by snapping Houston's seven-game run with a 4-1 victory.

In his first season with the Orioles, Cruz leads the majors with 52 RBIs, the most in team history at the end of May and two more than teammate Chris Davis had entering June last year. He's batting .419 with three home runs and 13 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak at Houston.

"Nelson is letting the ball travel and letting it get deep,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''He's come in with a reputation of being streaky and I don't think I've ever seen him locked in for this long a period of time."

Dropped to seventh in the order, Machado is batting .220 this season and is 3 for 20 in his last five games. However, he's 3 for 5 with a homer and a triple against Feldman.

''We're just trying to be patient for him to work his way back into it, but that's a challenge,'' said Showalter of Machado, who hit .283 with 14 homers, an AL-best 51 doubles and 71 RBIs during his first full season in 2013.

Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 4.50) has allowed five runs in each of his last two starts for the Orioles. All five Tuesday came on three home runs over five innings of a 7-6, 10-inning loss at Milwaukee.

The left-hander improved to 2-0 and dropped his ERA to 3.14 against the Astros (24-33) after he gave up two runs in seven innings to outpitch Feldman on May 9.

Houston's Jose Altuve is 3 for 7 against Chen. His 12-game home hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 performance Saturday.

Talented Astros rookie George Springer went 0 for 3 against Chen last month, and he's 0 for 8 with three strikeouts in two contests following an 11-game hitting streak during which he batted .390 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs.