BALTIMORE-- Andy Pettitte was enjoying another exceptional performance against the team he's dominated the most during his 11-year career. Then came the sixth inning, when the left-hander discovered these aren't the same old Baltimore Orioles.
Miguel Tejada homered against Pettitte to highlight a three-run sixth, and Bruce Chen allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings to lead Baltimore past the Houston Astros 6-1 on Tuesday night.
Pettitte came in with a 20-4 lifetime record against the Orioles. The former New York Yankee was 12-2 at Camden Yards and 8-0 against Baltimore since June 25, 2002. He allowed just three singles through the first five innings, but yielded four hits in the decisive sixth.
By the time he was done, Pettitte (3-7) surrendered six runs and 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Tejada led the way, aided by Sammy Sosa, who had two hits and two RBI.
"Obviously, they've got some different players, but a lot of guys who have been here. The only different people are Tejada and Sammy," Pettitte said. "They are good hitters, and it definitely adds to the lineup."
Larry Bigbie had his second straight three-hit game for the Orioles, who had lost 11 straight series against NL opponents before taking the first two games of this three-game series.
Bigbie experienced many a loss with the Orioles when Pettitte pitched for the Yankees, even though he's 11-for-14 lifetime against the two-time All-Star.
"Pettitte goes back to the Yankee days, when they used to beat up on us," Bigbie said. "He pitched a great game tonight, but we were able to get to him. This team isn't the same one we had a couple of years ago. This is definitely a new and improved team."
The first-place Orioles (38-26) maintained their three-game lead in the AL East over second-place Boston, which defeated Cincinnati 7-0.
Chen (6-4) struck out five and walked four in lowering his ERA to 3.31. He was 0-2 in four starts since May 18 despite allowing only 10 earned runs in that span.
On this night, the left-hander kept the Orioles close until they finally broke through against their longtime nemesis.
"It was tough because Pettitte was pitching a great game. I just tried to match him," Chen said.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth. Bigbie started the uprising with a one-out single, reached second on a fielder's choice and scored on a single by Melvin Mora. Tejada followed with his 18th homer, a drive that landed in the second row of the left-field seats.
The Astros closed to 3-1 without a hit in the eighth. Reliever Jorge Julio hit Craig Biggio with a pitch and walked Lance Berkman before Steve Reed came in and walked Morgan Ensberg to load the bases with no outs. Reed then struck out Jason Lane and got Adam Everett to hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice before retiring Brad Ausmus on a foul pop.
"You kept thinking something was going to happen, somebody was going to dump one in there somewhere," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "But we couldn't get the stinking hit."
The Orioles chased Pettitte by scoring three runs in the bottom half. Sosa singled in a run with two outs and Rafael Palmeiro added a two-run single.
Houston stranded 11 runners and fell to 7-25 on the road.
"It's just a situation we're in right now," Biggio said. "Last year, the offense carried the pitching staff. This year, we're not scoring a lot of runs and the pitching staff is doing its job. It's frustrating to be like that."
Houston's Willy Taveras went 0-for-5, ending a 10-game hitting streak in which he batted .500 (21-for-42). ... Biggio was hit by a pitch for the 263rd time, moving within four of Don Baylor, the modern-day leader in career HBPs.