Houston at Baltimore

Scoreboard
Houston (33-38)100031000580
Baltimore (35-34) «00210012x6120

Mora's two-run double in eighth propels O's to comeback win

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

BALTIMORE -- Down by two runs in the seventh inning? Hardly a challenge anymore for the Baltimore Orioles.

Melvin Mora hit a two-run double in the eighth to cap yet another improbable rally by Baltimore and doom the sinking Houston Astros to their sixth straight defeat, 6-5 Tuesday night.

After coming from behind by five runs to beat Pittsburgh on Friday -- the second time this season they've rebounded from such a deficit -- the Orioles were surprising casual after their rally against Houston.

"We weren't down that much tonight. It's just two runs," leadoff hitter Brian Roberts said. "You get a couple guys on and you never know what can happen. That's just kind of the attitude we take."

The guy has a point, given that it was the major-league leading 16th time this season that Baltimore rallied from a two-run deficit to win.

Nick Markakis started the comeback with a home run that got the Orioles to 5-4 in the seventh.

"When Nick hit the home run," manager Dave Trembley said, "that told me we were going to do it again."

In the eighth, Adam Jones hit a leadoff single off Doug Brocail (2-2) and Roberts drew a one-out walk. Jose Valverde struck out Markakis before Mora hit a 3-2 pitch into the gap in right-center.

"You got to tip your hat to him, he had a terrific at-bat and fouled off some tough pitches," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "You have to give him a little credit. That's one of the best closers in the game right there and (Mora) fought him tooth and nail."

Jim Johnson (2-2) worked a scoreless eighth and George Sherrill got three straight outs for his 23rd save. Sherrill complained about a tired arm after giving up a 10th-inning run in a loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, but the left-hander rebounded smartly following a much-needed day off.

"I think George turned it up a notch tonight," Trembley said.

Carlos Lee homered and Kazuo Matsui drove in three runs for the Astros, who have been outscored 48-22 during their six-game skid. It's been a tough run for a team that figured to be a contender in the NL Central.

"It's been that way for a while," said starter Brandon Backe, who allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. "We're wondering why we're not winning. If there was an answer to it, then it'd be pretty easy to solve. But there is no simple equation or answer to us losing ball games right now. It's one of those things where bad stuff is happening and we just can't find any luck, breaks. It's just not happening right now."

Cooper said, "As long as we keep playing hard, that stuff will change. ... Tonight was an example of how we need to play. We played hard tonight."

Miguel Tejada went 0-for-3 with a walk for Houston in his return to Baltimore. Tejada played four years with the Orioles before being traded to the Astros for five players in December.

Although he never batted below .296, hit 102 home runs and averaged 107 RBI with the Orioles, Tejada was greeted by a mixture of jeers and applause before each at-bat.

Aubrey Huff also homered for the Orioles, who improved to 16-10 in one-run games compared to 13-31 last year.

Two of the five players obtained in the trade for Tejada made contributions for Baltimore -- left fielder Luke Scott went 1-for-3 with a walk and Matt Albers allowed one run and one hit in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

Houston trailed 3-1 before taking the lead with a three-run fifth inning against starter Garrett Olson. Successive two-out singles by Ty Wigginton, Humberto Quintero and Michael Bourn produced a run before Matsui hit a two-run double. Tejada then walked, ending Olson's night, before Albers got Lance Berkman to ground out.

Lee led off the sixth with his 15th home run, setting the stage for Baltimore's latest comeback.

"If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen," Roberts said. "There are going to be nights when you don't get them in, but there have been a lot of nights when we have. That's kind of the feeling we have, that's we're going to get them in most of the time."

The Astros got a first-inning run when Bourn beat out a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop, advanced to third on two wild pitches and scored on a groundout by Matsui.

Huff gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead in the third with an opposite-field drive to left after Markakis singled. Freddie Bynum, Baltimore's shortstop now that Tejada is gone, hit an RBI single in the fourth.

Notes

  • Lee has 41 RBI in his last 44 games and five multihit games in his last eight.
  • Markakis took over the team lead in homers with 12, breaking a tie with Scott, Huff and Kevin Millar.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Miguel Tejada catches up on old times with ex-teammate Brian Roberts before the game.  (AP)
Miguel Tejada catches up on old times with ex-teammate Brian Roberts before the game. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

A. Huff
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Houston

M. Bourn
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 26, 2014
Fantasy Update: DeAndre Hopkins (0:37)
December 18, 2014
NFL Mock Draft: Which teams might trade up?
(3:24)
December 28, 2014
Flaco on advancing to the playoffs
(0:51)
December 10, 2014
Fantasy Update: Steve Smith
(0:42)
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5221020 .242
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4013000 .277
Miguel Tejada, SS3000110 .296
Lance Berkman, DH4010012 .358
Carlos Lee, LF4121001 .277
    Reggie Abercrombie, PR-LF0000000 .333
Hunter Pence, RF3000110 .275
Geoff Blum, 1B3000121 .227
    Darin Erstad, 1B0000000 .316
Ty Wigginton, 3B4110010 .276
Humberto Quintero, C3110001 .267
   a- Mark Loretta, PH1000000 .267
Totals3458538  
a-flied out for Quintero in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kazuo Matsui (11, Olson)
HR - Carlos Lee (15, Albers)
RBI - Michael Bourn (13), Kazuo Matsui 3 (16), Carlos Lee (53)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Bourn (5), Kazuo Matsui 2 (8)
SB - Geoff Blum (1, 2nd base off Albers/Hernandez)
CS - Reggie Abercrombie (1, 2nd base by Johnson/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 5
Houston Astros
Brandon Backe 5.2833211 4.99
Tim Byrdak (H,3) 0.1111001 1.71
Geoff Geary (H,3) 0.2100000 2.49
Doug Brocail (H,12; L,2-2) 0.2122210 3.00
Jose Valverde (BS,4) 0.2100110 3.74
IBB - Scott by Doug Brocail, Huff by Jose Valverde
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 97-67, Tim Byrdak 4-3, Geoff Geary 13-9, Doug Brocail 21-9, Jose Valverde 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 4-12, Geoff Geary 1-1, Doug Brocail 1-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 27, Tim Byrdak 2, Geoff Geary 3, Doug Brocail 5, Jose Valverde 4
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B3110202 .286
Nick Markakis, RF5221015 .287
Melvin Mora, 3B5012002 .242
Aubrey Huff, DH4122101 .261
Kevin Millar, 1B5000003 .243
Luke Scott, LF3010100 .281
    Jay Payton, LF0000000 .258
Ramon Hernandez, C3120112 .236
Adam Jones, CF4120001 .256
Freddie Bynum, SS3011014 .207
Totals35612653  
Batting
2B - Melvin Mora (13, Valverde), Aubrey Huff (19, Geary), Ramon Hernandez (11, Backe), Adam Jones (15, Backe)
HR - Nick Markakis (12, Byrdak), Aubrey Huff (11, Backe)
SH - Freddie Bynum (2)
RBI - Nick Markakis (32), Melvin Mora 2 (37), Aubrey Huff 2 (38), Freddie Bynum (5)
2-OUT RBI - Melvin Mora 2 (14), Aubrey Huff 2 (16), Freddie Bynum (4)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
PB - Ramon Hernandez (4)
Baltimore Orioles
Garrett Olson 4.2644140 4.80
Matt Albers 2.1111111 2.96
Jim Johnson (W,2-2) 1100120 1.14
George Sherrill (S,23) 1000010 3.38
WP - Garrett Olson 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Garrett Olson 87-53, Matt Albers 37-22, Jim Johnson 18-12, George Sherrill 14-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Garrett Olson 5-5, Matt Albers 4-2
Batters Faced - Garrett Olson 21, Matt Albers 9, Jim Johnson 4, George Sherrill 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21535
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Ed Rapuano