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Houston (33-39)0000001000150
Baltimore (36-34) «00000010012101

Millar's single in 10th helps Orioles hand Astros seventh straight loss

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- A home run on a 3-0 pitch. A key single on a routine grounder that probably should have been a double play. Everything seems to be going right for the Baltimore Orioles, who keep finding new and interesting ways to win one-run games.

Kevin Millar singled in the winning run in the 10th inning, and Baltimore handed the Houston Astros their seventh straight loss, 2-1 on Wednesday night.

It was the fourth straight one-run decision for the Orioles, three of them victories. Baltimore is 17-10 in one-run games compared to 13-31 last year.

"It's one of those things right now," Millar said. "You don't want to make a living doing that. We're just going through a stage where every game's a battle, every game's a dogfight."

Baltimore trailed 1-0 before Luke Scott got the green light in the seventh inning on a 3-0 pitch from former teammate Brian Moehler. Scott responded with his 12th home run, a shot to dead center that traveled over 400 feet.

"I got a decent pitch for me to handle," Scott said. "It wasn't that bad of a pitch being that far over the plate, but it was elevated a little bit and I was able to put a good swing on it."

With one out in the 10th, Melvin Mora singled off Jose Valverde (4-2). Aubrey Huff hit an opposite-field single to left through the hole vacated at shortstop when Miguel Tejada moved toward second as Mora broke for the base.

If Tejada doesn't move, it's likely an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Instead, the perfectly executed hit-and-run put runners on the corners for Millar, who bounced a single up the middle.

Baltimore was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position before Millar delivered. Earlier in the day, Millar dyed his hair blond. Afterward, he announced, "Hair's 1-0."

And the Astros? Well, they're mired in their worst skid since a 10-game losing streak in May 2007.

Lance Berkman hit his 20th home run and had two of Houston's five hits. Tejada went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his first series against the Orioles since the December trade that brought Scott to Baltimore.

Houston is 3-12 in June and has lost five straight interleague games, tying a franchise record.

"Panic is the wrong word, but certainly it's not the same feeling as early May when you're playing well and pulling games out," Berkman said. "That's the bad part of this job. In a rut like this, you're miserable and everybody wants to do something extra to help. You have to kind of fight against that. It happens every year and it happens to every team."

Berkman broke up a scoreless duel between Moehler and Jeremy Guthrie in the seventh inning with a shot that cleared the 25-foot scoreboard in right field and traveled an estimated 430 feet. It was the 44th home run in the history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street.

Scott answered in the bottom half. That it came against the Astros was not a source of additional satisfaction.

"I respect all those guys. I played with a lot of great teammates over there," he said. "I'm pulling for them to do well."

Chad Bradford (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the Orioles, who improved to 6-2 against the NL after bringing a 79-114 interleague record into the 2008 season.

Guthrie gave up three hits, had a season-high eight strikeouts and walked one in eight innings.

Moehler allowed six hits in 6 1/3 innings. At one point he got 12 consecutive outs.

"These aren't the games that kill you. We'll win our share, we'll lose our share," Berkman said. "A hotly contested pitcher's duel can go either way. The ones that hurt are when you are scoring runs."

The only hit off Guthrie over the first six innings was a double by Hunter Pence in the second inning. The right-hander retired 15 straight batters before Berkman connected.

"He challenged us pretty much with fastballs," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said of Guthrie. "We hit balls good; had three or four line drives right at them. We just couldn't get a hit when we needed it."

Notes

  • Baltimore's Brian Roberts has at least one hit in 14 of 15 games.
  • Since May 3, Berkman is batting .408 with 11 HRs and 32 RBI.
  • Mora, who came in batting .382 with runners in scoring position, went 0-for-2 in that situation.
 
Copyright 2015 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.
 
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The Orioles welcome Melvin Mora home after he scores the winning run on a Kevin Millar single. (AP)
The Orioles welcome Melvin Mora home after he scores the winning run on a Kevin Millar single. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

L. Scott
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4000010 .238
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4000020 .271
Miguel Tejada, SS4000000 .292
Lance Berkman, DH3121110 .362
Carlos Lee, LF4000002 .272
Hunter Pence, RF4010011 .275
Darin Erstad, 1B4010002 .313
Ty Wigginton, 3B4010014 .275
Humberto Quintero, C2000010 .235
   a- Geoff Blum, PH1000010 .225
    Brad Ausmus, C1000001 .226
Totals3515118  
a-struck out for Quintero in the 8th
Batting
2B - Hunter Pence (18, Guthrie)
HR - Lance Berkman (20, Guthrie)
RBI - Lance Berkman (58)
Team LOB - 5
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler 6.1611241 4.35
Wesley Wright 0.1000110 5.04
Chris Sampson 1.1000010 5.52
Doug Brocail 1100010 2.92
Jose Valverde (L,4-2) 0.1311000 3.97
WP - Brian Moehler (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 98-61, Wesley Wright 8-3, Chris Sampson 13-10, Doug Brocail 22-17, Jose Valverde 15-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 10-5, Chris Sampson 2-1, Doug Brocail 1-1, Jose Valverde 1-0
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 27, Wesley Wright 2, Chris Sampson 4, Doug Brocail 4, Jose Valverde 4
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4010121 .285
Nick Markakis, RF4010113 .287
Melvin Mora, 3B5110005 .241
Aubrey Huff, DH4010102 .261
Kevin Millar, 1B5011014 .242
Luke Scott, LF4111010 .281
Ramon Hernandez, C3010010 .237
    Freddie Bynum, PR-SS1000000 .204
Adam Jones, CF4020011 .260
Alex Cintron, SS2000001 .294
   a- Jay Payton, PH1010000 .263
    Guillermo Quiroz, C1000001 .210
Totals38210237  
a-singled for Cintron in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nick Markakis (16, Moehler)
HR - Luke Scott (12, Moehler)
RBI - Kevin Millar (37), Luke Scott (27)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Bynum-B. Roberts-Millar
E - Alex Cintron (3, Misplayed grounder)
Baltimore Orioles
Jeremy Guthrie 8311181 3.51
Chad Bradford (W,3-2) 2200000 2.25
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Guthrie 105-74, Chad Bradford 18-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Guthrie 8-9, Chad Bradford 4-1
Batters Faced - Jeremy Guthrie 29, Chad Bradford 7
Game Information
Attendance - 21112
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Ed Hickox