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Houston at Baltimore

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Houston (33-40)110001002590
Baltimore (37-34) «00123010x7111

Cintron's three hits spark Orioles past Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- As a vintage tune by Pink Floyd blared throughout the clubhouse, the Baltimore Orioles celebrated their latest harrowing victory and packed their bags for a nine-game road trip.

Headed for Milwaukee, the Orioles spoke hopefully about building on a 5-1 homestand that ended Thursday night with a 7-5 victory over the woeful Houston Astros, completing a three-game sweep.

Baltimore played four straight one-run games -- two against Pittsburgh and two against Houston -- before George Sherrill blunted a ninth-inning uprising by the Astros, who have lost eight in a row.

"We're just doing enough to get by right now. I tell you, we'd really like a game where we just blow somebody out," said Aubrey Huff, who had one of Baltimore's three home runs. "But we'll take 'em any way we can get them."

Alex Cintron and Ramon Hernandez also homered for the Orioles, whose last three-game sweep of an interleague foe came in June 2005 -- at home against Houston. Baltimore fell behind 2-0 before winning for the 17th time when trailing by at least two runs.

"When you get a sweep, I don't care if it's easy, hard, indifferent or whatever, you'll take it," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "It's a positive occurrence around here. ... So on we go to National League-style baseball for the next nine days and we'll see what we got."

Brian Burres (6-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to help the Orioles climb three games over .500 (37-34) for the first time since May 21.

Sherrill entered with the bases loaded in the ninth and gave up a sacrifice fly to Kazuo Matsui and a run-scoring infield hit to Miguel Tejada before retiring Lance Berkman on a short fly ball to earn his 24th save.

"That's all you can ask for is to get the tying run up to the plate," Berkman said. "Really, when you're facing that kind of deficit heading into the ninth, most of the time you're not going to get it done. Just to get the tying run up there is a good thing."

Tejada and Hunter Pence homered, and Berkman had three hits for the Astros, who have been outscored 57-28 during their eight-game skid. Houston has lost a franchise-record six straight interleague games and is 1-8 against AL foes.

"We have a lot of veterans on this team and guys who have been through it before," Berkman said. "It doesn't do a whole lot of good to panic. In fact, I think it's counterproductive. We've got to do something to right the ship. It's just been a tough last three weeks for us."

The defeat was Houston's 17th in 20 games. Only a loss by Cincinnati earlier in the day kept the Astros from dropping into last place in the NL Central.

"We have not been playing as good as we can," Houston manager Cecil Cooper conceded. "It's just one of those streaks you're in. You just got to keep playing hard. ... We just got to find a way to stop it. And we will."

Tejada went 2-for-5 and finished 2-for-12 in his first series against the Orioles since they traded him to the Astros in December.

Hernandez and Cintron hit solo homers in the fourth inning off Shawn Chacon (2-3) to give Baltimore a 3-2 lead. It was Hernandez's fifth of the season and Cintron's first.

The Orioles made it 6-2 in the fifth. Melvin Mora and Huff singled before Kevin Millar hit an RBI double. Chacon then got two outs before Jay Payton lined a two-run single over a leaping Matsui at second base.

"It's real, real frustrating. It seems like three of those balls that were hit were inches away from being caught," Chacon said. "There's nothing I can do."

Tejada led off the sixth with his 10th home run and Huff hit a solo shot off former Oriole Tim Byrdak in the seventh for a 7-3 lead.

The Astros went up 1-0 when Michael Bourn beat out a bunt on the game's first pitch, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Berkman. Pence led off the second with his ninth home run, his first this season on the road.

Baltimore got a run back in the third when Chacon issued three walks, the last to Millar with the bases loaded.

Notes

  • The Astros are 3-13 in June.
  • Tejada was robbed of a single on a diving play by 2B Brian Roberts in the seventh.
  • Baltimore is 22-12 at home, 15-22 on the road.
 
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.
 
 
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Aubrey Huff shows he's staying loose, blowing a bubble as he touches home after his solo homer.  (AP)
Aubrey Huff shows he's staying loose, blowing a bubble as he touches home after his solo homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

A. Cintron
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

M. Tejada
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4110113 .238
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4011013 .271
Miguel Tejada, SS5122003 .294
Lance Berkman, DH5031002 .366
Carlos Lee, LF4000012 .268
Hunter Pence, RF4111001 .274
Ty Wigginton, 3B1100300 .273
Mark Loretta, 1B4100003 .258
Brad Ausmus, C2010101 .231
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1000012 .310
Totals3459554  
a-struck out for Ausmus in the 9th
Batting
HR - Miguel Tejada (10, Burres), Hunter Pence (9, Burres)
SF - Kazuo Matsui (2)
RBI - Kazuo Matsui (17), Miguel Tejada 2 (43), Lance Berkman (59), Hunter Pence (36)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Tejada (12), Lance Berkman (25)
SB - Michael Bourn (28, 2nd base off Burres/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Matsui-Tejada
Houston Astros
Shawn Chacon (L,2-3) 5866402 5.04
Tim Byrdak 2211011 1.96
Oscar Villarreal 1100000 4.72
HBP - Payton (by Oscar Villarreal)
Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Chacon 95-50, Tim Byrdak 24-15, Oscar Villarreal 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Chacon 4-11, Oscar Villarreal 1-1
Batters Faced - Shawn Chacon 27, Tim Byrdak 7, Oscar Villarreal 4
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B5010000 .284
Nick Markakis, RF4000111 .283
Melvin Mora, 3B4110001 .241
Aubrey Huff, 1B3221100 .266
Kevin Millar, DH3122100 .247
Luke Scott, LF4000006 .275
    Adam Jones, CF0000000 .260
Ramon Hernandez, C3111102 .239
Jay Payton, CF-LF3012002 .265
Alex Cintron, SS4231001 .342
Totals33711741  
Batting
2B - Kevin Millar (10, Chacon)
HR - Aubrey Huff (12, Byrdak), Ramon Hernandez (5, Chacon), Alex Cintron (1, Chacon)
RBI - Aubrey Huff (39), Kevin Millar 2 (39), Ramon Hernandez (25), Jay Payton 2 (23), Alex Cintron (4)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Millar (16), Jay Payton 2 (13)
SB - Brian Roberts (20, 2nd base off Byrdak/Ausmus)
PK - Brian Roberts (4, Byrdak)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Cintron-B. Roberts-Huff, Mora-B. Roberts-Huff
E - Alex Cintron (4, Missed catch of throw)
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Burres (W,6-5) 5.2733232 5.24
Matt Albers (H,6) 1000100 2.89
Jim Johnson (H,11) 1.1100000 1.11
Dennis Sarfate 0.1020210 3.34
George Sherrill (S,24) 0.2100000 3.31
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Burres 87-54, Matt Albers 20-10, Jim Johnson 14-10, Dennis Sarfate 18-10, George Sherrill 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Burres 7-6, Matt Albers 1-2, Jim Johnson 3-0, Dennis Sarfate 1-0
Batters Faced - Brian Burres 25, Matt Albers 4, Jim Johnson 4, Dennis Sarfate 4, George Sherrill 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31480
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - James Hoye