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Zach Britton gets AL saves record as Orioles beat Astros 9-7

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USA TODAY Sports

Zach Britton gets AL saves record as Orioles beat Astros 9-7

BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton set an American League record by converting his 55th consecutive save opportunity, blanking the Houston Astros in the ninth inning the seal the Baltimore Orioles' 9-7 victory on Sunday.

Britton struck out the first two batters and issued a walk before pinch-hitter George Springer bounced into a force play to end it.

Britton broke the AL mark held by Tom Gordon, who notched 54 straight saves with Boston from 1998-99. Britton started his run on Oct. 1, 2015, added 47 in a row last season and is 6 for 6 this year.

The major league record of 84 is held by Eric Gagne of the Dodgers from 2002-04. Saves became an official statistic in 1969.

Britton earned his fifth save on April 14 and endured two months on the disabled list with a strained left forearm before returning on July 5.

Baltimore broke a tie with two runs in the eighth against Luke Gregerson (2-3), using a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado and an RBI single by Jonathan Schoop.

Britton made the lead stand up, using 16 pitches to retire the AL West leaders.

Mark Trumbo homered and Adam Jones had four hits for the Orioles, who avoided a three-game sweep. Baltimore had lost eight straight to Houston, dating to last year.

Mychal Givens (7-0) worked the eighth for the Orioles.

The Astros twice fell behind by three runs before coming back. Jose Altuve's 15th home run -- the first of his four hits -- made it 3-all in the fourth, and Noro Aoki connected with two on in the sixth to knot the score at 6.

Houston added a run in the sixth, but Trumbo tied it with a shot to left leading off the seventh.

Astros starter Lance McCullers gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. In three starts this month, the right-hander is 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA.

Baltimore's Dylan Bundy allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings, including both Houston homers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: 3B Colin Moran was placed on the disabled list with a facial fracture. The injury occurred Saturday night when the rookie fouled a ball off his cheek, and he remained hospitalized Sunday. Houston recalled 1B Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel pitched five innings in his second rehab appearance Saturday night. He's been on the DL since June 5 with a neck injury.

Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy, who's been on the DL since June 19 with a fractured wrist, is taking grounders but not yet throwing. "Right now, the stage is getting the mobility back," Hardy said. He will see a hand specialist in a week, then seek to strengthen the wrist before starting baseball activities.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49 ERA) helps Houston launch a three-game interleague series in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Orioles: Kevin Gausman (6-7, 6.11 ERA) seeks to level his record for the first time since April 18 when Baltimore opens a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Monday night.

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Orioles can't keep up with Houston's offense

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Orioles can't keep up with Houston's offense

BALTIMORE -- The Houston Astros gasped, watched in dismay and jumped for joy in the span of a few minutes.

When the unusual sequence of events was complete, the American League's best ballclub was well on its way to another victory.

Marwin Gonzalez stepped in for injured Colin Moran and delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the sixth inning to propel Houston past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Saturday night.

Moran fouled a ball off his left eye and had difficulty standing before being carted from the field with a towel pressed against his bloody face.

"It was a pretty scary incident," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I go on the field and he's got blood on the face. Blood, it isn't generally seen in our sport."

Moran was taken to a hospital, where he was "evaluated for everything from a concussion to a fracture," Hinch said, adding that he expected the rookie to land on the disabled list.

After play resumed, Gonzalez ended a nine-pitch at-bat by driving a 2-2 offering from Darren O'Day (1-3) over the right-field wall and onto Eutaw Street. It was Houston's first pinch-hit homer of the season, and it capped a five-run uprising that wiped out Baltimore's 4-1 lead.

"The range of emotions goes to extreme thrill, for Marwin to come off the bench and work an at-bat," Hinch said.

As he headed to the plate, Gonzalez knew he had to turn his attention toward getting a hit off O'Day.

"That was a scary moment for us," Gonzalez said. "I just focused to have a good at-bat, but I got a homer and that was even better for the team."

O'Day also experienced an array of emotions -- from bad to worse.

"I've had good friends who've had accidents like that and never knew if they were going to play again or didn't get to play again, so I hope he's OK," the pitcher said. "But as a professional you've got to try and block that out."

Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel homered for the Astros, who will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. Houston has won eight straight over the Orioles spanning two seasons.

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his season debut and Francis Martes (3-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

McHugh went 19-7 in 2015 and 13-10 last year before being diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis at spring training. He was shut down after one inning in a rehab start for Triple-A Fresno on April 6, returned to the mound on June 30 and pitched in four games with Double-A Corpus Christi before being activated Saturday.

McHugh showed no ill effects from the layoff -- until the fifth inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to Seth Smith, he got two quick outs before it started to rain. An instant later, Adam Jones drove a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats.

Manny Machado followed with a single and Jonathan Schoop chased McHugh with a shot that wasted no time clearing the left-field wall.

Gurriel shaved the margin with a two-run drive off Chris Tillman in the sixth, and Gonzalez completed the comeback.

"He fouled off some good pitches until he got a bad one," O'Day said.

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Orioles' Kevin Gausman finds his groove against Texas Rangers

Orioles' Kevin Gausman finds his groove against Texas Rangers

All of a sudden, the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation is pitching magnificently.

The question is: Has this struggling staff finally found its groove, or is it because the opposition is the Texas Rangers?

MORE ORIOLES: ZACH BRITTON RETURNS TO O'S

Kevin Gausman pitched six innings of four-hit ball, Adam Jones homered and scored three runs and Baltimore beat the faltering Rangers 10-2 on Wednesday night.

Gausman (6-7) gave up one run, struck out eight and walked two. The right-hander came in with a 6.39 ERA and had yielded a total of 14 runs in his last two starts.

Though the Orioles' faulty rotation is one big reason why the team is four games under .500, the starters in this series have combined to allow three runs over 18 innings.

"It's a roll we'd like to get on," manager Buck Showalter said. "Start kind of passing the baton to the next guy."

Having thus far outscored Texas 25-4 in the series, the Orioles will attempt to complete a four-game sweep on Thursday.

"I think we all know that we need to pitch better and, you know, we're trying to do that," Gausman said. "Obviously the offense is what's kind of given us a bigger margin for error."

Trey Mancini contributed two hits in a seven-run seventh inning, including a bases-loaded triple, and Jonathan Schoop finished with three hits and three RBIs.

Joey Gallo hit his 22nd home run for the Rangers, who have dropped four straight and scored only eight runs in their last five games.

"We have to continue to believe in our offense. That's a challenge for us right now," manager Jeff Banister said. "It's been a bit of a stretch where one run has been the case for us and it's coming off solo shots."

Adrian Beltre hit a fourth-inning double to move within 17 hits of 3,000 for his career. It was his 602nd double, breaking a tie with Barry Bonds for 16th place on the all-time list.

But there were few other highlights for the Rangers, now 2-4 on a 10-game trip out of the All-Star break.

"It just seems tough to score right now," said Elvis Andrus, who went 0 for 4.

Texas had eight hits -- only two for extra bases.

"We can score runs. We need to get back to that and show our identity again," Gallo said. "I don't think anyone in this clubhouse is worried or panicking."

Jones got Baltimore started with a leadoff homer off Martin Perez (5-7), and Schoop made it 3-0 with a two-run double in the third.

Gallo connected in the fifth, but the Orioles pulled away in the seventh. Baltimore got six hits and took advantage of an error by catcher Robinson Chirinos to score four unearned runs.