Núñez, Martin homer to lead Orioles over Astros 4-1
HOUSTON (AP) — After dropping three straight games by one run, the Baltimore Orioles finally got some timely hitting and a nice defensive play to end their skid.
Núñez homered in the sixth inning and the Astros tied it in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly, but a critical catch and throw by right fielder Anthony Santander ended the threat.
"Our guys have a ton of heart," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "We've been playing tough games and having tough losses. To play in a game like that and pull away was awesome."
It was still tied in the eighth when Will Harris (1-1) took over for starter Framber Valdéz and Hanser Alberto greeted him with a double to left field. Trey Mancini singled, and Núñez reached when Alberto got caught in a rundown between third and home for the first out.
Pedro Severino grounded into fielder's choice, but the Orioles took a 2-1 lead when shortstop Jack Mayfield badly overthrew first base for an error that allowed Mancini to score.
Martin added some insurance when he connected off Reymin Guduan for a shot that bounced high off the wall in left-center with two outs in the ninth.
Andrew Cashner, who was scheduled to start on Thursday but was moved back because of leg soreness, allowed four hits and one run with three strikeouts in six innings.
"I just thought we did a really nice job on the mound," Hyde said. "We executed pitches, worked ahead in the count. Paul Fry and Miguel Castro were just fantastic the last few innings. Stuff we've been talking about a lot, they went out and did that."
Valdéz yielded five hits and one run in a career-high seven innings in his first start this season after making 14 relief appearances.
There was one out in the sixth when Núñez homered to the train tracks atop left field to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
The Astros had managed just two singles when Derek Fisher and Alex Bregman hit back-to-back singles in the sixth. Michael Brantley grounded into a fielder's choice that moved Fisher to third.
Yuli Gurriel then hit a drive to right that Santander, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday, caught above the wall. Santander threw to first to double up Brantley and end the inning.
"I thought it was a going to be a home run," Santander said in Spanish through a translator. "Fortunately, I was able to time it pretty well and made the catch."
Houston manager AJ Hinch lamented his team's inability to string together hits.
"We couldn't get anything started," he said. "We couldn't get the ball off the ground against Cashner and then, we just never got the break. Yuli misses the homer by a foot and then we get doubled off."
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh threw a 25-pitch bullpen on Saturday and will throw another one on Tuesday. McHugh has been on the injured list with discomfort in his throwing elbow since May 18.
Josh Reddick singled in the second inning for his 1,000th career hit. Reddick, who is in his 11th major league season, took a moment to reflect on the milestone after the game.
"It is one of those milestones that means a big accomplishment and you've been doing something right for a little while in the big leagues," he said. "Not a lot of people get to experience this, much less one or two hits in the big leagues, so any time you can get up in a milestone, it's a pretty good feeling and great honor to be a part of it."
Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (3-6, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to start for Baltimore in the finale on Sunday. Bundy allowed six hits and three runs in five innings of a 12-11 win over Texas in his last start.
Astros: LHP Wade Miley (5-3, 3.39) will start for Houston on Sunday. The former Oriole yielded three hits and three runs in five innings in his last start but did not factor into the decision in Houston's 11-5 win over Seattle.