HOUSTON (AP) - Scott Feldman couldn’t keep the ball down on Sunday against Baltimore and Houston’s ace paid for it.
Manny Machado hit his first career grand slam, David Lough homered and drove in three runs, and the Orioles beat the Astros 9-4.
Feldman (3-3) allowed nine runs and 11 hits, both season highs, in 5 1-3 innings.
“A lot of balls up in the zone,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “Uncharacteristic. Scotty is a ground-ball pitcher and he had the ball elevated a little bit more than usual.”
Feldman said the reason he struggled on Sunday was simple.
“I haven’t made as many good pitches when I’ve needed them, especially getting into some big situations like today: bases loaded and can’t make a pitch to get out of it,” he said. “I think it just really comes down to that.”
Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz, leading the majors with 20 home runs and 52 RBIs, left in the third inning with a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch from Scott Feldman. X-rays were negative and Cruz was listed as day to day.
Machado’s towering shot capped a six-run sixth inning.
The 21-year-old Machado missed the first month after offseason knee surgery and has struggled since his return, prompting manager Buck Showalter to move him from the second spot to seventh in the batting order.
He was back to batting second on Sunday and also doubled, giving him two hits for the second straight game and raising his average to .230.
Wei-Yin Chen (6-2) scattered four hits with one run over 5 1-3 innings.
Matt Dominguez hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the Astros, who have lost two straight after winning a season-high seven in a row.
Machado doubled before Feldman plunked Cruz. Machado and Cruz pulled off a double steal before a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones made it 3-0.
Cruz was replaced in right field for the bottom of the third inning.
He didn’t think that Feldman, who was a teammate of his with the Texas Rangers, tried to hit him. Feldman said it was in no way intentional.
“I didn’t want to hit him,” Feldman said. “I checked after the game to make sure he was all right and they said it was just a bruise so that was a little relieving. It happens, it’s part of the game trying to pitch inside.”
Feldman was on the disabled list from April 18-May 8 with tendinitis in his right biceps, but Porter doesn’t think his struggles indicate any physical problems.
“It’s not a concern,” he said. “He’s a pitch-to-contact guy, so it’s nothing with the radar gun that would tell us anything otherwise. Until the sixth inning there it was a decent ballgame.”
Astros rookie George Springer snapped an 0-for-9 slump with a double that sailed over the head of Lough in right field to start the fourth inning. Chris Carter’s two-out single cut Baltimore’s lead to 3-1.
Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop hit consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs in the sixth. Lough hit an RBI single, and an intentional walk to Nick Markakis set up Machado’s third homer.
“I got into a situation there in the sixth that really just got out of hand,” Feldman said. “Bases loaded and I just couldn’t make a good pitch to Machado and left one right over the middle.”
Both teams had nifty plays by an outfielder.
Left fielder Delmon Young robbed Jonathan Villar of a hit when he made a sliding catch shortly after entering the game in the third.
Houston’s defensive highlight came when right fielder Springer sprinted to make the catch on a sacrifice fly by Nick Hundley in the sixth. Springer slipped and fell on his backside after making the catch and made the throw in while still on the ground.
NOTES: Houston recalled RHP Paul Clemens from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned LHP Brett Oberholtzer to the minor league team.
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