- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) - Baltimore Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez failed to keep the Houston Astros guessing past the sixth inning Friday night.

And his teammates couldn’t get clutch hits after the second.

That led to Baltimore’s 2-1 loss to the Astros in Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Game.

Adam Jones doubled to start the second inning and scored on a one-out single by J.J. Hardy to put Baltimore up 1-0. But the Orioles couldn’t do much else against Astros left-hander Brett Oberholtzer as they tied a season high with their fourth straight loss.

Houston won its seventh straight, its longest winning streak since 2010.

“They’ve been playing good ball,” Gonzalez said of the Astros. “You just have to tip your hat to them. We kept them there, but we came up a little short.”

The latter rang especially true for Gonzalez, who no-hit Houston through 5 1-3 innings, only to see his bid to win a third consecutive start derailed by Jonathan Villar in a seventh inning to forget.

“I was rushing a little bit, but I thought I made my pitches when I needed to,” Gonzalez (3-4) said. “They just capitalized - they were sitting on fastballs - and you just have to work a little bit more on mixing in a little bit more pitches toward the end.”

The Astros did just that.

With Houston trailing 1-0, Matt Dominguez doubled and reached third on a one-out single by Alex Presley who was tagged trying to reach second. Dominguez scored on a two-out double by Robbie Grossman that sailed just out of the reach of a leaping Steve Pearce in left field. That set the stage for Villar, who entered the game hitless in his last 25 at-bats.

Gonzalez had struck out Villar the previous inning, but Villar sent Gonzalez’s 92 mph fastball to right-center for a ground-rule RBI double to give the Astros the lead.

Darren O’Day relieved Gonzalez, who allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two.

“Miggy matched (Oberholtzer); he was outstanding,” Showalter said. “Darren gave us a chance there; we just didn’t have much offensively.”

The Orioles have scored five runs in the last three games, all losses.

“It’s a rough stretch, I’ll tell you that,” Pearce said. “We can’t seem to get the timely hit when we need it.”

Part of that was Oberholtzer’s ability to keep Baltimore off-balance, Pearce said.

Oberholtzer (2-6) allowed four hits and a run in seven innings. Chad Qualls got the last four outs for his fifth save.

“You tip your cap to the other pitcher, but we’re capable of better,” Showalter said.

It was a message that was not lost on Gonzalez’s teammates.

“It makes it worse because they are pitching great … and for pitchers to go out there and do that and then leave with ‘L’ or a no-decision is unacceptable,” Pearce said. “We don’t like it, and we need to pick it up.”

NOTES: The Astros wore the uniforms of the Houston Eagles and the Orioles donned the uniforms of the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues for the game. … Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Berry Gordy and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown were honored at a luncheon on Friday in conjunction with the game for their contributions to the civil rights movement. Author and poet Maya Angelou, who died on Wednesday at 86, was honored posthumously. … Former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The series continues Saturday when Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman opposes LHP Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel was named the AL player of the week last week after going 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA in two starts. … Baltimore C Matt Wieters, on the 15-day DL since May 11 with a right elbow strain, made 25 throws before Friday’s game and Showalter said he will throw again Sunday.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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