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Jimenez has strong start, Orioles can't muster offence to back him in 3-1 loss to Astros

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HOUSTON - Ubaldo Jimenez finished May the way he started the month — with a good start.

Baltimore's offence did not give the right-hander much support.

George Springer hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to six with a 3-1 victory over Baltimore.

Jimenez allowed one run and three hits with eight strikeouts in six innings. Jimenez had struggled in his last two outings, allowing 10 runs in nine innings.

"I was able to get a little bit deeper in the game and that's always good," Jimenez said. "Hopefully I get deeper than that in my next game. I felt good. I was able to be there for the team."

Jimenez has pitched better in his six May starts, posting a 3.12 ERA after having a 6.59 ERA in five April starts. Jimenez started May by allowing one run over 19 2-3 innings that covered three starts.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said Jimenez deserved a better fate against the Astros.

"We knew coming in here they were playing some of their best baseball of the year and a lot of it revolves around how good their starting pitching has been," Showalter said. "Runs were going to be at a premium. ... With the exception of a couple guys we're not swinging the bat real well and then we'll break out and score seven or eight runs."

Nelson Cruz remained hot, extending his hit streak to 10 games with two hits, including an RBI single in the fourth that tied it at 1. The Orioles losing streak reached three games.

"It's not always going to click together," Showalter said of Baltimore's inconsistency of late. "You're hoping one part of the game is good enough to offset another and we have for the most part. I have a lot of confidence that our best baseball is ahead of us. Tonight we just didn't swing the bats well enough."

Springer's shot to left off Preston Guilmet (0-1) extended the rookie's hitting streak to 11 games and was his seventh homer in his last seven games.

Springer's 10 home runs in May extended his Astros rookie record and tied him for the third most long balls by a rookie in May with Jose Canseco, Wally Joyner and Walt Dropo. Mark McGwire set the rookie record for home runs in May with 15 in 1987.

Brad Peacock allowed a run on six hits with eight strikeouts in six innings. Peacock, who was scratched prior to his scheduled start May 24 at Seattle with forearm soreness, went six innings for the fifth straight start.

Jose Altuve had three hits for Houston.

Josh Fields (1-3) threw two scoreless innings for the win, and Chad Qualls pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

Houston could not take capitalize with runners in scoring position, going 0 for 11 against Jimenez and finishing 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position with the lone hit being Springer's home run.

"The perfect way is you don't want to get so many runners on base like I did because anything can happen," Jimenez said. "A blooper, a base hit and they're going to score. But it's part of the game once they get on base to find a way to get them out."

Jason Castro scored from third on a wild pitch by Jimenez in the second on a close play at the plate to make it 1-0. After a 4 minute, 25 second review, the call was upheld — Castro was safe.

Jimenez, who had loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single before Castro scored, escaped the inning by inducing groundouts to Robbie Grossman and Jonathan Villar.

NOTES: Baltimore right-hander Tommy Hunter, who has been on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21 with a left groin strain, has been throwing on flat ground for four days and feels good, manager Buck Showalter said. ... Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who has been on the 15-day DL since May 11 with a right elbow strain, is expected to start doing light tossing Friday, Showalter said. ... Houston will send lefty Brett Oberholtzer to the mound Friday against Baltimore right-hander Miguel Gonzalez in the annual Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game. There was a roundtable discussion Thursday and there will be a Beacon Awards Luncheon Friday. The Astros will wear the uniform of the Houston Eagles and the Orioles will wear the uniform of the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues for the game.

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