BALTIMORE (AP) Solid starting pitching. A shut-down performance by the bullpen. Clutch hitting.
These are the reasons why the Houston Astros own the best record in the AL, and those were precisely the qualities on display in a 4-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
Scott Feldman outpitched Chris Tillman and the Astros scored all their runs with two outs to secure their 10th win in 13 games.
Chris Carter and Jason Castro keyed a two-run seventh, and Luis Valbuena doubled in two runs in the eighth.
''Our at-bats with two outs tonight were the difference in the game,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''When we're right, we have a complete offense that offers a challenge to the opponent all the way through.''
The pitching was pretty good, too.
Feldman (4-4) gave up one run and four hits in six innings against his former team. The right-hander was 5-6 in his lone season with the Orioles (2013) but is 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA lifetime against them in Baltimore.
''Fortunately at the right times I made some good pitches and got them to hit it to the right place,'' Feldman said.
Pat Neshek gave up a hit in the seventh, Chad Qualls worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Luke Gregerson got three straight outs for his 13th save.
''It's hard to score on us late when we can hand it to the bullpen,'' Hinch said.
Tillman (2-6) allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings. He hasn't won since April 18 and has dropped five straight decisions, tying a career high.
To be fair, in this one the right-hander didn't get a whole lot of support.
''It's a step in the right direction for a guy we know is capable of pitching at a good level,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''We obviously haven't been giving our pitchers much margin for error, but he gave us a real good chance to win tonight. Probably even a little bit better than that.''
Jimmy Paredes had three of Baltimore's five hits.
Feldman wasn't lighting up the radar gun, but his accuracy was uncanny.
''He's just crafty,'' Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said. ''He can move the ball whichever way he wants - left, right, up and down.''
Tillman blanked the Astros before stumbling in the seventh immediately after Baltimore took a 1-0 lead. After Evan Gattis hit a leadoff double, Tillman got two straight outs before Carter delivered an RBI single and scored on a double by Castro.
''Just a couple pitches beat him tonight,'' Joseph said of Tillman. ''It's unfortunate that they were back-to-back.''
Feldman and Tillman dominated the early innings before the scoreless duel ended in the sixth. Paredes led off with a double, took third on a groundout and scored when Chris Davis lunged at a breaking ball, sending a fly to right field that was deep enough to enable Paredes to tag up and reach the plate standing up.
Tillman walked the leadoff man in the second, third and fourth innings but avoided damage. The last time, Preston Tucker was cut down at the plate trying to score on a two-out double by Valbuena.
The Orioles got into a pattern at the plate, too, grounding into double plays to end each of the first three innings.
Astros: For the first time this season, rookie LF Preston Tucker started in the No. 3 spot in the batting order, although Hinch wouldn't make a long-term commitment to the move. Tucker went 0 for 3 with a walk.
Orioles: No. 3 hitter Adam Jones went 0 for 3 and is stuck in a 3-for-25 slump. He entered the month batting .400 and is now at .310.
Astros: RHP Samuel Deduno (lower back strain) worked a bullpen session Tuesday and is expected to participate in a rehab assignment on Friday for AAA Fresno. ... RHP Brett Oberholtzer (finger blister) is scheduled to start Wednesday for Fresno.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy returned to action after being pulled from Monday's game with back spasms. ... Matt Wieters (elbow) began his rehab assignment by catching for Double-A Bowie. He went 2 for 4 at the plate.
Astros: Collin McHugh (5-2) starts for Houston in the series finale Wednesday. In his last 19 starts, he's 12-2 and the Astros are 15-4.
Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3) is 4-0 with a 2.24 ERA lifetime against Houston.