“I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, and I think they know what I can do,” Pearce said. “And hopefully I can stay around for a little longer this time.”

Machado's homer — he hit a 2-2 changeup from Feldman into the Orioles bullpen — was his first extra-base hit and first RBI in 27 at-bats since making his season debut May 1.

Besides those two pitches, Feldman threw well in his return from injury. Entering the night with a 2-1 record and a 1.69 ERA in four starts for Houston, Feldman lasted six innings Friday in a no-decision. He allowed two runs on four hits while walking none and striking out six.

The Orioles acquired Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger last July from the Chicago Cubs for pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Feldman was 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 15 starts with the Orioles in 2013 before signing a three-year, $30 million free-agent deal with the Astros in December.

“I love this ballpark and have some good memories of last year, even though we didn't make the playoffs,” Feldman said. “It was a fun group of guys to be around, and really liked pitching here and the organization and everything. It was good.”

The Orioles said they wanted him back but never made an offer — presumably because they knew the 31-year-old was in line for a big payday.

“Everybody liked Scott. We would have liked to have brought him back. We knew his timing of going out on the market … was real, real good,” Showalter said before Friday's game. “I thought he might get what he got. He is pretty solid. God bless him. His timing was perfect, and I would have done the same thing he did.”

The Orioles' rotation has been its weakest link so far this season. But Chen's performance in his past five starts is certainly encouraging.

That was the theme of Friday night: encouraging signs. There was the news of Davis' impending return, Machado's first homer, Schoop's continued growth, and more hot hitting from Markakis and Pearce.

Ultimately, it meant another May win — the Orioles are 7-2 this month — and another day in first place.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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