HOUSTON - The Baltimore Orioles' offense had been lagging. Chris Tillman's last two starts had been awful. Tillman turned it around on Saturday, and the Orioles offense was good enough.

Tillman pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, and Nelson Cruz hit his major league leading 20th home run as the Orioles beat the Houston Astros 4-1 before 29,619 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.

In his previous two starts, Tillman (5-2) had been shelled for 14 runs in 6 2/3 innings. This time, he allowed just one run on four hits.

Tillman didn't seem relieved to get a win.

"I wouldn't say it's a relief. It's my job," Tillman said. "As a starting pitcher, you want to get deep into the ballgame and give your team a chance to win. We were able to do that tonight."

Cruz, who also leads the major league in RBIs with 52, had three of the Orioles' four, on a sacrifice fly, a bases-loaded walk, and his eighth inning home run.

"As a team, we know we can score runs, no doubt. We have, top-to-bottom one of the best lineups in the league. It was a matter of time before we came back and do what we're supposed to do. Today was a great example," Cruz said. "I'm in the zone right now. I can see the ball well enough, stay long enough, pull the ball."

Baltimore (27-27) broke a four-game losing streak. They scored a run in the first on Nick Markakis' double, an infield out by Steve Pearce, and Cruz's sacrifice fly.

Tillman (5-2) allowed a run in the second after he allowed Matt Dominguez's double and hit two batters. Robbie Grossman's rolled one up the first base line, but Tillman thought it would go foul. Dominguez scored Houston's only run.

Tillman had two runners on in the third, but got stronger. His lien was a run on four hits, two walks, three strikeouts, two hit batters and two wild pitches in 6 2/3.

"Even last year, I feel like I get better as the game goes. That's just the way I am. I'm not trying to throw softer earlier in the game. I felt good later in the game and was able to get into a rhythm," Tillman said.

Pearce and Cruz drove in runs on bases loaded walks in the fifth off Dallas Keuchel (6-3).

Ryan Webb retired all four batters he faced, and Zach Britton recorded his fourth save in five opportunities.

Showalter enjoyed seeing Cruz's eighth inning home run, which made the score 4-1.

"He's got the reputation as streaky, I don't think I've ever seen him this locked in for this period of time. A lot of guys at his age kind of start figuring out who they are and learning from their mistakes through the years, in more ways than one," Showalter said.

MACHADO BREAKS OUT, SORT OF: Manny Machado was in a 1-for-19 slump before he had consecutive infield singles.

It was his third game in the seventh spot in the order. Showalter had moved him down from second to seventh.

"Definitely, I'm not producing up there in the lineup. Might as well put me lower in the lineup, let me catch my breath and get it going again," Machado said before the game.

"We're about to get hot. We're struggling as a team right now. It's obvious. We've just got to keep grinding. The pitching staff is doing well. We've just got to put one and one together and get some wins."

Showalter isn't frustrated by Machado's struggles.

"Guys are pitching him good. It's a combination of Manny not being as consistent as he's capable of being. You've got to exercise some patience, but at the same time we all want it to happen yesterday. He spoiled us at a pretty good level. He hit, what, [.283] last year? And at a young age. So, we know it's there," Showalter said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Showalter said that Tommy Hunter would throw a bullpen in Bowie on Sunday. ... Adam Jones played in his 1,000th game. ... The Orioles lead the American League with 29 hit batters. ... Showalter said that Nolan Reimold, who is in extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla., is making good progress. ... Markakis was nearly scratched because of a stiff neck, Showalter said.

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