Millar singles in game-winner as O's hand Astros 7th straight loss

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A home run on a 3-0 pitch. A key single on a routine grounder that probably should have been a double play. Everything seems to be going right for the Baltimore Orioles, who keep finding new and interesting ways to win one-run games.

Kevin Millar singled in the winning run in the 10th inning, and Baltimore handed the Houston Astros their seventh straight loss, 2-1 on Wednesday night.

It was the fourth straight one-run decision for the Orioles, three of them victories. Baltimore is 17-10 in one-run games compared to 13-31 last year.

"It's one of those things right now," Millar said. "You don't want to make a living doing that. We're just going through a stage where every game's a battle, every game's a dogfight."

Baltimore trailed 1-0 before Luke Scott got the green light in the seventh inning on a 3-0 pitch from former teammate Brian Moehler. Scott responded with his 12th home run, a shot to dead center that traveled over 400 feet.

"I got a decent pitch for me to handle," Scott said. "It wasn't that bad of a pitch being that far over the plate, but it was elevated a little bit and I was able to put a good swing on it."

With one out in the 10th, Melvin Mora singled off Jose Valverde (4-2). Aubrey Huff hit an opposite-field single to left through the hole vacated at shortstop when Miguel Tejada moved toward second as Mora broke for the base.

If Tejada doesn't move, it's likely an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Instead, the perfectly executed hit-and-run put runners on the corners for Millar, who bounced a single up the middle.

Baltimore was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position before Millar delivered. Earlier in the day, Millar dyed his hair blond. Afterward, he announced, "Hair's 1-0."

And the Astros? Well, they're mired in their worst skid since a 10-game losing streak in May 2007.

Lance Berkman hit his 20th home run and had two of Houston's five hits. Tejada went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his first series against the Orioles since the December trade that brought Scott to Baltimore.

Houston is 3-12 in June and has lost five straight interleague games, tying a franchise record.

"Panic is the wrong word, but certainly it's not the same feeling as early May when you're playing well and pulling games out," Berkman said. "That's the bad part of this job. In a rut like this, you're miserable and everybody wants to do something extra to help. You have to kind of fight against that. It happens every year and it happens to every team."

Berkman broke up a scoreless duel between Moehler and Jeremy Guthrie in the seventh inning with a shot that cleared the 25-foot scoreboard in right field and traveled an estimated 430 feet. It was the 44th home run in the history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street.

Scott answered in the bottom half. That it came against the Astros was not a source of additional satisfaction.

"I respect all those guys. I played with a lot of great teammates over there," he said. "I'm pulling for them to do well."

Chad Bradford (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the Orioles, who improved to 6-2 against the NL after bringing a 79-114 interleague record into the 2008 season.

Guthrie gave up three hits, had a season-high eight strikeouts and walked one in eight innings.

Moehler allowed six hits in 6 1/3 innings. At one point he got 12 consecutive outs.

"These aren't the games that kill you. We'll win our share, we'll lose our share," Berkman said. "A hotly contested pitcher's duel can go either way. The ones that hurt are when you are scoring runs."

The only hit off Guthrie over the first six innings was a double by Hunter Pence in the second inning. The right-hander retired 15 straight batters before Berkman connected.

"He challenged us pretty much with fastballs," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said of Guthrie. "We hit balls good; had three or four line drives right at them. We just couldn't get a hit when we needed it."

Game notes
Baltimore's Brian Roberts has at least one hit in 14 of 15 games. ... Since May 3, Berkman is batting .408 with 11 HRs and 32 RBIs. ... Mora, who came in batting .382 with runners in scoring position, went 0-for-2 in that situation.