Valencia homers again (O’s win 4-1)

Orioles manager Buck Showalter hasn’t been predictable in his use of Danny Valencia. There isn’t the anticipated strict platoon at designated hitter.

Valencia is starting again tonight against a right-hander, the Astros’ Lucas Harrell, and he gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with a home run to right field in the top of the third inning.

Valencia has homered in three of his last seven games, and he’s totaled seven RBIs in that span.

Chris Dickerson, no longer bothered by a sore wrist, made consecutive starts as the DH against right-handers, but he’s on the bench tonight.

Valencia drove in the tying run Sunday afternoon against the Tigers with the Orioles’ second pinch-hit of the season.

Manny Machado doubled in the third inning tonight, increasing his major league-leading total to 26. Machado advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on first baseman Chris Carter’s error.

Machado now has 81 hits, two behind the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera. He’s batting .350 (64-for-183) against right-handers.

Machado has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 road games, batting .421 (40-for-95) with 14 doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs and 18 runs scored. He’s hit in 11 of his last 12 road games, batting .455 (25-for-55) with eight doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and 11 runs scored. He has the most hits on the road in the majors with 50.

Down on the farm, Double-A Bowie outfielder Henry Urrutia is 4-for-4 tonight with two home runs and five RBIs. He’s batting .353 with 13 doubles, five homers and 27 RBIs in 36 games.

Urrutia is batting third in the Baysox’s lineup for the first time this season.

Steven Bumbry hit his third home run to give Bowie a 6-5 lead in the ninth inning.

Jon Rauch is making his Triple-A Norfolk debut tonight. He walked a batter and struck out one in the sixth inning.

Update: Brandon Barnes homered with one out in the sixth to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 2-1.

Tillman has surrendered nine homers in his last four starts and 12 in his last six.

Tillman has allowed three hits tonight, two by Barnes. He stranded the potential tying run in the sixth inning and currently is working on his seventh quality start of the season.

Tillman has thrown 96 pitches, 60 for strikes.

Update II: Tillman held the Astros to one run and four hits over seven innings, with two walks and a season-high eight strikeouts. His 113 pitches are one shy of tying his season high.

Harrell led the majors in walks heading into tonight, but he didn’t issue a free pass over seven innings against the Orioles.

Nate McLouth just stole his 20th base in 21 attempts, as the Orioles try to add an insurance run in the eighth.

And now he’s stolen his 21st base and raced home on a throwing error by Astros catcher Jason Castro.

The Orioles have 17 consecutive steals since Nick Markakis was cut down on May 18.

Update III: Ryan Flaherty singled with two outs in the ninth to drive in J.J. Hardy, and Jim Johnson recorded his 19th save in a 4-1 victory over the Astros.

Flaherty has two multi-hit games this season, both of them coming in the last six games.

Johnson has converted four straight save chances.

Adam Jones made a couple of sensational running catches in center field tonight. He must like that hill.

Tillman has allowed 56 home runs in his career. Forty have been solo shots.

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