Gonzalez on mound, Markakis at plate lead O's past Angels

Just get Nick Markakis to the plate with the bases loaded.

When the O's right fielder came to bat with the sacks full in the last of the seventh of a 1-1 tie, he was 2-for-2 this year with the bases loaded.

After his clutch two-run single to center off Scott Downs, you can make that 3-for-3. And that big hit and a strong outing from Miguel Gonzalez lifted the Orioles to a 3-2 win over the Angels.

Over eight innings, Gonzalez gave up just four hits and the one run with one walk and five strikeouts. Gonzalez, who improves to 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA, threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Gonzalez has pitched to an ERA of 2.85 over his past five starts, allowing two earned runs or less four times since coming off the disabled list on May 21.

Buck Showalter went with Jim Johnson to pitch the ninth after he had recorded nine-pitch saves on both Sunday and Monday. Johnson gave up a run, but got Mark Trumbo on a called third strike to end the game and record his 23rd save.

The Orioles improve to 17-13 at home, 5-1 vs. the Angels and to a season-high nine games over .500 at 37-28.

The O's loaded the bases against Jason Vargas the hard way in the seventh. They started with two outs and proceeded to get three consecutive infield hits from Danny Valencia, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty at the bottom of the order. Then Markakis delivered the two-run hit.

The Orioles pinned the loss on Vargas, a pitcher who had shut them out on three hits May 3 and who was 2-2 with a 1.65 career ERA against them.

Earlier, Mike Trout hit a solo homer in the fourth and the O's tied it 1-1 in the sixth on Manny Machado's RBI groundout.

While the Angels lost for the ninth time in their last 11 games, the Orioles won their third in a row, won for the sixth time in nine games and improved to 14-7 over the last 21 games.

In the afternoon series final Wednesday at 12:35 p.m., Jason Hammel (7-4, 5.18 ERA) pitches against right-hander Jerome Williams (4-2, 2.87 ERA).

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