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HOU@KC: Feldman throws six innings of two-run ball

The Orioles picked up a much-needed 4-1 win against the Astros on Saturday to snap a four-game skid and end Houston's seven-game winning streak.

On Sunday, the O's will send Wei-Yin Chen to the hill, as they try to leave Houston with a split of the four-game set. The Astros will counter with Scott Feldman, as they look to clinch their second straight series.

Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz drove in three runs on Saturday, and he set an O's record with 52 RBIs before the end of May. The outfielder drove in four of Baltimore's 11 runs during their recent slide.

"It's everybody besides Cruz. Whatever he's doing, it's working," Adam Jones said before Saturday's game. "We're just tring to do too much individually, rather than pass the baton and let the guy behind you do it. Our lineup is really strong. Without us getting on base, we kind of limit ourselves, and we're guys who drive runs in."

The O's hope Cruz can keep up his pace behind Chen (5-2, 4.50 ERA), as they face former teammate Feldman (3-2, 3.02 ERA). Feldman allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, but took a no-decision when Houston lost to Baltimore, 4-3, on May 9.

Feldman went 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA last year for the Orioles.

"It's always fun playing against your old teams," Feldman said. "I obviously had a good time playing with those guys.

Astros: Qualls rediscovering closer form
One of the reasons the Astros' bullpen has flourished in the past three weeks has been veteran Chad Qualls, who's settled nicely into the closer's role and is throwing the ball as well as he has in the last couple of years.

Qualls saved consecutive games Thursday and Friday, throwing 1 1/3 innings for his fifth save in Friday's win. He has not allowed a run in 17 of his last 18 appearances, including each of his last 14 games covering 12 2/3 innings.

This season marks his first chance to close since he saved 45 games with the D-backs from 2008-10.

"When [Qualls] got going, it obviously helped our bullpen," manager Bo Porter said. "You had that guy at the back end, and you feel like if we had a lead in the ninth, it doesn't matter who's coming up, you can give him the ball."

Orioles: Hunter nearing return
Tommy Hunter will throw a bullpen session on Sunday and could come off the disabled list as early as Thursday, which is the first day the reliever is eligible to be activated.

Hunter will throw his bullpen session at Double-A Bowie's stadium as he continues to progress favorably from a strained groin.

The closer converted 11 of his first 12 save opportunities, but blew his final two before hitting the disabled list.

"It'll be good to get him back," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "I think Tommy's going to come back and really help us."

Worth noting
• Orioles pitcher Zach Britton pitched on Saturday -- his first appearance since blowing a save against the Brewers on Tuesday -- notching his fourth save since taking over the closer's job earlier this month.

• Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar switched his jersey number Saturday to No. 2, which was worn last year by Brandon Barnes. Villar had worn No. 6 since his Major League debut last year. Villar said he wore the number in the Minor Leagues and decided to take it back. Comments