By Brian McTaggart and Connor Smolensky
BALTIMORE -- Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce each hit two-run home runs to send Astros ace Dallas Keuchel to his first loss since last August in the Orioles' 4-3 win in the series opener on Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Joseph lined a 1-1 pitch in the second inning into the first row of left-field seats to put the Orioles ahead, 2-0, and Pearce sent the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning over the wall in right-center to put Baltimore on top, 4-3.
"The key is only letting them score three," O's manager Buck Showalter said.
Keuchel suffered his first loss since Aug. 21, 2014, against the Yankees, going 8-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his next 14 starts. He was in line for the win after Chris Carter's two-run single in the fifth inning put the Astros ahead, 3-2.
"I think the game was more about they took advantage of every opportunity they had, which weren't many," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We left a lot of runners on base, so it wasn't very timely for us. I thought Dallas was in command of the game almost in its entirety with the exception of two pitches."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Joseph gives O's early lead: Keuchel entered the game having given up just nine extra-base hits on the season. Joseph made it 10 in the second inning when he hit a two-out home run. More >
Keuchel gives up rare homers: Keuchel had allowed only one home run in 64 2/3 innings prior to Monday, but he gave up two to snap his eight-game winning streak. More >
"I came out pretty, pretty bad," Keuchel said. "The wind was a factor early on and the two-seam was kind of just diving down. But I made some adjustments and I felt like I hit a stride, but, I mean, anything's possible and that's a very dangerous lineup over there. They haven't been playing relatively good ball offensively. But that's what happens. Home cooking, and I just didn't get it done today."
Pearce finishes the drill: Pearce, who came into Monday's game with a .188 average, regained the lead for the Orioles in the seventh.
"I was ready to hit," Pearce said. "He left something up and I put good wood on it. He's a great pitcher. Kept us off balance all day, so if you can capitalize on a mistake, that's what you've got to do."
It was his fifth homer of the season, and second big home run in less than a week. In Thursday's game vs. the Mariners, Pearce hit his first career grand slam, which was crucial in Baltimore's 5-4 victory.
Astros squander chances: Despite George Springer (3-for-5) and Jose Altuve (2-for-4) doing a nice job setting the table at the top of the batting order, the Astros couldn't capitalize enough with men on base. They were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven. More >
"We have a good team, we have a good hitting team. We just haven't had consistency all year. Right now is a good time to get hot as any. So hopefully we'll start something." -- Pearce
"We had every chance to win that game, and that's the disappointing part of the loss. We're in position to get more runs to give a little bit more breathing room to where a base hit and a blast doesn't beat you." -- Hinch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros suffered just their second loss of the season when leading after six innings (19-2).
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Scott Feldman (3-4, 5.17 ERA) will face off against his former team in Tuesday's 6:05 p.m. CT game against the Orioles. Feldman allowed five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in his previous start against the Tigers in Detroit. Still, he has given the Astros six quality starts in his nine outings this season, and 13 of his last 16 since last year.
Orioles:Chris Tillman (2-5, 6.10 ERA) will take the mound on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET after going just three innings in his last outing due to a lengthy rain delay. In those three innings against the Mariners, Tillman gave up one hit, one run and three walks while striking out two.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.