Starter Collin McHugh was roughed up in the second inning, surrendering five hits to a struggling Orioles offense and eventually returning to the dugout with a four-run deficit.
His offense, which has become notable for erasing deficits late in games, instead broke out immediately, with a six-hit, five-run third inning highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena.
"It's rare, I think, in our game to sort of get punched in the mouth with a four spot and come back and answer an inning later," said manager A.J. Hinch. "Getting those runs early in that game, as the innings progress, four-run deficits, five-run deficits are really hard to overcome when you're running out of outs."
Gattis' shot, a no-doubter to the train tracks in left field on an 0-1 hanging offspeed pitch, sent home Jose Altuve and Preston Tucker, who had strung together consecutive singles.
"Kind of had a feeling [Orioles starter Mike Wright would] go back soft, soft, but I thought he'd throw the same pitch again after I took the first one," Gattis said. "Just glad I could get a barrel to it."
Valbuena's homer came two pitches later on a slider, giving the Astros a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The shutdown inning came soon after, when McHugh dispatched the bottom third of the Orioles' order in the fourth, the second of five consecutive no-hit innings he'd toss after his struggles in the second.
"As a starting pitcher, it's nice, because you know even if you give up a run or two early, our guys are going to be right there," McHugh said. "I mean, it's huge. They talk about pitchers' shut-down innings where you score and go back out and shut down the other team that inning. I think [rebound runs are] just as important."
Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.