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HOU@TOR: Bedard fans six over five strong frames

Left-hander Erik Bedard was scratched from Wednesday's start about five hours before first pitch between the Astros and Orioles in Baltimore, but it had nothing to do with the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, which saw teammate Bud Norris go from the Astros to the Orioles for two prospects (L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader) plus a compensatory pick. Bedard was merely dealing with left shoulder soreness and said he needed a few days to recover.

Instead of Bedard, it will be left-hander Brett Oberholtzer taking the ball for Houston in the second game of a three-game set, meeting Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez. The day before, Norris was scratched with trade rumors swirling.

As the Orioles chase down the American League East and Wild Card leaders during the season's final third, they're looking to deflect pressure out of the clubhouse and focus on the task at hand once we get past the Deadline days.

"I think a lot of times when the expectations are high and you're pushing toward a common goal, there can be a lot of stress and things can be overwhelming at times," Chris Davis said. "The reason we were where we were last year is because we went out and enjoyed every game and tried to make the most of it.

"I think we need to remember what got us here: The fact that we've pitched well lately and have really been swinging the bats well and playing defense well all year."

The Orioles took two of three from Houston earlier this season, with Gonzalez earning the win with six innings of work on June 6 at Minute Maid Park. Wednesday's game marks Gonzalez's 19th start and ninth home start. At Camden Yards, Gonzalez has been Baltimore's best arm, going 5-0 with a 3.78 ERA.

Oberholtzer, a 24-year-old rookie, has made three relief appearances in two stints with the Astros this season, last pitching on July 5. Called up Tuesday, Oberholtzer has gone 6-6 with a 4.37 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The lefty Bedard, meanwhile, spent the first five seasons of his career in Baltimore as the club's sixth-round Draft pick in 1999. He might be learning his next destination while back at Camden Yards on Wednesday.

"It will always be a special place, because that's where I started," Bedard said. "It's been a while now. It's been six years."

Astros: Bullpen going closer by committee
With closer Jose Veras traded to the Tigers in exchange for a prospect and a player to be named later, the Astros are going with a closer-by-committee approach for now.

The Astros are carrying seven relievers -- not including Lucas Harrell -- and five of those seven are rookies. Right-handers Chia-Jen Lo and Josh Zeid were called up from the Minor Leagues on Monday and added to the mix.

"I spoke to all of those guys and let them know they all should be ready from the sixth inning on and will be used in different situations based on the understanding of where we were in the ballgame and prior usage, as well," manager Bo Porter said.

Orioles: Norris switches dugouts in Baltimore
With less than 24 hours until the Deadline, Orioles manager Buck Showalter arrived 20 minutes late to his pregame session with reporters on Tuesday as he met with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to discuss potential scenarios.

The Orioles were in need of a starter and a designated hitter and were one of three teams thought to be in the running for Norris, along with the D-backs and Pirates. Baltimore came away with the young veteran, who will slot nicely into a rotation that lost right-hander Jason Hammel to the disabled list shortly after Wednesday's Deadline.

"There's not a perfect team out there ... got to be careful about spending too much time in somebody else's backyard and not in your own. That's where I try to keep my focus," Showalter said.

Worth noting
• The Astros haven't won consecutive games since June 15-16 against the White Sox, the longest such streak in the Major Leagues.

• Davis' two-run homer in the sixth inning of Tuesday's triumph was his first in 16 days, his lengthiest long-ball slump of the season. Comments