Indians-Orioles Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 23, 2013
After coming up empty against the hottest team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles hope to get back on track against another club that has been on a bit of a run lately. The Orioles will attempt to avoid their fourth straight loss Monday night when they open a four-game series against a Cleveland Indians team that has won eight of 11. Baltimore (42-34) returns to Camden Yards looking to regroup after surging Toronto wrapped up a three-game sweep Sunday with a 13-5 victory for its 11th consecutive win. The Orioles have lost three in a row for the first time since a season-high six-game slide May 14-20. "We ran into a good team and came up short,'' said second baseman Ryan Flaherty, who had his first career two-homer game and has three home runs in his last three contests. While Baltimore's next opponent hasn't been quite as hot as the Blue Jays, the Indians (38-36) have rebounded nicely from a season-worst eight-game losing streak. The Indians, however, had their four-game winning streak snapped in a 5-3 loss at Minnesota on Sunday. Ubaldo Jimenez will try to get this 11-game road swing off to a better start than the last trip June 3-12, when the Indians dropped their first seven before salvaging the final two. Cleveland starters have keyed the turnaround with a 2.67 ERA in 11 games since the skid. Jimenez (5-4, 4.66 ERA) has been solid with a 3-1 record and 2.77 ERA in seven road starts. Although he hasn't made it out of the sixth inning while walking 11 in his last three starts overall, Jimenez is 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA in his last 10. The right-hander went 5 2-3 innings, allowing two runs, two hits and four walks before leaving without a decision in a 4-3 win over Kansas City on Tuesday. Jimenez will face the Orioles and slugger Chris Davis for the first time. Davis leads the major leagues with 27 homers, and he's hit seven of those - driving in 18 with a 1.305 OPS - over his last 11 games. Teammate Nate McLouth has also been hot, entering with a seven-game hitting streak, but he's 3 for 22 with seven strikeouts against Jimenez. The Orioles counter with Zach Britton (1-1, 5.56), who makes his second start since getting recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Britton made the most of his recent opportunity, allowing one run and five hits over 5 1-3 innings to outpitch Justin Verlander in a 5-2 win at Detroit on Tuesday. "He was crisp. He attacked the zone,'' manager Buck Showalter said. "That's a tough lineup for a left-hander to go through." Britton, 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts versus the Indians, gave up four hits over six shutout innings in a 4-3 win at Cleveland on July 22. Second baseman Jason Kipnis went 2 for 3 off Britton in that contest and is hitting .444 over his last 15 overall. Teammate Michael Bourn may also be heating up, going 8 for 13 in his last three games. The Indians split eight meetings with the Orioles last season, but took three of four in Baltimore.
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