(AP) — Coming off a successful road trip, the Baltimore Orioles are hoping to carry their momentum over at home.
The Orioles aim for a third straight win as they open a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Averaging 5.0 runs to rank near the top of the majors, Baltimore (19-13) scored an 5.3 per game and hit 14 home runs during its recently completed 11-game trek.
“Anytime you go to the West Coast for 12 days and you can walk out of there with even a .500 mark, you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. But to come away with seven wins out of 11, that’s pretty impressive,” pitcher Jason Hammel said.
Hammel won his third straight start as the Orioles pulled out an 8-4 victory Sunday to take three of four from the Los Angeles Angels. Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy both hit two-run homers and Ryan Flaherty added two RBIs for Baltimore, which went 6 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
“For us to take three of four here is huge,” reliever Darren O’Day said. “We’ve been consistent. We might not blow your doors off, but we’re going to play baseball. And we probably haven’t played our best baseball yet.”
The Orioles will try to stay hot against Royals starter Ervin Santana (3-1, 2.00), who threw four scoreless innings Thursday versus Tampa Bay before the game was called due to weather. Again seeking his 100th victory, Santana is 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his last four outings.
“He’s been pretty electric,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said.
Santana, 4-5 with a 5.42 ERA in 12 starts versus Baltimore, is 2-3 with a 7.06 mark over his last five visits to Camden Yards. Hardy is 3 for 10 with two homers against the right-hander, but Matt Wieters is 1 for 11.
Chris Davis, 5 for 23 with three homers and two doubles versus Santana, went 1 for 4 with an RBI on Sunday after missing the previous game with a knee injury. He’s among the major league leaders with nine homers and 30 RBIs.
The Orioles give the ball to Wei-Yin Chen (2-3, 3.50 ERA). After scattering two hits and two walks over a career-high eight innings in a 3-0 win at Oakland on April 26, Chen allowed five runs and eight hits over a career-worst four innings during Wednesday’s 8-3 loss at Seattle.
“From outstanding to the worst,” he told MLB’s official website through his interpreter. “I tried to throw first-pitch strikes. But I tried to think too much, I tried to attack both sides of the plate and it didn’t work at all.”
The left-hander was also knocked around in his last matchup against Kansas City (17-11), yielding a career high-tying seven runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings of an 8-2 loss Aug. 9. He’ll need to solve Billy Butler, who’s gone 5 for 6 with two homers, a triple and a double in their matchups.
The Royals found themselves on the verge of a season-best fifth consecutive victory before coming undone Monday in a 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox. Closer Greg Holland allowed the tying run in the ninth before Kelvin Herrera surrendered a go-ahead homer in the 11th.
The Royals, hitting .300 with runners in scoring position on the road, play 12 of their next 15 in opposing ballparks.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is batting .329 with three homers and 12 RBIs during a 20-game hitting streak in the series.