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Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 8:10 PM ET
 

Orioles-Astros Preview

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Freddy Garcia began his professional career 18 years ago in the Houston Astros' organization with a bright future ahead of him.

Now, the 36-year-old is grateful just to be part of a major league rotation.

Garcia looks to win his third straight start while helping the visiting Baltimore Orioles earn a sixth victory in seven tries as they face Houston on Wednesday night.

Baltimore signed Garcia (2-2, 3.57 ERA) to a minor league contract in March after he was released by San Diego. He made his first start May 4 and is coming off his best outing of the season, striking out six and allowing three hits in eight innings of a 2-0 win over Washington on Thursday.

The right-hander has posted a 1.89 ERA over his last three starts after tossing eight scoreless innings for the first time since a win over Detroit on Sept. 19, 2006, while pitching for the Chicago White Sox.

"I don't take it for granted," Garcia told the team's official website regarding being in the majors again. "Every five days I take the mound, I'm glad they gave me the opportunity to be here and pitch."

Garcia began his career in the Houston organization before being traded to Seattle in 1998 as part of the Randy Johnson trade. He hasn't faced the Astros since losing his only start against them in 2004.

He's had plenty of success against Houston's Carlos Pena, holding the slugger to five hits in 43 at-bats (.116) with 13 strikeouts.

Garcia will look to help Baltimore (33-25), which is 10-4 following a season-worst six-game losing streak, continue its hot stretch after it won Tuesday's series opener 4-1 to end Houston's six-game winning streak.

The Orioles' Nos. 7-9 hitters - J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty and Danny Valencia - had five of the team's eight hits. Valencia has seven hits in 28 at-bats since being recalled May 19, with three leaving the park after he homered in the third inning.

''The more you're in there, the more you feel comfortable and you get your results and you feel better and better and better,'' Valencia said. ''Hopefully I can just contribute when I'm in the lineup.''

The AL-worst Astros (21-38) were coming off a perfect 6-0 road trip but could muster only a Brandon Barnes solo homer in the sixth inning for their only run Tuesday.

Chris Carter's six-game hitting streak came to an end for Houston, which has lost five of its last six at home while finishing with only one run and five hits in each of the last two.

''I thought we had some pretty good at-bats,'' manager Bo Porter said. ''It just seemed like when we were hitting the ball hard, (Baltimore outfielder) Adam Jones was running up Tal's Hill and making great plays.''

The Astros will turn to Dallas Keuchel as they try to get back on track Wednesday.

Keuchel (2-2, 5.10) has a 5.17 ERA while starting his last five appearances, though he's coming off his best outing after allowing two runs in seven innings of a 6-3 win over the Angels on Friday.

"Dallas did a great job," Porter said. "Overall great job to give us the amount of innings he gave us against an opponent like that."

The left-hander will be making his first start against Baltimore, which has won seven straight meetings with the Astros dating back to 2005.

The Orioles will be without right fielder Nick Markakis for the next two games while he attends the funeral of his grandmother.

Tagged: Orioles, Astros, Freddy Garcia, Danny Valencia

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