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Thu, Jul 7, 2011 - 7:10 PM ET
 

Orioles-Red Sox Preview

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Andrew Miller has been solid in his three starts for the Boston Red Sox this season - all against NL opponents.

Finally facing some AL competition, Miller looks to remain undefeated as the Red Sox open a four-game set against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Fenway Park.

Miller (2-0, 3.06 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox (51-35) since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace the injured Clay Buchholz on June 19. The left-hander has not allowed more than three runs in a game, and he gave up two in six innings of a 10-4 win at Houston on Saturday.

"I went out there and felt like I normally do for a start," Miller told the Red Sox's official website. "Throw a lot of strikes, make them put it in play."

Miller, who pitched for Detroit from 2006-07 before spending the last three seasons with Florida, has not faced an AL team since 2009. He allowed one run and one hit in seven innings of a 7-6 win over Baltimore while with the Marlins on June 23, 2009.

Along with Miller, Tim Wakefield has helped stabilize an injury-riddled Boston rotation missing Buchholz, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka. The aging knuckleballer pitched seven strong innings as the Red Sox won for the sixth time in seven games, 6-4 over Toronto on Wednesday.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who homered and drove in three runs, has hit .481 (13 of 27) with six RBIs his last six games following a 2-for-24 stretch. The All-Star center fielder is batting a remarkable .440 with three homers and 13 RBIs during a 22-game hitting streak against Baltimore.

He will get his first look at scheduled Orioles starter Jake Arrieta (9-5, 4.74).

The second-year right-hander allowed three runs and struck out five without a walk in five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-6 loss to Boston on Sept. 1, and is making his first appearance at Fenway Park.

"There's two ways to look at it," manager Buck Showalter told the Orioles' official website. "You look at it as an opportunity to do something special in a great venue, as opposed to the other way around, as some sense of anxiety."

Arrieta looks to bounce back after he allowed five runs - including a grand slam to backup catcher David Ross - in five innings of a 5-4 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.

The Orioles (36-48) hope Arrieta can help them avoid a fourth straight loss after they were outscored 30-11 while being swept in Texas. Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee each hit their seventh homers as Baltimore lost for the eighth time in nine games, 13-5 on Wednesday.

"We've got to lick our wounds, forget about this series and have a better one in Boston," losing pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said.

The Orioles have a chance to bounce back in Boston, where they took two of three in September for their first winning series at Fenway since 2005. Baltimore, which also took of three from the Red Sox at home in April, lost its only contest in Boston this season when a two-game set in May was shortened by rain.

Guerrero, who had four hits the last two games, is batting .471 (8 for 17) with a homer and three RBIs versus Boston in 2011.

All-Star catcher Matt Wieters has hit .325 his last 10 games, and .319 in 13 career games at Fenway.

Tagged: Orioles, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller, Jake Arrieta

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