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Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - 12:35 PM ET
 

Red Sox-Orioles Preview

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The Boston Red Sox offense has been dealing with some rare inconsistency over the last few games, and Adrian Gonzalez's slump hasn't helped.

The Red Sox will try to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this month when they conclude their series against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

Boston's offense has alternated between being very hot and very cold over the last few games. After tallying 16 hits in Monday's 15-10 win over the Orioles, the Red Sox (58-37) lost 6-2 on Tuesday.

Their previous two games were a pair of victories over Tampa Bay - 9-5 on Saturday and 1-0 in 16 innings Sunday.

Boston only trailed by one Tuesday before Baltimore scored three in the eighth. The loss snapped a three-game overall winning streak and a seven-game run against the Orioles.

"We needed a win against them. They've been wearing us out," said Baltimore's Derrek Lee, who hit a two-run homer in the eighth.

The Red Sox have still won 13 of 16 overall since back-to-back losses at Philadelphia on June 28 and 29. Tuesday was just the fourth time during that stretch that the Red Sox have been held to fewer than four runs.

While David Ortiz sat out the second of a three-game suspension for his involvement in a benches-clearing incident with the Orioles on July 8, Gonzalez's struggles since the All-Star break continued. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, also grounding into a double play.

Gonzalez is 2 for 24 with seven strikeouts in five games since the break. He had been 16 for 32 against the Orioles this season before this series.

Baltimore (39-55) will try to earn its second series win at home over the Red Sox after taking two of three April 26-28. The Orioles have won three of four overall after losing 14 of the previous 15, and they're averaging 6.4 runs in their last seven games.

Mark Reynolds had three hits and drove in two Tuesday. He also had a solo home run after batting .128 with no RBIs and 19 strikeouts in his previous 11 games.

The Baltimore third baseman is 4 for 7 with two doubles and three walks against Andrew Miller (3-1, 5.68 ERA), who takes the mound for the second time against the Orioles this year.

Miller struggled against Tampa Bay on Friday, giving up seven runs and five walks in 2 2-3 innings of a 9-6 loss.

"I have to do a better job of attacking the zone instead of trying to hit the corners the whole time," he told the Red Sox's official website.

Miller had posted a 3.18 ERA while winning his previous three starts.

The left-hander went five innings against Baltimore on July 7, allowing three runs and issuing four walks without a strikeout in a 10-4 victory.

He beat Jake Arrieta (9-6, 5.10), who will oppose Miller again after compiling a 7.91 ERA while failing to make it past the fifth inning in any of his last four starts. He went five against Cleveland on Friday, allowing five runs and eight hits in a 6-5 loss, but did not get the decision.

Arrieta has given up five home runs in his last 11 1-3 innings.

The right-hander surrendered five runs and walked four in 4 1-3 innings on July 7. He gave up home runs to Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games Tuesday, tying a career high.

Tagged: Orioles, Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew Miller

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