Red Sox-Orioles Preview
Chris Davis and Manny Machado will likely have a say in that.
Davis and Machado look to continue their respective success at the plate Saturday as they try to help the Orioles move even closer to the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Baltimore (39-29) has won seven of eight against Boston (41-28) dating to last season, including five in a row at Camden Yards. The Orioles haven't had a longer home streak in the series since reeling off seven straight wins bridging 1969 and '70.
Getting closer to matching that run would also put Baltimore in position to overtake the Red Sox for the division lead heading into Sunday's finale of this four-game series.
For now, the Orioles trail by 1 1/2 games, the closest they've been to first place since May 13.
Davis and Machado are big reasons Baltimore is gaining ground. Davis hit his major league-leading 22nd homer and Machado had three hits with two doubles in Friday's 2-0 win. They had two hits apiece and combined for three RBIs a day earlier, when Davis' walkoff single secured a 5-4, 13-inning win.
"Obviously you want to continue to play as well as you can, no matter if you're at home or on the road, if it's early or late in the season," Davis said. "But we know we're close. And any time a division rival comes in, you want to try to take as many games as you possibly can. I think we're pleased with the way things have gone so far, and hopefully we can continue it."
Davis is hitting .424 with six homers, 10 RBIs and 10 runs over his last 10 meetings with the Red Sox, while Machado - the major league leader in hits (95) and doubles (30) - has put together a career-high 12-game hit streak.
Freddy Garcia (3-3, 4.47 ERA) will try to win for the fourth time in five starts for the Orioles. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his past five outings overall and is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three at home.
The only runs the right-hander allowed in six innings of Monday's 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels came on a pair of solo homers, and only a long rain delay kept him from continuing.
Garcia is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA over his last six games - four starts - versus Boston.
The Red Sox were held to three hits Friday and have a .167 average with 11 runs over the last five games at Camden Yards.
Dustin Pedroia is 3 for 18 over that span after hitting .344 during his first 15 games there.
John Lackey (3-5, 3.14) will try to win for only the second time in seven road starts this year.
His struggles away from home continued against Tampa Bay on Monday, when he allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-8 win in 14. The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.88 ERA on the road this season, yielding five homers in his last 11 2-3 innings.
Lackey is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his last three games at Baltimore, but this is his first appearance there since June 6, 2010.
He'll face Machado for the first time, but he may not be thrilled to get re-acquainted with Davis and Nick Markakis. Davis is 8 for 17 (.471) with two doubles and a homer off him, while Markakis owns a .357 average with three doubles and a triple in 42 career at-bats.