Orioles-Padres Preview

Adam Jones may have grown up in San Diego attending Padres games
as a kid, but that hasn’t stopped him from tormenting his hometown
team each time he makes a visit.

He seeks to follow up a career night with another solid
performance as the Baltimore Orioles look to sweep their two-game
set with the Padres on Wednesday afternoon.

Jones was a high school star in San Diego before being drafted
by Seattle in the first round of the 2003 draft. He doesn’t get to
play much at Petco Park, but he’s seemed more than comfortable in
his home surroundings when he does.

He tied his career best with four hits, including a solo home
run, and scored twice as Baltimore (62-51) beat the Padres 4-1 on
Tuesday. Jones is 8 for 15 with two homers in four games in San
Diego and also hit a two-run homer in his last visit in 2010.

”It’s cool to hear the cheers and all that stuff, but we’re
here to play a baseball game,” Jones said. ”I have all offseason
to hang out with (family and friends from the area). I’m just glad
we got the win.”

Chris Davis recorded his major league-best 103rd RBI on Tuesday
while Jones is 9 for 19 with five RBIs over his last five games,
and they’ll look to help the Orioles provide some support for
scheduled starter Miguel Gonzalez, who hasn’t fared well
lately.

Gonzalez (8-5, 3.88 ERA) went 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA over his
previous eight starts before back-to-back rough outings. He gave up
six runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to Kansas City on July 25
before allowing a career-worst nine runs – four earned – and nine
hits in 3 2-3 frames of last Wednesday’s 11-0 loss to Houston.

“Everything’s been flat,” Gonzalez said after losing consecutive
outings for the first time in his career. “You just can’t pitch
that way. You’re going to have rough outings or there’s going to be
rough games out there.”

The right-hander has never faced the Padres (52-61), who have
lost three of five following a four-game winning streak. They’ve
been held to one run twice and been shut out another time in that
stretch.

San Diego was 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position Tuesday
and is 7 for 43 (.163) during those five games.

”Our situational hitting was not good,” manager Bud Black
said. ”We need to do better at it, there’s no doubt about it. We
talk about it but we have to execute. I think that was the
game.”

Yonder Alonso, whose average has risen from .271 on July 14 to
his current .297, went 2 for 4 and had an RBI single in the
sixth.

San Diego will look to bounce back with help from Eric Stults,
who has posted a 4.58 ERA while dropping his last three starts.

Stults (8-10, 3.55) gave up four runs – one earned – and 10 hits
in 6 2-3 innings of last Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to Cincinnati. He
allowed two runs in 15 innings while winning his previous two
outings.

The latest defeat marked the first at home for the left-hander
in eight home starts, as he’s 5-1 with a 1.35 ERA in that stretch.
He’s allowed one earned run seven times in that span.

Stults has never faced Baltimore, which is hitting .245 against
lefties – a far cry from the .274 it’s batting versus
right-handers.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is mired in a 2-for-31 (.065)
slump.