Orioles-Yankees Preview

What a difference a week makes.

The New York Yankees, winners of six straight, look to avenge

last weekend’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore

Orioles with one of their own Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.

Since last Sunday’s 4-2 loss in Baltimore, the Yankees (48-39)

have swept Minnesota in a four-game set before taking the first two

of this series, including a 5-4 come-from-behind victory

Saturday.

Lyle Overbay had three hits and Eduardo Nunez, playing his first

game in two months, came off the disabled list to drive in two runs

for New York, which has won four of the five meetings with the

Orioles at Yankee Stadium this season.

”Nuney is kind of a free spirit,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I

don’t think he thought a lot about not having a lot of at-bats

(while rehabbing a left side strain).”

Baltimore (48-40), which jumped out to a 3-0 lead Sunday, has

dropped four of five since sweeping the Yankees despite Chris Davis

staying hot against the AL East rivals. He hit a two-run homer in

the first and now has six while batting .342 in 11 meetings with

New York in 2013.

Davis’ 33rd homer and 85th RBI equaled both of his totals from

all of last season, matching the numbers in exactly 200 fewer

at-bats. Six of his last nine hits have left the ballpark, though

he’s batting only .220 over his last 12.

”Anytime you’re leading early in the game, you expect to

continue to lead, or at least put up some more runs,” said Davis,

whose 33 homers before the All-Star break are tied for fourth

all-time among AL players. “Leads in this game don’t last very

long, especially in this ballpark and with their offense.”

Davis has homered twice off Hiroki Kuroda this season, including

last Sunday when Kuroda (7-6, 2.95 ERA) allowed all four runs over

six innings.

The right-hander had given up two earned runs in each of his

previous three starts prior to that defeat. He has a 4.13 ERA in

eight outings, though, since giving up five runs in two innings of

a 6-3 loss to the Orioles on May 22.

Kuroda originally was scheduled to start Friday’s series opener,

but a sore left hip flexor delayed his outing. An MRI didn’t show

any tears.

“That’s the best news that we could have gotten,” Girardi said.

“He’s felt better.”

Kuroda is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts versus Baltimore

this season and will try to avoid a second loss to Jason

Hammel.

Hammel (7-5, 5.19) allowed two runs and struck out six in 6 2-3

innings to earn the victory May 22. He also beat the Yankees 5-3 on

April 13 after giving up two runs in six innings.

The right-hander, though, is 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA over his last

six starts – all Baltimore defeats – and ranks among the worst in

the majors having given up 18 home runs. He allowed five runs and

nine hits in seven innings of Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Chicago

White Sox, including a pair of homers.

”It’s just balls that are up in the zone that get hit out this

year weren’t last year,” Hammel said. ”It’s kind of just the way

I’m going right now. The mistakes are being amplified.”

Baltimore leads the majors with 119 homers, but its pitching has

allowed an MLB-worst 117.