BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have found their offense again in the past few games. They’re hoping it will remain around in Saturday’s doubleheader with Tampa Bay that begins at 3:05 at Oriole Park.
The Orioles took the first game of this three-game series Friday night thanks to plenty of help from their power that’s been missing much of this season. Manny Machado homered twice, and one of those was a grand slam, while Mark Trumbo and Chance Sisco both hit homers as Baltimore defeated the Rays, 9-4.
That gave the Orioles something they haven’t had so far this year — a three-game winning streak. They improved to 11-27 on the season and now Baltimore has scored 25 runs while capturing those three games.
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The Orioles started the run with a 5-3 victory over Kansas City Wednesday, then bounced back from a 4-0 first-inning deficit to pull out an 11-6 win over the Royals Thursday. Then came Friday’s four-homer outburst and their third straight win.
David Hess will make his major-league debut for the Orioles in Game 1 against Chris Archer (2-2, 5.32). Archer is 6-8 with a 4.92 ERA against Baltimore in his career.
Matt Andriese (0-1, 3.92) goes in Game 2 for Tampa Bay. He has a 1-4 career record against Baltimore with a 6.08 ERA. Alex Cobb (0-4, 7.61) starts for Baltimore in the nightcap.
Cobb has an 0-1 record with a 9.64 ERA in his only career appearance against his former team. That loss came back in April and it also was at Oriole Park.
Both Hess and Cobb are hoping the offense remains on a roll. Machado has been on the biggest roll, driving in six runs Friday and hitting three homers in his past two games and 12 overall this season.
“We’ve seen him at some pretty high levels 1/8in his career 3/8,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Machado, who hit his 150th career homer Friday, becoming the youngest Baltimore player to do so. “It’s been fun to watch him.”
The Orioles made one move that will slow the problems of Chris Tillman for a few days. They put him on the disabled list with a low back strain.
Tillman has struggled this year — he’s 1-5 with a 10.46 ERA — in his seven starts. Baltimore called up right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis from Triple-A Norfolk. He will be backing up Hess if the right-hander gets into trouble in his first major-league start.
Tampa Bay (15-20) now has dropped four in a row. The Rays just haven’t been able to score runs in that stretch.
In fact, they have only seven runs in the past four games. What might have been more frustrating is how close they came to doing more Friday.
Tampa Bay finished with 15 hits in the loss — Baltimore got only 10 — and the Rays kept putting runners in scoring position. But they could not come through at the right times.
The Rays stranded 10 and went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Manager Kevin Cash hopes that doesn’t happen again Saturday.
“We’re getting our hits,” Cash said. “We’re putting together pretty good at-bats. We do definitely need to find ways to score runs.”