Royals-Orioles Preview

Coming off a successful road trip, the Baltimore Orioles are

hoping to carry their momentum over at home.

The Orioles aim for a third straight win as they open a

three-game set against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Averaging 5.0 runs to rank near the top of the majors, Baltimore

(19-13) scored an 5.3 per game and hit 14 home runs during its

recently completed 11-game trek.

“Anytime you go to the West Coast for 12 days and you can walk

out of there with even a .500 mark, you’re feeling pretty good

about yourself. But to come away with seven wins out of 11, that’s

pretty impressive,” pitcher Jason Hammel said.

Hammel won his third straight start as the Orioles pulled out an

8-4 victory Sunday to take three of four from the Los Angeles

Angels. Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy both hit two-run homers and

Ryan Flaherty added two RBIs for Baltimore, which went 6 for 13

with runners in scoring position.

“For us to take three of four here is huge,” reliever Darren

O’Day said. “We’ve been consistent. We might not blow your doors

off, but we’re going to play baseball. And we probably haven’t

played our best baseball yet.”

The Orioles will try to stay hot against Royals starter Ervin

Santana (3-1, 2.00), who threw four scoreless innings Thursday

versus Tampa Bay before the game was called due to weather. Again

seeking his 100th victory, Santana is 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his

last four outings.

“He’s been pretty electric,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said.

Santana, 4-5 with a 5.42 ERA in 12 starts versus Baltimore, is

2-3 with a 7.06 mark over his last five visits to Camden Yards.

Hardy is 3 for 10 with two homers against the right-hander, but

Matt Wieters is 1 for 11.

Chris Davis, 5 for 23 with three homers and two doubles versus

Santana, went 1 for 4 with an RBI on Sunday after missing the

previous game with a knee injury. He’s among the major league

leaders with nine homers and 30 RBIs.

The Orioles give the ball to Wei-Yin Chen (2-3, 3.50 ERA). After

scattering two hits and two walks over a career-high eight innings

in a 3-0 win at Oakland on April 26, Chen allowed five runs and

eight hits over a career-worst four innings during Wednesday’s 8-3

loss at Seattle.

“From outstanding to the worst,” he told MLB’s official website

through his interpreter. “I tried to throw first-pitch strikes. But

I tried to think too much, I tried to attack both sides of the

plate and it didn’t work at all.”

The left-hander was also knocked around in his last matchup

against Kansas City (17-11), yielding a career high-tying seven

runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings of an 8-2 loss Aug. 9. He’ll

need to solve Billy Butler, who’s gone 5 for 6 with two homers, a

triple and a double in their matchups.

The Royals found themselves on the verge of a season-best fifth

consecutive victory before coming undone Monday in a 2-1, 11-inning

loss to the Chicago White Sox. Closer Greg Holland allowed the

tying run in the ninth before Kelvin Herrera surrendered a go-ahead

homer in the 11th.

The Royals, hitting .300 with runners in scoring position on the

road, play 12 of their next 15 in opposing ballparks.

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is batting .329 with three

homers and 12 RBIs during a 20-game hitting streak in the

series.