Surging Orioles try for four-game sweep of Rangers (Jul 20, 2017)

BY AP • July 20, 2017

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles, suddenly looking like a dangerous team again, can complete their first four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards since 2014 on Thursday.

The Orioles bats have come alive during the series, as Baltimore has outscored Texas 25-4 over the first three games. After dealing with injuries for much of the season, Baltimore is finally healthy and getting key contributions from almost the entire roster.

"First time really the last three or four days where we've gotten our bullpen in order, where we've got the way the pieces we hope they fit and the starters get you through the fifth, sixth and seventh inning," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You can make some things work there because you keep people out of harm's way and are able to put them in positions to be successful."

Texas manager Jeff Banister is confident his team's recent struggles on offense won't send the Rangers into a tailspin. However, he is fully aware the Rangers need to start hitting to have any chance of staying the postseason race.

"We have to continue to believe in our offense," Banister said. "That's a challenge for us right now. It's been a bit of a stretch where one run has been the case for us and it's coming off solo shots. We have to find a way to string some at-bats together with baserunners and come up with big hits in those situations. I think those guys are staying competitive in the batter's box. It's just a situation where we are not able to get the barrel to the pitches we need to hit."

Banister hopes Cole Hamels (4-0. 3.05 ERA) can pull the team out of its recent slide. The left-hander has not allowed a run in 21 consecutive innings -- the longest active streak in the majors.

In his most recent outing, Hamels allowed four hits with five strikeouts and a walk over 7 2/3 innings in a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. He was making his fourth start since coming off the disabled list after recovering from an oblique strain.

"We are just trying to get in a rhythm," Hamels said. "We are right where we want to be. That was kind of the plan from the beginning of the season. It didn't happen that way, but we have a team where if we are comfortable and confident, we can win a lot of ballgames."

Hamels is 1-3 with a 4.32 ERA in five career starts against Baltimore, including 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in two outings at Camden Yards.

Baltimore left-hander Wade Miley (4-8, 5.40 ERA) has been trending in the opposite direction. In his outing Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, Miley lasted only 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits, including two homers, with four walks and four strikeouts.

Miley had a 2.82 ERA in his first 11 starts, but he has a 10.19 ERA in his past eight outings. His 1.80 WHIP is among the worst in the American League. Miley also has struggled against Texas over his career, gong 1-5 with a 5.75 ERA in seven starts.

"I definitely feel better about my delivery, but you've got to keep working and fine-tune things," said Miley, who has lost four of his past five decisions.

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