With his team slumping after a strong start to the second half, Sidney Ponson will try to record his career high-tying sixth straight victory as the Baltimore Orioles complete a three-game series against Mark Mulder and the Oakland Athletics.
After going 19-10 to begin the second half, the Orioles have dropped three of four, including Tuesday’s 11-0 loss that ended their run of winning four straight series. Baltimore had won 11 of 13 overall and eight straight at home before this series.
Ponson will try to help Baltimore avoid the sweep and match his longest win streak, established from July 2-Aug. 18, 1998 in his first big league season. The right-hander is 5-0 in his last six starts after losing nine straight outings.
Ponson was a 4-0 winner at Toronto on Friday, allowing five hits and striking out six over six innings.
“I’ve had a good second half and a really bad first half,” said Ponson, who was was 3-12 with a 6.29 ERA on July 4.
Ponson has allowed just two homers in his last 35 2-3 innings.
He watched the A’s hit four Tuesday for their third victory in four games.
Scott Hatteberg hit his second grand slam of the season and fourth of his career for Oakland, which maintained a half-game lead over Texas in the AL West race. Hatteberg is batting .419 (13-for-31) with a homer and eight RBIs in his last nine games.
Mulder has not pitched well in August in his career, posting a 5.19 ERA in the month. This season, he is 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in his three August starts.
The left-hander leads the AL with 15 victories despite a 10-3 home loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday. He gave up seven runs, eight hits and walked two over seven innings.
Mulder is 3-1 with a 3.08 in four career starts at Camden Yards.