Huff looks to continue his hot hitting and help the Orioles win back-to-back games for the first time in over three weeks on Tuesday when they play the second contest of a four-game home set against the Cleveland Indians.
Heading into its current series, Baltimore (64-78) had dropped 13 of 14 games, and mired in an eight-game losing streak that was capped by a pair of defeats in the first two contests of its rain-shorted, nine-game stretch at Camden Yards.
But Huff surged during that stretch, batting .467 (21-for-45) with three homers and 11 RBIs in 12 games.
He missed his team’s last two contests to attend the birth of his wife’s first child, but returned Monday and hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run sixth inning in Baltimore’s 14-3 victory over Cleveland (69-73), which has lost six of its last 10 contests since a 10-game winning streak.
“We needed it,” Huff told the Orioles’ official Web site. “The morale has been kind of down and we hadn’t been playing very good baseball.”
The Orioles won for the third time in their last 13 outings at Camden Yards, and will be trying to win back-to-back contests for the first time since a three-game stretch Aug. 13-15.
Huff—batting .319 with 18 homers and 53 RBIs at home—has hit .388 (64-for-165) with 12 homers and 41 RBIs since the All-Star break. He has gone 7-for-22 (.318) with three homers and nine RBIs in five games against the Indians this season.
He is 1-for-4 lifetime against Cleveland starter Jeremy Sowers (2-8, 5.97 ERA), who has lost his last two outings.
The left-hander fanned five, but gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 home loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
He is 0-2 with a 9.50 ERA in four career starts versus the Orioles. He didn’t receive a decision against them on Aug. 12, when he gave up four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-5 home win.
Sowers will be opposed by Jeremy Guthrie (10-11, 3.57), who will try to avoid losing a career-high fourth straight start.
He walked six, and was reached for a career-high seven runs and seven hits in three innings of a 14-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Aug. 29.
The right-hander said he didn’t feel well physically after that defeat, and he takes the mound after manager Dave Trembley skipped him in the rotation Wednesday in an effort to preserve his arm for the rest of the season. He has already pitched a career-high 186 2-3 innings.
Guthrie played 16 games for Cleveland from 2004-06, and limited his former club to a run and four hits over seven innings of a 6-1 road victory on Aug. 13. He conceded six runs and six hits over 1 1-3 innings of relief in two appearances against the Indians in 2007.
Asdrubal Cabrera is 0-for-2 lifetime against Guthrie, but went 3-for-3 with two RBIs on Monday and has hit .545 (12-for-22) with seven RBIs over his last seven games for Cleveland, which is 2-2 thus far on its seven-game road trip.
The Indians are trying to avoid losing four straight to the Orioles for the first time since June 20-Aug. 8, 1993.