Luke Scott(notes) and the Baltimore Orioles have already defeated one of the majors’ top pitchers during their longest winning streak of the season, so a matchup with Justin Verlander(notes) might be slightly less intimidating than usual.
With Scott coming off another outstanding performance, the Orioles look extend their winning streak to six games and beat Verlander for the first time as they continue a four-game series with the slumping Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.
Baltimore (23-26) kept its streak going through the first two games of its series with AL Central-leading Detroit (26-21), including a 7-2 victory on Friday.
Though highly-touted catcher Matt Wieters(notes) was 0 for 4 in his much-anticipated major league debut, Scott stole the spotlight with a grand slam and a solo shot, giving him two homers in each of his last two contests.
The designated hitter is the first Oriole to have consecutive multihomer games since Albert Belle in 2000. Scott has seven career multihomer games, the last three against the Tigers.
He also has five homers and 12 RBIs in three games since coming off the 15-day disabled list. He missed 2 1/2 weeks due to a strained left shoulder.
“When he’s hot and he’s in one of his streaks, it doesn’t matter who’s pitching,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “You keep running him out there because he’s a threat.”
In his first game off the DL, Scott hit a two-run homer off Roy Halladay(notes), who is tied for the major league lead with eight wins, and finished with three RBIs in a 7-2 win over Toronto on Tuesday.
That was the second game of the Orioles’ winning streak, and they now have a chance to win six straight for the first time since April 2008. Baltimore, though, must find a way to solve Verlander (5-2, 3.55 ERA), who has been one of the majors’ hottest pitchers.
The right-hander is 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA in his last six starts, striking out 60 in 42 1-3 innings. He’s 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four starts versus the Orioles.
On Monday, Verlander allowed five hits while striking out eight in seven scoreless innings in a 13-1 rout of Kansas City.
“He’s throwing strikes, getting ahead,” Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge(notes) said. “If a guy gets ahead, he can use all of his pitches. He makes the hitter start thinking a little bit more. For him, he gets ahead, and your guess is as good as mine.”
Scott is 2 for 6 with a double and an RBI against Verlander.
Baltimore will counter with Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (4-4, 4.90), who’s coming off one of his best starts of the season, giving up one run and seven hits in seven innings of a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday. The right-hander went 1-4 with a 6.26 ERA in his previous seven starts.
Guthrie is 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in one start and three relief appearances against the Tigers.
He’s raised his batting average 46 points to .275 during the run.