Astros-Orioles Preview

The Associated PressMay 11, 2014

The Baltimore Orioles are on the cusp of their longest winning streak in almost two years.

Wrapping up a three-game series with the visiting Houston Astros may be enough to match that run.

The Orioles look to continue their dominance of the Astros on Sunday as they go for a sixth straight win.

Baltimore (20-14) has won 11 of 15, and five in a row with each game determined by one or two runs. After winning 4-3 in the series opener, the Orioles won 5-4 Saturday on Steve Clevenger's game-ending RBI double.

"It's big, just for the team," said Clevenger, who had three hits. "We were on a four-game win streak, now five. We're never going to give up until the last out and we proved that."

The Orioles, 17-0 when leading after eight innings, haven't won six games in a row since Sept. 16-22, 2012.

Clevenger will likely get to make a fourth straight start behind the plate since catcher Matt Wieters was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a strained right elbow. Slugger Chris Davis, however, was activated from the 15-day DL prior to this game after fully recovering from a strained left oblique.

Davis is 9 for 24 with two homers, three RBIs and five runs while getting at least one hit in each of his six meetings with Houston (11-26) as a member of the Orioles.

Baltimore is 12-2 over its last 14 meetings with the Astros, including 10-1 at home.

Scheduled starter Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.80 ERA) is still seeking his first home win of 2014 but it hasn't entirely been his fault. The right-hander is 0-1 despite a 2.04 ERA in three games in Baltimore because he's received just one run of support.

The Orioles have won each of Tillman's last four starts although he has compiled a 6.75 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 21 1-3 innings. He was touched for three runs in six-plus innings while not getting a decision in a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Tillman faces the Astros for the first time since yielding one run and four hits while striking out eight batters in seven innings of a 4-1 road victory June 4.

Houston is 5-13 on the road, and has lost seven of eight games overall.

Turning to Jarred Cosart (1-3, 4.50) may not help since he hasn't won on the road since his major league debut at Tampa Bay on July 12.

The right-hander isn't entirely to blame for going 0-3 in 11 starts since, compiling a 2.84 ERA while being backed by an average of 2.68 runs. Cosart, who has never faced Baltimore, hasn't won at any venue since beating the New York Yankees in his season debut April 2.

Cosart has a 1.83 ERA in his last three starts, but is 0-1 thanks in large part to the bullpen's whopping 9.53 ERA.

The offense let Cosart down Monday, when he allowed an unearned run and four hits in seven innings while the bats mustered three singles in a 2-0 loss at Detroit.