Orioles-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

Brandon Beachy and Jason Hammel are having breakout seasons, though neither has pitched as well lately as he's come to expect.

Both battling minor injuries, they'll look to end personal winless stretches when Beachy's Atlanta Braves host Hammel's Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

Despite this being only his second full season as a starter, Beachy (5-4, 1.98 ERA) has become the most effective pitcher in Atlanta's rotation by allowing more than two earned runs only once in his 12 outings.

The majors' ERA leader hasn't won in nearly a month, though, in part due to a lack of run support. Beachy is 0-3 with a 3.47 ERA in four starts since tossing a five-hit shutout against Miami on May 17, receiving six runs of support in 23 1-3 innings during that stretch.

The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings before running into trouble and quickly exiting June 8 against Toronto. He wound up being charged with two runs and walking a career high-tying five.

Beachy was scheduled to start Wednesday against the New York Yankees, but he was pushed back due to a sore right elbow.

"Can't hurt," Beachy told the team's official website of having his start delayed. "I want to be out there as often as I can, but I'm not going to complain about getting a couple extra days of rest."

Beachy is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four career interleague starts, not earning a decision after allowing three runs in five innings of the Braves' 5-4 loss to Baltimore on July 3.

He'll be opposed by Hammel (6-2, 3.22), who gets a fourth chance to match his win total from last season in Colorado.

Hammel gave up four runs and walked a season-high five in six innings of Baltimore's 5-4, 10-inning win over Philadelphia on Sunday.

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA over his last three starts while battling through a sore right knee.

"It's a grind," Hammel told the team's official website. "You've got to find a way to get it done when you don't have your best stuff or you're just not getting things done the way you're used to."

Hammel hasn't had very good stuff against the Braves in his career, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in five starts, but he'll look to help Baltimore (37-27) bounce back after its five-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-2 loss in the series opener.

The Orioles averaged 7.3 runs and 11.6 hits over their previous six games, but only managed six hits against four Braves pitchers Friday.

"I thought the story was not taking advantage of all the opportunities that we had. And we hit into some hard luck, too," manager Buck Showalter said.

Atlanta (35-29) halted a four-game skid with the victory, as Brian McCann hit a solo home run and Andrelton Simmons went 3 for 4 with the go-ahead two-run shot in the sixth.

Simmons, who has played 12 games since his major league debut June 2, is 7 for 10 over his last three and went deep after his first career error led to two fourth-inning runs for Baltimore.

"After I made the error, I felt like it cost us two runs,'' Simmons said. "I was trying to make it up to the team."

A win Saturday would guarantee the Braves a fifth consecutive home series win over the Orioles.