Regardless of the outcome of the series finale in Cleveland, this has been a very disappointing road trip for the Baltimore Orioles.
Heading home with a series win would at least soften the blow somewhat.
Baltimore's Zach Britton tries to translate his recent minor league success to the big stage Wednesday night when he faces the Indians in his first start in nearly two months.
Taking two of three from contending Oakland late last month had the Orioles (73-64) feeling good about starting their nine-game trip to Boston, New York and Cleveland. The trek, however, began with four losses in five games before they rallied late Sunday to avoid a sweep at Yankee Stadium.
Bud Norris pitched Baltimore to a 7-2 series-opening victory Monday but Nate McLouth's three-run homer in the ninth was all the offense the Orioles could muster in Tuesday's 4-3 loss.
Baltimore failed to gain ground in the wild-card race while the Indians (73-65) moved within one-half game of them.
''We did a lot of good things tonight,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''We played a nice crisp game. That's how we have to play.''
Yan Gomes had a two-run double and Asdrubal Cabrera added a pair of sacrifice flies for Cleveland, which needs a win in the finale to avoid losing three consecutive series for the first time since early June.
Gomes delivered a in a key situation Tuesday but that's been a rarity lately for the Indians, who are 6 for 49 (.122) with runners in scoring position the past eight games.
Jason Kipnis is batting .393 (11 for 28) with three homers during an eight-game hitting streak against the Orioles.
He's 3 for 5 with a double against Britton (2-3, 4.76 ERA), who will be inserted into the rotation after being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Monday. The left-hander, who hasn't pitched in the majors since allowing five runs over five innings in an 8-4 loss to Texas on July 9, went 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in his last four starts for the Tides.
The Orioles will use a six-man rotation this week, with the other five starters moved back one day.
''This just fit better where we are, physically, right now, but I told all the guys that we'll revisit it after (Sept.) 9th,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''They understand that we're going to put our best foot forward in these final 25 or 26 games.''
Britton was very sharp in his most recent appearance at Progressive Field, tossing six scoreless innings in a 4-3 victory July 22, 2012.
Carlos Santana - hitless in his last nine at-bats overall - is 3 for 6 with a pair of doubles against Britton.
Zach McAllister (7-8, 3.81) looks to bounce back from a disappointing outing for Cleveland. The right-hander was tagged for five runs and six hits with four walks over 3 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss at Detroit on Friday. He went 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his previous three starts.
McAllister lost his only career start against the Orioles on July 21, 2012. He gave up three runs and five hits - including two homers - over 7 2-3 innings.
J.J. Hardy is 3 for 6 with a home run off McAllister.
A victory Wednesday would give the Orioles their first season series win against the Indians since 2006.