The Houston Astros are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now, having won seven straight, and they'll try to extend that streak Saturday night in Baltimore against the Orioles.
Houston is coming off a 3-2 victory in the series opener Friday night. The Astros wasted a number of scoring chances, finishing 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, but still got RBI hits from Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve.
This is Houston's only trip to Baltimore this season -- where former Astros executive Mike Elias has taken over the Orioles' massive rebuilding project -- and the team has the kind of depth that Baltimore wants in the future.
Relief pitcher Ryan Pressly just came off the injured list Friday after recovering from a knee contusion, but the Astros kept rolling without him. He's been having a strong season, and manager A.J. Hinch told reporters before the game that they were glad to have their setup man back.
"He's still one of the best relievers in baseball," Hinch said. "He'll be right back in his normal role."
That's what happened Friday as Pressly came on in the eighth with the Astros leading by a run. He got into some trouble but then worked his way out of it, and Roberto Osuna closed it in the ninth for his 26th save.
Aaron Sanchez (4-14, 5.76 ERA) will make his second start for the Astros on Saturday. He might have a hard time following up his first one, when the right-hander threw six innings of no-hit baseball as Houston came up with a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 3.
Sanchez had been having problems most of the season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He began the year 3-1 but then lost 13 consecutive decisions until the no-hitter last week after Houston acquired him in a trade.
For his career, Sanchez has a 6-4 record against the Orioles with a 3.89 ERA.
The right-hander will face Aaron Brooks (2-5, 5.45), who has been inconsistent since the Orioles acquired him July 6 from the Oakland A's. He pitched better in his last start, giving up three runs on five hits in five innings of an Aug. 2 loss against Toronto.
Brooks is 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA in four career games, all starts, versus Houston.
The Orioles hope Brooks can help them snap a four-game losing streak, all of which have come on the current homestand. The New York Yankees swept a three-game series, hitting 16 homers in the process, and then the Astros won on Friday night.
The Orioles did not give up a homer in the Friday defeat, which snapped a string of 12 straight games in which they allowed at least two homers. It also was the team's first quality start in 12 games, as Dylan Bundy gave up just two runs in six innings.
Also on Friday, the Orioles said there would be no action taken against first baseman Chris Davis, who charged after manager Brandon Hyde during Wednesday's loss and had to be restrained.
Davis, Hyde and Elias all spoke with the media about how they simply want to put this issue behind them.
"I think the world of Chris," Hyde said. "He's just an incredible guy. It's just one of those things that happens at times in competitive environments and in a frustrating situation. ... We feel good about moving forward from it."
Davis did not start Friday but came on late as a pinch hitter. He eventually went 0-for-2, making the game's final out.
--Field Level Media