Mariners-Orioles Preview

The Associated Press

The Baltimore Orioles could use some more victories at Camden Yards if they want to aid their chances for a first playoff berth since 1997.

The Orioles will try to extend a growing home win streak and earn a season high-tying fifth consecutive victory overall when they conclude a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Baltimore (59-51) didn't help its postseason hopes by dropping 11 of 14 on its own field June 26-July 28 but has since won three straight at home. The Orioles' latest victory was arguably one of their more impressive.

Baltimore rallied from a five-run deficit Tuesday to prevail 8-7 in 14 innings. J.J. Hardy hit a tying three-run homer in the seventh and Adam Jones ended the game on a single. Matt Wieters hit a pair of homers in the Orioles' 11th straight win in one-run games and club-record 12th in a row in extra innings.

The victory also put them in position for their second straight three-game sweep at Camden Yards over Seattle (51-61).

"You know, it's not a team that's sitting there going, 'Woe is me. Let's get this over.' They grind it," manager Buck Showalter said. "They put in so much effort."

The loss was the Mariners' third in a row since an 8-1 stretch. They haven't dropped four straight since a six-game skid June 9-15 and will try to avoid losing a fourth consecutive road game for the first time since May 14-17.

Having gone 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA over his last three outings, Tommy Hunter (4-7, 5.55 ERA) wouldn't seem the ideal starter to extend Seattle's woes and keep Baltimore's win streaks going. The right-hander, though, had one of his better outings Friday in Tampa Bay, allowing two runs over 5 2-3 innings of a 2-0 defeat.

Hunter has received one run of support over those past three starts but hasn't helped himself by continuing to give up home runs. The Rays hit two off him Friday, and he's among the major league leaders with 26 allowed.

He has yielded at least one homer in 15 of his 17 starts and is averaging 2.2 per nine innings over 20 appearances.

"It (stinks)," Hunter told the team's official website. "I don't want to give up home runs. I don't want to do that. I guess you could look at it positive - I'd much rather give up solo shots than with guys on, but you don't want to give them up in general."

Hunter is 3-3 with a 2.32 ERA in seven starts against the Mariners. In this matchup, he'll pitch opposite former Oriole Kevin Millwood (4-9, 4.01), who has one win over his last 12 starts.

Millwood earned that victory July 28 against Kansas City before giving up four runs over six innings during a 6-3 defeat Friday in New York.

The veteran right-hander, who went 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts for Baltimore in 2010, is set to face the Orioles for the first time since Sept. 5, 2009. He's 9-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 starts against them.

It's unknown if Brendan Ryan will be available to help him out. An ailing left elbow has kept the shortstop, hitting .385 over his last 10 games, out since Saturday.

"He's not ready to play yet. I think we're close, but he still has a lot of inflammation," manager Eric Wedge told the team's official website. "We'll see how he is (Wednesday)."

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