Orioles-Mariners Preview

The Associated Press

Solid pitching has keyed the Baltimore Orioles' recent success on their West Coast swing.

With Bud Norris trying for a fourth straight road win, the AL East-leading Orioles can secure a winning trip with a third consecutive victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Nelson Cruz homered early and Chris Davis delivered a tiebreaking shot in the 10th inning to help Baltimore (57-45) improve to 5-3 on the 10-game trek with a 2-1 victory Friday. Kevin Gausman pitched 6 2-3 strong innings to keep pace with Felix Hernandez and help the Orioles win for the 15th time in 21 contests.

After posting a 6.48 ERA while losing two of three at Oakland, Baltimore pitchers have a 1.40 ERA in winning four of five.

"It says a lot about out pitching staff," said Davis, who has 17 homers after hitting a major league-high 53 in 2013. "Then just scratching some runs out, that's what it's all about."

Norris (8-6, 3.78 ERA) won his third consecutive road outing by allowing one earned run and striking out eight in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. The right-hander was recalled earlier that day from Double-A Bowie, where he was sent to stay on his regular routine during the All-Star break and after giving up five runs in four innings of a 6-2 defeat to Washington on July 9.

"It was hard to be away from the team and watching on the couch," said Norris, who has won five of six starts and owns a 2.37 ERA in the last five.

"I knew what the whole purpose was - to keep me on my rotation and keep me pitching."

Norris wasn't always in sync last season while going 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA against the Mariners with Houston. However, his only appearance at Seattle was a good one, allowing three runs in seven innings of a 4-0 defeat June 11, 2013.

Kendrys Morales, 2 for 5 with a walk versus Norris, went 0 for 3 with a sacrifice fly in his return to the Mariners, who acquired him from Minnesota on Thursday. Morales hit .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs for Seattle last season, and .234 with one home run and 18 RBIs in 39 games for the Twins this year.

"I just want him to be a stabilizer, drive in runs, good at-bats, productive at-bats," manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Seattle's Chris Young (8-6, 3.22) is 0-2 in his last three outings but has a 2.45 ERA over the past seven. He's had four straight quality starts despite allowing six home runs.

Two of those homers were among the 10 hits and three runs he yielded in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-5 loss to the Angels on Sunday.

Young went 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his first eight home starts, but since then is 0-2 with a 3.46 ERA at Safeco Field while the Mariners offense totaled one run.

He's 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA in three starts against the Orioles but has not faced them since 2005 with Texas.

Cruz, who has never faced Young, snapped a 12-game homerless drought with his 29th on Friday. He's hit .146 with two RBIs in his last 13 contests.

Teammate Manny Machado could start after missing four games with a sore back. He's hitting .310 with two homers in nine versus Seattle.

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