Looking to continue their recent success against the Seattle Mariners, the Baltimore Orioles appear to be facing Felix Hernandez at the right time.
The Orioles try to complete a series sweep with an eighth consecutive victory over the Mariners on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.
Chris Davis delivered a game-tying two-run single in the ninth inning and Taylor Teagarden's tiebreaking base hit in the 18th helped lead Baltimore (84-64) to a third straight victory, 4-2 at Seattle on Tuesday. The win moved the Orioles into another first-place division tie with New York.
Baltimore owns a three-game lead over Los Angeles for the AL's final wild-card spot.
"You'd be real picky to not find something to be proud of during that game," Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the team's official website. "Just when I think they can't top something they've done, they do. The dugout was alive all game. It's a very focused, driven group of guys and it's fun to watch them."
While the Yankees play a split doubleheader with Toronto on Wednesday, the Orioles try to recover after essentially playing two games in one night without a break. Baltimore has won seven straight against the Mariners (70-79) since losing 6-3 in the teams' first meeting July 2 at Safeco. The Orioles also have a chance to win five in a row at Seattle for the first time since April 30, 1989-May 4, 1990.
To accomplish that feat, the Orioles likely need to get the best of Hernandez (13-8, 2.92 ERA), who is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA since going 9-0 with a 1.40 ERA over his previous 14 starts. The right-hander has struggled mightily over his last two outings while allowing 13 runs and 21 hits in 8 2-3 innings.
He gave up seven of those runs in four innings of an 8-3 loss at Toronto on Thursday.
"I have to do something,'' said Hernandez, who is 2-3 with a 4.68 ERA since pitching a perfect game against Tampa Bay on Aug. 15. "The last three starts have been disappointing.''
Hernandez is 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA in his last three starts against the Orioles since he allowed a run during a complete-game 4-1 home win over them April 21, 2010. He yielded four runs and struck out eight in 5 1-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 5-4 home loss to Baltimore on July 3.
Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters went 0 for 7 with three strikeouts on Tuesday, but is 5 for 13 against Hernandez.
Baltimore leadoff hitter Nate McLouth is 6 for 11 in the series after going 1 for 8 in his previous two games versus Seattle.
Scheduled Baltimore starter Joe Saunders (2-2, 4.30) has not faced the Mariners since 2010 with the Los Angeles Angels, but is 8-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 14 starts against them. The left-hander is 7-0 with a 3.07 ERA in 11 starts since last losing to Seattle on Sept. 21, 2007.
Making his fifth start since Baltimore acquired him from Arizona on Aug. 26, Saunders gave up three runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss at Oakland on Friday.
Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo, who hit a two-run homer Tuesday, is 6 for 13 with a double and a homer against Saunders.
The Mariners, who were 0 for 17 with runners in scoring position Tuesday, have lost five in a row at home following a stretch where they won 18 of 22 at Safeco. They dropped six straight there June 9-15.