Orioles-Mets Preview

The Associated Press

The Baltimore Orioles have one of the most powerful lineups in the majors, but the New York Mets' pitching has silenced it in impressive fashion.

The Mets will try to do it again as they go for a three-game sweep of the Orioles at Citi Field on Wednesday night.

New York (37-32) came into this set after being swept over the weekend by Cincinnati, but its top two pitchers have made those performances seem like a distant memory.

R.A. Dickey opened this series by tossing his second consecutive one-hitter in Monday's 5-0 victory. The Mets won by the same score Tuesday behind Johan Santana, who yielded four hits in six innings in his first appearance at Citi Field since throwing the first no-hitter in club history June 1.

Dickey and Santana are big reasons New York's rotation has a 2.27 ERA while the team has split 18 games this month.

Their recent efforts might be even more impressive considering the Orioles (39-29) are among the AL's leaders with 89 homers and a .418 slugging percentage. That production has been severely lacking over the last five games, though, as Baltimore has a .154 average with no homers and nine runs.

"We've run into two guys on the top of their game, and I'll give them the credit," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Pitchers on the top of their game will make you look like you're not on top of yours."

Dillon Gee (4-5, 4.43 ERA) will try to keep the Orioles quiet in his first meeting against them.

The right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA while holding opponents to a .222 average over his last four outings - extending his streak of quality starts to six - but has been backed by just nine total runs.

Gee wasn't as sharp Friday, allowing four runs - three earned - and two homers in six innings of a 7-3 loss to Cincinnati.

"It was just a lack of execution on a couple of pitches that really hurt me this game," Gee told the team's official website. "I've been throwing the ball well lately, and there are obviously some negatives you can focus on. But really, I just want to stay positive and know that I've been throwing the ball well."

Gee lost his two career home interleague starts, both last season, behind a 6.55 ERA.

Brian Matusz (5-7, 4.94) will counter for the Orioles, and the left-hander is 0-6 with a 7.32 ERA in seven career interleague starts. That includes a home loss to the Mets on June 12, 2010, when he allowed three runs and two homers in a career high-tying eight innings.

Matusz gave up five runs in two-plus innings at Boston on June 7, then yielded one run through five before surrendering three more in the sixth of Friday's 4-2 defeat at Atlanta.

"I was one good pitch away from getting out of that sixth and giving our team a chance to win," Matusz told the team's official website. "But this is the big leagues - make bad pitches and guys will hurt you."

Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin is thriving against the AL, going 8 for 20 with three doubles, one triple and eight RBIs in the past five interleague contests, but Terry Collins may not want him in the lineup Wednesday. Left-handers are hitting just .176 against Matusz.

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