Padres-Orioles Preview


Following a tough defeat on a rare blown save by his team's closer, Freddy Garcia has plenty of incentive to pick up his first victory with the Baltimore Orioles.

The veteran right-hander faces a San Diego Padres team that released him during spring training as he tries to help the Orioles bounce back and split this two-game set Wednesday at Camden Yards.

Baltimore (23-16) stood one out away from winning for the seventh time in nine games before Chris Denorfia and Everth Cabrera delivered RBI singles off closer Jim Johnson for a 3-2 win Tuesday.

Johnson entered with a franchise-record streak of 35 straight converted saves.

"I really didn't put a whole lot of stock into (the streak)," said Johnson, who hadn't blown a save opportunity since July 27 against Oakland. "It was just something you guys like to talk about."

Garcia (0-1, 4.26 ERA) will try to get the ball back to Johnson in his first shot at the Padres (17-21) since his release March 24 after posting an 8.71 ERA in 20 2-3 innings in Cactus League action. He wasn't out of work for long, signing with Baltimore five days later.

After getting called up from Triple-A Norfolk, Garcia carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before leaving without a decision in a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on May 4.

He suffered his first loss Thursday, allowing four runs and five hits - two homers - over six innings in a 6-2 defeat to Kansas City.

"I was trying to do my best and tried to keep the guys in the game," Garcia said. "That's all I can do."

While he's 4-2 with a 2.51 ERA in nine starts against the Padres, Garcia hasn't faced them since 2005.

Perhaps San Diego might have been better served holding on to Garcia, considering its starters rank near the bottom of the NL with a 4.88 ERA.

They posted an 8.03 ERA while dropping the first three games of their five-game road trip before Andrew Cashner had a solid performance in Tuesday's win that snapped San Diego's 18-game skid when trailing after eight innings.

Scheduled starter Jason Marquis (4-2, 3.48) has found a groove lately, allowing five runs over 20 2-3 innings while winning three straight starts.

He yielded five hits over eight innings in a 1-0 win over Miami last Wednesday for his longest outing since Aug. 11.

"It's easier now that I've figured a few things out," Marquis said. "I have the life back on my ball, the north-south movement."

Marquis hasn't had much success against the Orioles, going 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in three starts. Adam Jones is 4 for 7 with a double versus Marquis but has hit .194 in his last 10 interleague games.

Nick Markakis is also 4 for 7 with a double in this matchup, though he went 0 for 4 on Tuesday to drop his average to .136 in his last six home games.

Since his 13-game hitting streak ended, Chase Headley is 1 for 13 with six strikeouts for the Padres.

San Diego has batted .185 with 57 strikeouts over its last five games.