Royals-Orioles Preview

The Associated Press

A pair of promising rookies might be able to help the Baltimore Orioles bounce back after their latest winning streak came to an end.

With Manny Machado likely in the lineup and Miguel Gonzalez on the mound Friday night, the Orioles look to avoid a fourth straight loss to the visiting Kansas City Royals, who are trying to match a season high with their fourth consecutive victory overall.

Making his major league debut at third base Thursday, the 20-year-old Machado went 2 for 4, but Baltimore's five-game winning streak ended with an 8-2 loss to Kansas City. Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, was playing his first game above Double-A.

"I've still got a long year and a lot more at-bats to go," said Machado, who batted .266 with 11 homers and 59 RBIs in 109 games for Bowie this season. "But for the first night I think it went great.

"It would have been way much better if we would have come out with a win."

Though Machado and Gonzalez (3-2, 3.80 ERA) are giving Orioles fans a glimpse of the club's promising future, they also hope the pair can help Baltimore (60-52) reach the postseason for the first time since 1997.

Gonzalez allowed two hits in seven innings of a 1-0, 10-inning win at Tampa Bay on Sunday. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 4.29 ERA in six career starts since joining the rotation July 6.

"I stayed within myself, and stayed confident,'' Gonzalez said after his last outing.

This will be his first appearance against a Royals team that scored four first-inning runs off Wei-Yin Chen on Thursday. Billy Butler, who finished a single short of the cycle, highlighted that rally with a three-run homer.

Kansas City (48-63), which has won four in a row three times this season, has homered nine times while winning four of five overall.

Butler has hit .408 (20 for 49) with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 13 games against the Orioles and .366 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 17 career games at Camden Yards.

"Butler's one of the top five right-handed hitters in baseball,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "This guy is solid. You look at his track record. I try not to feel like he's picking on us. We made some good pitches on him the last couple at-bats, but we made some mistakes on him and good hitters are going to pounce on those.''

Winners in seven of 10, the Royals turn to Luke Hochevar (7-9, 5.04), who is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last two starts. Though the right-hander allowed five runs Sunday, only one was earned, in six innings of a 7-6, 10-inning victory over Texas.

Hochevar is 1-5 with a 6.08 ERA in eight starts against the Orioles, but he allowed two runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Baltimore on May 27. He's 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA in four starts at Camden Yards.

All-Star Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is 3 for 11 against Hochevar, but 7 for 14 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last three games overall.

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