Baltimore (43-37) at Los Angeles Angels (45-36), 10:05 p.m. EDT
Kendrys Morales is surging for the Los Angeles Angels, and he’s always hit well against the Baltimore Orioles.
The designated hitter just completed a strong road trip as he gets ready for Thursday night’s opener of a four-game set against the visiting Orioles.
Morales is 13 for 33 during an eight-game hitting streak, batting .400 in seven games on the Angels’ 5-4 trip that ended with Wednesday’s 12-3 loss to Cleveland.
His .386 average in 20 games against Baltimore (44-37) is his best versus an AL team. He’s 7 for 14 with five RBIs in four appearances against the Orioles this year as Los Angeles (45-37) has taken four of five matchups.
The Angels got plenty of offense in a two-game sweep at Camden Yards last week, outscoring Baltimore 20-4 by batting .388 with five homers and 33 hits.
Torii Hunter went 5 for 10 with a homer, three RBIs and five runs scored in that series while All-Star rookie center fielder Mike Trout, the AL batting leader at .343, was 5 for 11 with four runs scored.
The Angels might be able to continue tormenting Orioles pitching against Jake Arrieta (3-9, 5.81 ERA), who is 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in three 2012 starts against AL West teams and 1-7 with a 5.93 ERA in 10 career outings against that division.
The right-hander gave up five runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss at Anaheim on April 21. His last outing was also abbreviated as he allowed five runs over 3 2-3 Friday in a 9-8 win over Cleveland.
The Orioles are seeking their first three-game win streak since a five-game run June 9-14 after taking the final two games in Seattle. Chris Tillman took a shutout into the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 4-2 victory.
Baltimore dropped six of seven before these two victories.
“The men in here knew we needed this series,” center fielder Adam Jones told the Orioles’ official website. “We’re just trying to win series, to win ballgames. I think if we take two out of every three, we should be in the thick of it when it’s all said and done.”
Mark Reynolds went 2 for 4 after going hitless in 20 at-bats over his previous seven games. He’ll be out to try to end another hitless run – a slide of 15 straight at-bats against the Angels.
Wilson Betemit went 0 for 11 in the Seattle series after entering it with a .472 average over an 11-game hitting streak.
The Angels have won all three home starts by right-hander Garrett Richards (2-1, 2.81), who is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in those contests. Richards was far from effective last Saturday in an 11-2 defeat at Toronto, surrendering 10 runs over 4 1-3 innings.
“That’s the learning curve,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Hopefully he’ll make adjustments and be better next time.”
Los Angeles fell behind 8-0 after two innings in that loss, and trailed 9-1 after two frames Wednesday. The large deficit in Cleveland along with mid-90s temperatures led Scioscia to pull many regulars in the sixth.