Behind potent lineup, O's aim for sweep of Pirates
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles will look to continue their power surge and complete a two-game series sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday at Camden Yards.
Jonathan Schoop hit two of the Orioles' four home runs in a 6-5, 10-inning victory over Pittsburgh in the series opener Tuesday.
"This is a good team," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Baltimore. "The Orioles have found a way to win a lot of games over the years. They're a perennial contender. Offensively, they provide you with some challenges. They swing big and play pretty solid defense."
With the series opener, Baltimore began a stretch of 20 consecutive games in as many days. The Orioles were supposed to have an off day Thursday, but instead they must travel to Washington to play a makeup game against the first-place Nationals.
Baltimore began the lengthy stretch with a good start.
"I tell them, you've got to stay true and keep grinding and the baseball gods will be kind to you," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Baltimore left-hander Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82 ERA) will take the mound against the Pirates in the series finale. He has been one of the team's most productive starters this season.
Miley picked up his second win of the season Thursday against the Boston Red Sox when he allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings. He also showed better command, issuing just one walk while striking out three in 109 pitches.
Miley has pitched with added confidence, knowing the Orioles' powerful lineup is capable of putting up runs and providing a cushion.
"Everybody knows what this offense is capable of doing," Miley said. "It definitely takes a lot of pressure off the pitching staff, but we still have to go out and do our jobs. That's when you get on a roll, when the pitchers are pitching good and we're swinging the bats like we're swinging right now. I mean, the opportunity is there."
Miley, who is 2-2 with a 3.11 ERA in six career starts against Pittsburgh, may change the way Hurdle approaches the series finale. On Monday, Josh Bell served as the designated hitter, but Hurdle might use another player at that spot.
"Left-hander on the mound could mean something different," Hurdle said. "Miley seems to be on a little bit of a roll right now."
Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02 ERA) has struggled over 11 starts this season, and he will try to recover against Baltimore. Kuhl showed better command in his previous outing, Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, when he allowed two runs on three hits over five innings.
That was an encouraging sign for the young right-hander.
"In previous games, I was throwing hard just to throw hard, just to try to get it by him and try to beat him instead of just doing what I do best, and that's a good-angled fastball," said Kuhl, who will be making his first career start against the Orioles.
One of the keys for Pittsburgh in the second game of the series is keeping the ball in Camden Yards. The Pirates struggled with that task in the opener, and it proved costly.
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh likely will be without catcher Francisco Cervelli, who took a ball off his mask in the ninth inning Tuesday and was forced to leave the game. Cervelli was tested for a concussion, and his status was uncertain.
Updated June 7, 2017