By TAYLOR BECHTOLD
(AP) — Although they’ve put up some big offensive numbers while facing the rival Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles open a three-game series against the only New York starter that has managed to hold them in check.
The AL East-leading Orioles will try to get the bats going as they go after their ninth win in 11 games Friday night against Hiroki Kuroda and the banged-up Yankees at Camden Yards.
The Orioles (50-41) feasted on New York pitching while winning four of six at Yankee Stadium earlier this season, averaging 6.3 runs and hitting .314 with 10 home runs on the way to outscoring the Yankees 38-19.
Delmon Young is 6 for 11 with a homer in the season series, All-Star Adam Jones has gone 10 for 27 with two home runs and Jonathan Schoop is 7 for 20 with two homers.
Steve Pearce also has contributed by going 6 for 14 with a home run and four RBIs versus New York (46-45), which trails Baltimore by four games in the division. He went 2 for 4 with his 11th home run in Thursday’s 4-3 home win over Washington as the Orioles took two of three in the rain-shortened home-and-home set.
Pearce, batting .367 at home, has doubled and fanned twice in three at-bats versus Kuroda (6-6, 4.20 ERA).
The right-hander is 3-3 with a 3.14 ERA in eight career starts against the Orioles, and has given up four total runs over 12 1-3 innings while starting both of New York’s victories in this season series.
Kuroda will try to pick up the rotation after ace Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow and joined CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on the disabled list.
“If you have a good series in Baltimore, you go into the break and you’re right in the middle of everything with 60-something games to go after that,” manager Joe Girardi told MLB’s official website. “What you want is an opportunity.”
Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez (4-5, 4.22) hopes to build on his best performance of the season after allowing one earned run over eight innings Saturday before Boston scored in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory.
“I told myself not to do too much, stay aggressive, down in the zone,” Gonzalez said.
The right-hander has gone 2-2 with a 4.07 ERA in eight career starts versus New York. In his only meeting in 2014, he did not factor in the decision after allowing three runs over six innings in a 5-4 road win April 9.
Carlos Beltran went 3 for 3 with a home run off him in that contest, though the slugger is on the seven-day concussion list after suffering a broken nose during batting practice.
Brett Gardner, 5 for 15 with three doubles versus Gonzalez, went 1 for 5 in Thursday’s 9-3 loss in Cleveland after missing one game with an abdominal strain. The Yankees fell to 5-3 on their 11-game trip after settling for a four-game split with the Indians.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Derek Jeter combined for nine hits in the last two games. Ellsbury is 8 for 22 against the Orioles in 2014, though Jeter has gone 4 for 23.
Updated July 11, 2014
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