By JORDAN GARRETSON
(AP) — The Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles have boasted two of baseball’s better offenses this season, but they’ve relied on excellent pitching more of late.
Los Angeles is hoping Mike Trout’s road dominance can be the difference in what could be a low-scoring matchup Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
The Angels (63-41) come off three straight home victories over Detroit after dropping Thursday’s series opener. Their pitchers yielded two runs and 13 hits in those wins, and the bullpen continued its dominant run.
Their relievers own a major league-best 1.78 ERA over the last 21 games after ranking 25th with a 4.13 mark for the season. Closer Huston Street hasn’t allowed a run in four appearances and converted all three of his save opportunities since being acquired from San Diego.
“If you can go five and keep us in the game, it’s almost a guarantee they’re going to come in and put up a zero,” starter Hector Santiago said after limiting Detroit to one run in 5 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 2-1 victory. “We used to be scared if we left guys on base. Now it’s like we just sit back and watch the rest of the game.”
Los Angeles, which ranks second in the majors with 4.9 runs per game, averaged just 3.0 runs during its 6-4 homestand, but has won six of seven on the road while averaging 7.1 runs and hitting .312.
Trout was 4 for 26 over the last seven games but he’s batting .430 with nine homers, eight doubles and 26 RBIs over his last 20 road contests. He leads the majors with a 1.040 OPS on the road and has seven homers in his last 13 games versus Baltimore.
The Orioles (58-46) went 6-4 on their 10-game road swing and took two of three in Anaheim last week to improve to 6-2 in their last eight against the Angels. Baltimore starters posted a 1.77 ERA over 20 1-3 innings versus the Angels and a 2.92 mark on the road trip, picking up an offense that has scored more than four runs just once in the last 15 games.
Chris Tillman (7-5, 3.92 ERA) gave up one run in six innings without a decision in last Wednesday’s 3-2 loss at Los Angeles.
“They’ve got a good lineup,” Tillman told MLB’s official website. “They are going to battle all night long …It never felt like you had the game in hand. They grinded me out tonight, put some real good at-bats together.”
Tillman is winless in five straight starts despite a 3.09 ERA, touting a 2.53 run-support average in that span. He won his previous two career starts versus the Angels, though, and has limited them to four runs over 20 2-3 innings in three matchups.
Jered Weaver (11-6, 3.36) gets the nod for the Angels, having gone 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA in his last seven starts. He improved to 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA in his last seven matchups with Baltimore last Wednesday opposite Tillman, limiting the Orioles to two runs over eight innings.
“My fastball command has been pretty good the last couple of games, and I feel like I’m getting stronger every time out,” Weaver said. “So I just want to keep working on it and keep establishing it because it sets up everything else.”
Nelson Cruz is second in the majors with 29 homers but is just 15 for 69 (.217) versus Weaver, and his 22 strikeouts are the most of any player against the right-hander.
Updated July 28, 2014
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