The Baltimore Orioles led the majors with 253 home runs last season and are beginning to find their power stroke in 2017. The Orioles will try to follow up a four-homer performance and earn a sweep of the two-game interleague series when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale on Wednesday.
Baltimore entered the series in ninth place in the majors in home runs with 76 but broke out the thunder against the Pirates on Tuesday as Seth Smith and Chris Davis homered once and Jonathan Schoop belted a pair, including a two-run shot in the ninth that sent the game into extra innings before Mark Trumbo’s RBI single won it in the 10th. Davis has hit safely in seven straight games and belted three homers in that span. Trying to keep the ball in the park for the Pirates on Wednesday will be right-hander Chad Kuhl, who opposes Baltimore lefty Wade Miley. Pittsburgh has some thump in its lineup as well and got a home run from David Freese in the opener among nine hits – three for extra bases.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02 ERA) vs. Orioles LH Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82)
Kuhl has not won since his first start of the season on April 8 and has not gone over five innings since a six-inning stint at St. Louis on April 18. The Delaware native lasted five frames against Arizona last Wednesday and scattered two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out four and not factoring in the decision. Kuhl is seeing the Orioles for the first time and owns a 2.19 ERA in two interleague starts.
Miley turned in a strong effort against one of his former teams while holding the Red Sox to one run and five hits in seven innings to earn a win on Thursday. The Louisiana native surrendered two or fewer earned runs in seven of his last nine outings. Miley spent the first four seasons of his career in the National League with the Arizona Diamondbacks and is 2-2 with a 3.11 ERA in six career starts against the Pirates.
1. Pirates LF Gregory Polanco is 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in his last two games.
2. Baltimore SS J.J. Hardy is 1-for-17 over his last five games, dropping his batting average to .205.
3. Pittsburgh LHP Tony Watson suffered his fourth blown save and third in his last six appearances on Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Orioles 7, Pirates 3