(AP) — A few years ago, it would’ve been hard to envision the Baltimore Orioles dominating the Boston Red Sox. That’s the reality now, and they have a chance to accomplish something the franchise hasn’t in over half a century.
Red-hot Baltimore looks to push its wining streak against the Red Sox to seven on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
During a stretch of 14 straight losing seasons from 1998-2011, the Orioles’ record against the Red Sox was emblematic of their problems. They lost 62 of 79 meetings from Sept 3, 2005-April 24, 2010, before a memorable win on the final day of the 2011 season signaled a change.
Baltimore has gone 43-24 since, including eight wins in 11 games this year after Tuesday’s series-opening 6-4 victory, their sixth straight in the series. The Orioles haven’t won seven in a row against Boston since 1961.
Opponents haven’t made much difference lately to Baltimore (37-33), which is a major league-best 12-3 since June 7. That success can be attributed mostly to an offense that is averaging 6.7 runs with 25 homers and batting an eye-popping .376 with runners in scoring position during that span.
David Lough, starting for the sixth time in seven games in place of injured center fielder Adam Jones, hit a three-run homer.
“I don’t get many of them, not as many as he gets,” Lough said of his third homer in 10 games after getting one in his first 41, “but it was good to get that up on the board.”
Manny Machado continued his torrid pace with two hits and an RBI, his fifth straight multi-hit effort. Machado is 30 for 67 (.448) with 16 RBIs in his last 16 games.
Jones is dealing with a sore right shoulder and may not play until Friday against Cleveland.
“These guys count on me to be in there every day,” Jones told MLB’s official website. “I count on myself to be in there every day. Oriole fans, (Buck) Showalter counts on me to be in there every day. It’s tough, because I feel like I’m letting my teammates down, but they understand.”
Bud Norris (2-5, 7.57 ERA) aims to continue his improvement for the Orioles since a three-week stint on the DL due to bronchitis. He’s 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts since returning after going 1-4 with a 9.88 ERA in his first six. Norris allowed two runs and five hits over six innings in a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday.
The right-hander received plenty of offensive support against the Red Sox on April 26, giving up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in an 18-7 victory. He’s 0-2 with a 4.08 ERA in three starts at Fenway.
Boston (31-41) has lost five of six at home, posting a 7.07 ERA in that stretch. Red Sox starting pitchers have a 6.59 ERA in the season series against the Orioles, but Clay Buchholz limited them to two runs over six innings in a 4-1 loss April 18.
Buchholz (4-6, 3.87) has a chance to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season after allowing two unearned runs in seven innings of Thursday’s 5-2 victory at Atlanta.
The right-hander tossed eight scoreless innings June 2 against Minnesota for his only win in seven home starts. He’s 0-4 with a 5.73 ERA in his other six games there.
Buchholz has lost his last two starts against Baltimore after going 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA in four prior matchups.
Chris Davis is 7 for 22 with a pair of homers when facing Buchholz. Travis Snider and Matt Wieters, however, are a combined 7 for 47.
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