Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
The Baltimore Orioles need one home run to set an all-time record for the month of June when they visit the Seattle Mariners on Thursday for the opener of a four-game series. Baltimore has tied the major-league mark of 55 homers set by the 1996 Oakland Athletics and also is just three shy of the record for any month, shared by the Orioles (May 1987) and Mariners (May 1999).
Baltimore’s power show has helped it win seven consecutive games, and major-league home run leader Mark Trumbo (23) is one of the players who is aware of what is at stake on the final day of the month. “Some guys are aware, some aren’t,” Trumbo told reporters after Wednesday’s 12-6 trouncing of San Diego. “Obviously, it’s a special thing, but it’s not something that anyone is going to gloat about or spend too much time thinking about. It just goes to show that we are on a nice little run.” Baltimore’s Chris Tillman is on a superb run against the Mariners, compiling a 7-0 record and 2.96 ERA in nine career starts. Seattle was pounded 8-1 by Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but Robinson Cano recorded two hits and has gone 10-for-25 during his six-game hitting streak.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Chris Tillman (10-1, 3.52 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Taijuan Walker (3-6, 3.45)
Tillman has won nine consecutive decisions but will be looking to bounce back from a poor showing in a no-decision against Tampa Bay on Saturday. He was pounded for a season-worst 10 hits in five innings, and the six runs he gave up matches the most he has allowed this season – April 14 versus Texas in his lone defeat. Tillman has struggled against Cano, who is 14-for-34 with two homers and eight RBIs against him.
Walker missed his last start due to a foot injury but has been cleared to return against Baltimore. He was brilliant in his last home outing on June 8, when he blanked Cleveland on three hits over eight innings while matching his season high of 11 strikeouts. Walker is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles and has been taken deep by Trumbo and Matt Wieters.
1. Mariners 1B Dae-Ho Lee, who has 10 home runs, has failed to go deep in any of his last 15 games.
2. Baltimore 2B Jonathan Schoop is 8-for-14 over his last three contests and is batting .489 with 18 runs scored during an 11-game hitting streak.
3. Seattle C Steve Clevenger (fractured right hand) departed Wednesday after being hit by a foul ball and will be placed on the disabled list.
PREDICTION: Orioles 8, Mariners 4