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Orioles open a three-game series with Rays

Orioles open a three-game series with Rays

Today's Game:

Baltimore Orioles (74-62) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (58-77), Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla., 1:10 p.m.  

Starting pitchers:

Matt Andriese (6-6, 4.19) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (5-11, 6.46)

Keys to the Game:

Can the Orioles win a series in Tampa Bay? They begin a difficult nine-game road trip with three games against the Rays. They also play three at Detroit and Boston.

Can Jimenez get a win? He's started five times since June 28 without one. 

News and Notes:

The Orioles are in third place in the AL East, three games behind Toronto and tied for the second wild card.

Jimenez is 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA in six starts against Tampa Bay.

Current Rays are batting .310 against Jimenez.

The Orioles are expected to activate left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing from the 60-day disabled list. 

Donnie Hart has pitched 11 1/3 scoreless innings to begin his major league career.

RELATED: SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND ENDS BADLY FOR ORIOLES

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Orioles bats rally to compete sweep of Rangers

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles bats rally to compete sweep of Rangers

BALTIMORE -- Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones both homered and drove in three runs, and the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat Cole Hamels and the Texas Rangers 9-7 on Thursday night to complete a four-game sweep.

Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis also went deep for the Orioles, who trailed 5-1 in the fifth inning before coming back to hand Hamels (4-1) his first loss in 10 starts this season.

Baltimore hit 10 home runs in the series and outscored Texas 34-11.

The Orioles' four-game winning streak is their longest since a six-game run in early May, and it puts them within three games of .500 (46-49) for the first time since July 4.

Miguel Castro (2-1) worked the sixth for Baltimore after starter Wade Miley allowed five runs over five innings.

Mike Napoli homered for the Rangers, whose five-game skid matches their season high.

Adrian Beltre had two hits for Texas and has 2,985 for his career, tied with Sam Rice for 31st place on the all-time list.

Hamels brought a 21-inning scoreless streak into the game and extended it to 24 -- third-longest of his career -- before Schoop homered in the fourth.

Jones and Trumbo connected in the fifth, and Hamels was lifted after Baltimore used three straight singles to pull even in the sixth. Jones greeted Jeremy Jeffress with an RBI double, and Schoop capped the uprising with a two-run single for an 8-5 lead.

Davis homered in the seventh, and the Rangers scored two in the ninth off Zach Britton.

Hamels gave up seven runs, along with a season-high nine hits and three home runs.

Beltre singled in a run for Texas in the first inning, and Carlos Gomez made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the fourth.

Napoli hit his 21st home run with two on in the fifth.

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Orioles' Kevin Gausman finds his groove against Texas Rangers

Orioles' Kevin Gausman finds his groove against Texas Rangers

All of a sudden, the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation is pitching magnificently.

The question is: Has this struggling staff finally found its groove, or is it because the opposition is the Texas Rangers?

MORE ORIOLES: ZACH BRITTON RETURNS TO O'S

Kevin Gausman pitched six innings of four-hit ball, Adam Jones homered and scored three runs and Baltimore beat the faltering Rangers 10-2 on Wednesday night.

Gausman (6-7) gave up one run, struck out eight and walked two. The right-hander came in with a 6.39 ERA and had yielded a total of 14 runs in his last two starts.

Though the Orioles' faulty rotation is one big reason why the team is four games under .500, the starters in this series have combined to allow three runs over 18 innings.

"It's a roll we'd like to get on," manager Buck Showalter said. "Start kind of passing the baton to the next guy."

Having thus far outscored Texas 25-4 in the series, the Orioles will attempt to complete a four-game sweep on Thursday.

"I think we all know that we need to pitch better and, you know, we're trying to do that," Gausman said. "Obviously the offense is what's kind of given us a bigger margin for error."

Trey Mancini contributed two hits in a seven-run seventh inning, including a bases-loaded triple, and Jonathan Schoop finished with three hits and three RBIs.

Joey Gallo hit his 22nd home run for the Rangers, who have dropped four straight and scored only eight runs in their last five games.

"We have to continue to believe in our offense. That's a challenge for us right now," manager Jeff Banister said. "It's been a bit of a stretch where one run has been the case for us and it's coming off solo shots."

Adrian Beltre hit a fourth-inning double to move within 17 hits of 3,000 for his career. It was his 602nd double, breaking a tie with Barry Bonds for 16th place on the all-time list.

But there were few other highlights for the Rangers, now 2-4 on a 10-game trip out of the All-Star break.

"It just seems tough to score right now," said Elvis Andrus, who went 0 for 4.

Texas had eight hits -- only two for extra bases.

"We can score runs. We need to get back to that and show our identity again," Gallo said. "I don't think anyone in this clubhouse is worried or panicking."

Jones got Baltimore started with a leadoff homer off Martin Perez (5-7), and Schoop made it 3-0 with a two-run double in the third.

Gallo connected in the fifth, but the Orioles pulled away in the seventh. Baltimore got six hits and took advantage of an error by catcher Robinson Chirinos to score four unearned runs.