Astros try to sweep O's for 9th straight win

The visiting Houston Astros will try to finish off a sweep of their weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles when the two teams meet at Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon.

Houston edged Baltimore 3-2 on Friday night and then crushed the Orioles on Saturday. The Astros belted six home runs, scored eight runs in the first two innings plus six in the seventh and rolled to a 23-2 victory.

The Astros now have won eight in a row. Baltimore, meanwhile, has lost five straight, going 0-5 on the current homestand.

Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA) will start for Houston. He has been hot lately, having won his last five starts and striking out at least 10 in each of the last four. The veteran right-hander has a 10-5 career record along with a 3.59 ERA in 21 starts against the Orioles.

Asher Wojciechowski (2-5, 4.89) gets the start for Baltimore. He gave the Orioles two good starts recently but struggled in his last two.

This will be his first career appearance versus Houston.

The Astros come into the finale after pounding the ball in Saturday's rout. They finished with 25 hits along with those six home runs, led by Yordan Alvarez's three homers and seven RBI. One of those homers was a moon shot to deep right field that gave Houston a 20-1 lead in the seventh inning.

The last was another one deep into the night in the ninth, a two-run blast off position player Stevie Wilkerson, who came on to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings.

"When something goes well for one of us, it goes well for all of us," Alvarez said afterward through an interpreter.

The Astros said Friday that pitcher Brad Peacock's rehab is moving along. He's been out for about two months with shoulder problems, according to the Houston Chronicle.

He's supposed to throw in consecutive games for Triple-A Round Rock, and then the team will take a look at him and see if it's time to bring Peacock back.

"We'll know a lot more after his outings," manager AJ Hinch said on Friday to the Chronicle. "There's a lot he has to do between now and then."

The Orioles are in a tough spot regarding pitching heading into Sunday's game. That's why they used Wilkerson to get the last four outs.

Baltimore will have a doubleheader on Monday in New York against the Yankees, so manager Brandon Hyde is hoping for a long game from Wojciechowski on Sunday. That would help a badly over-taxed bullpen refresh for the doubleheader.

"We need Wojo to step up and give us a really good start," Hyde told the media after Saturday's loss. We don't [have] the easiest stretch."

The Baltimore offense has also struggled in the series. The Orioles have scored just four runs in the first two games, one of which came on a pinch-hit homer from recently called-up Rio Ruiz in the seventh inning on Saturday.

The O's also may be without one of their top power hitters Sunday, as Renato Nunez fouled a ball off his left ankle Saturday. It was ruled a contusion, and Hyde said he's day-to-day, but Nunez did leave Saturday's game when Richie Martin pinch-hit for him in the eighth.

The total of six homers allowed on Saturday came a day after Baltimore ended a 12-game streak of allowing multiple homers. The Orioles will try to cut that down Sunday before heading to face the Yankees on Monday -- a team that hit 16 in three games against the Orioles earlier in this homestand.

--Field Level Media
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