(SportsNetwork.com) - Tommy Milone and the Oakland Athletics pay a visit to Camden Yards Friday night to take on Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game set.
At 37-23, Oakland entered the day with the best record in the American League along with a 5 1/2-game cushion in the AL West standings. Pitching has been the main reason behind that, as Oakland's 2.90 staff ERA is currently the best in baseball.
"Our pitchers have been throwing the ball great," said Brandon Moss. "Offensively, we've battled like we always do. More times than not, we've won with the same formula every day, which is to grind at-bats and get the starter out of the game."
However, the A's did have their five-game win streak come to a halt in Thursday's 2-1 setback at Yankee Stadium. Drew Pomeranz turned in another rock-solid performance by an A's starter as he yielded only two runs (one earned) in seven innings, but the offense simply could not get anything going.
The A's are a major league-best 20-11 on the road this season.
Meanwhile, Baltimore has gone just 11-12 at home, although the team still holds down second place in the ultra-competitive AL East. The Orioles are back home after splitting their 10-game road trip with a 5-5 mark.
The O's saw their four-game win streak come to a halt in Arlington on Thursday as they suffered an 8-6 loss. Starter Brian Matusz spotted the Rangers a five- run lead after only two innings. Baltimore battled back to tie the score in the fifth inning, but Texas tacked on three more runs in the seventh to pull away. O's shortstop J.J. Hardy committed three errors for the game.
Chen is 6-1 over his last 10 starts, and the left-hander has simply dominated Oakland with a 3-0 record and a 0.44 ERA in three career starts.
Most recently, Chen earned a win at Houston on Sunday as he threw 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out six and walking just one batter.
"I felt good out there, and I was kind of hoping I could go deeper in the game," said Chen, who threw 97 pitches.
For Oakland, Milone has gone 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA over his last five starts after making a mechanical adjustment to his stride. He gave up three runs on a season-high nine hits his last time out, but he did not factor in the decision as the offense paved the way to an 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
This marks the first meeting of the season between these two teams. Baltimore won five of seven head-to-head meetings in 2013.