(SportsNetwork.com) - Struggling to find any consistency of late, the Baltimore Orioles dig in for the middle test of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday at Camden Yards.
Winners of just three of the last 10 outings, the Orioles have not won back- to-back contests in close to two weeks and as a result find themselves at the bottom of the American League East standings. However, even with the recent run of poor play, the squad can take solace in knowing that it is only four games out of first place after dropping a 3-1 decision last night to the Halos.
Baltimore's bats produced just five hits, two each from Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy, the latter scoring the lone run on a solo home run in the eighth to draw the hosts to within one, before LA added a run in the top of the ninth.
On the mound, Wei-Yin Chen was charged with his second defeat, giving up just two runs on five hits and a pair of walks, while striking out seven over seven innings of work.
Grabbing the win for the Angels, who are now one game over .500 and 4 1/2 games off the pace set by the Houston Astros in the AL West, was Jered Weaver as he allowed just one run on three hits. Weaver, now 2-4 on the campaign, fanned three and walked one in his 7 1/3 innings of work. Huston Street logged his 12th save as he struck out two in his one inning of action.
"It was good for the most part," Weaver said of his own effort. "Got away with a couple pitches they popped up, but mixed in the offspeed, and fastball command was pretty good. Defense played well behind me, [catcher Carlos Perez] called a great game, and we were able to scratch a couple runs against a guy that threw the ball real well as well. So good win."
Angels slugger Albert Pujols registered his sixth home run, while Erick Aybar tallied a pair of hits and scored once for the visitors.
Taking the ball for the Angels will be Matt Shoemaker as he tries to snap a two-game slide. The right-hander, who is 0-1 in his career versus Baltimore, last pitched a week ago against Houston and was tagged for six runs on six hits, three of those home runs, over just three innings of action. Matching his shortest outing of the campaign, Shoemaker walked one and struck out four as his ERA ballooned to 6.61.
Bud Norris was originally scheduled to make the start for the Orioles but was scratched due to a bout with bronchitis. While Norris could be back in the rotation on Sunday, his Saturday start has been handed to Ubaldo Jimenez.
The right-handed Jimenez, who is 0-4 with a 6.12 ERA in four all-time appearances against the Angels, has alternated wins and losses during his five decisions this season. Most recently he came out on top against Toronto as he allowed just two runs on six hits and a couple of walks over seven innings. He struck out a season-high nine in the contest after having just a single strikeout in his previous effort versus the New York Mets on the road 10 days ago.
Giving Jimenez a slight edge on Saturday is the fact that the Angels are second-to-last in the AL in batting with an average of just .231, only slightly ahead of Houston (.229).