O's welcome Cruz back to Camden Yards

(SportsNetwork.com) - Nelson Cruz makes his return to Camden Yards on Tuesday night when the Seattle Mariners open a three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles.

Tuesday's game is the first of nine straight on the road for the Mariners, who split a four-game home series with the Boston Red Sox over the weekend before getting the day off Monday.

Seattle is coming off Sunday's 5-0 triumph behind James Paxton, who tossed eight shutout innings and allowed only five hits to extend his scoreless streak to 20 innings.

"It's no secret, command the fastball and you're going to win and it's going to make all your other pitches better," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "And when you're commanding a 98-mph fastball, it's going to make everything else special. I thought you saw that (on Sunday)."

Brad Miller and Kyle Seager both went deep for the M's in Sunday's victory.

Looking ahead to Tuesday's opener, Cruz returns to Camden Yards to face the team that he played for last season when he hit a major league-best 40 home runs. Cruz is currently batting .340 and again leads the majors with 15 homers after signing a four-year, $57-million deal with the Mariners in the offseason.

Baltimore was also idle on Monday. The Orioles are 3-3 on their current homestand, which wraps up with this series.

The O's are looking to build on Sunday's 3-0 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The team got a huge lift from Mike Wright, who was making his big league debut due to ailments to starters Bud Norris (bronchitis) and Chris Tillman (lower back stiffness). Wright pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings and allowed only four hits to out-duel Angels starter Garrett Richards.

"It's everything that you dream of going into it, and it was really fun," Wright said. "At times, I had everything working. Sometimes my slider wasn't there, but I felt good altogether. I felt amazing."

Miguel Gonzalez will try to pick up right where Wright left off as the right- hander gets the call on Tuesday night. Gonzalez picked up his fourth win of the season against Toronto last time out, as he went 7 2/3 frames and yielded only an unearned run on three hits.

For Seattle, Taijuan Walker gets his first career crack at the Orioles as he looks to put a rough first month of the season behind him. The 22-year-old right-hander is 1-4 with a 7.22 ERA through seven starts but has settled down a bit over his last two, allowing a total of five earned runs on nine hits over 11 combined innings against Oakland and San Diego. Walker fanned six batters in each of those starts and walked only three total.

Baltimore went 5-2 against Seattle last season and has won nine of the last 12 head-to-head meetings inside Camden Yards.