|Orioles go for unlikely sweep of Braves|
The Baltimore Orioles go for their first series sweep of the season against an unlikely opponent.
The O's, who entered the weekend with the worst record in the American League, will try to take three straight from the Atlanta Braves, who began the series tied for the best record in the National League. Atlanta has been swept only once this season.
Baltimore will send right-hander David Hess (2-3, 4.82 ERA) against Atlanta's Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 4.89) on Sunday at SunTrust Park.
Baltimore has found its offense in Atlanta, scoring 17 runs in the first two games. Mark Trumbo had a grand slam Saturday and Chris Davis returned from an eight-game hiatus to hit a home run Friday and drive in three runs Saturday.
"I feel a lot better," said Davis, who entered the series hitting .150. "I feel like I'm getting there, starting to get that calm and easy feel. It feels good to contribute to two wins."
Baltimore had lost eight of its last 10 games entering the series, but their two losses in the previous series against Washington had been by three or fewer runs.
"We have been playing better, more like we need to play and how to play," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm happy that they are getting their turn. The mood and the effort, that's been on-going, but how much of that can you take? You worry about that because nobody is happy about losing."
Hess will be making his eighth start and has made quality starts in four of them. He's received an average of 4.10 runs in support. But his last victory came on May 25 against Tampa Bay.
The rookie will be making his first career start against Atlanta. He has started seven games this season and has struggled in the last two outings.
He allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings against Washington on Tuesday and five runs in 3 1/3 innings against Boston on June 12. His last four starts have reaped two losses and two no-decisions.
McCarthy was on the verge of losing his spot in the rotation, but received a reprieve when rookie Mike Soroka had to be placed on the disabled list for the second time with shoulder soreness. Otherwise, he would likely have been moved to the bullpen.
McCarthy threw 5 2/3 innings in his last start against San Diego on June 15 and allowed two runs. In 14 starts, McCarthy has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 10 games.
McCarthy has made 10 career appearances (eight starts) against Baltimore and compiled a 2-2 record with a 4.28 ERA. He has not faced the Orioles since 2014.
Atlanta would like to see McCarthy pitch deeper in the game in order to give the bullpen a break. Luke Jackson, Sam Freeman and Peter Moylan have pitched the last two days and are likely unavailable. Concern remains about closer Arodys Vizcaino, who has complained of right shoulder soreness and hasn't pitched in six days.
Vizcaino has suffered shoulder issues this season and had a cortisone injection this week.
"It's one of those spots in the year with him," manager Brian Snitker said. "We went through it a couple times with him last year. There are times he's going to have to be down, just to get him through the year."