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American League Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, April 18th (All times eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (7-7) at Boston Red Sox (7-9), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Chris Tillman (1-1, 0.84) Boston - John Lackey (2-1, 3.86)

(SportsNetwork,com) - The Baltimore Orioles kick off a seven-game road swing in Boston Friday night when they open a four-game series with the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Baltimore was idle Thursday after sweeping a rain-shortened, two-game set with Tampa Bay a day earlier. Miguel Gonzalez and relievers Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter combined for the team's first shutout on Wednesday, while Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones each supplied RBIs in a 3-0 victory. Closer Koji Uehara returned to action after nearly a week off due to right shoulder soreness and earned his third save.

Meanwhile, Boston just concluded a seven-game road trip, during which it went 3-4. On Thursday, catcher David Ross delivered a go-ahead RBI double in the ninth inning to help lift the Red Sox to a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. Starter Jon Lester carried a perfect game into the sixth before giving up a hit. He went on to pitch eight innings and gave up just one earned run to go along with nine strikeouts.

Now, the Red Sox return home for the first time since Tuesday's one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Right-hander John Lackey takes the hill and will try to rebound from a rough last outing against the Yankees as he gave up a career-high four home runs. All told, Lackey was charged with six earned runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of an eventual 7-4 loss. But he has fared rather well against Baltimore in his career with a 14-5 record and a 3.33 ERA.

For Baltimore, staff ace Chris Tillman gets the nod and will have an extra day of rest under his belt.

"Just thought Tilly could benefit, regardless of who we are facing or where we are down the road," manager Buck Showalter said of the decision to give Tillman an extra off day. "The thing that's optimum is his health -- and everybody's."

In three starts so far this season, the right-hander has given up a mere two earned runs as he owns a 0.84 ERA. In his last outing against Toronto, Tillman went eight innings and yielded only a pair of unearned runs on three hits. However, he took the loss as the O's offense was blanked in a 2-0 final.

"I told him after the game, that was one of the best I've ever seen Tillman throw to be honest with you," center fielder Adam Jones said.

The O's had the upper hand in the head-to-head series last year as they went 11-8 against Boston.

04/18 10:23:26 ET

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