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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, August 2 (All times Eastern)

Seattle Mariners (56-53) at Baltimore Orioles (61-47), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - James Paxton (2-0, 2.25) Baltimore - Miguel Gonzalez (5-5, 3.77)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles will try to maintain their lead in the American League East when they take on the Seattle Mariners in the middle contest of a three-game set at Camden Yards.

Wei-Yin Chen twirled a gem and J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado each had RBI singles in a 2-1 win for Baltimore in Friday's opener. Chen allowed just one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings of work. He also struck out eight batters.

Andrew Miller, newly acquired from the Red Sox, pitched two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief and Zach Britton finished out the game for his 22nd save.

Baltimore has won four of its last five and now holds a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East with Toronto losing to Houston on Friday.

Roenis Elias took the loss for Seattle, allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, over 5 2/3 innings. He had as many strikeouts as hits, with seven of each.

Kendrys Morales' RBI double in the fourth led to the Mariners' lone run in the game. Robinson Cano went 2-for-3 and scored a run in the losing effort, the second in the last three games for Seattle.

On Saturday James Paxton will make his first start at the major league level since early April when he takes the mound for Seattle.

Paxton last pitched for the Mariners on April 8, but he been out since with a shoulder injury. After completing a rehab assignment in the minor leagues, he is set to get back to work.

The 24-year-old left-hander was drafted by Seattle in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft. He made his way to the majors fairly quickly, making four starts in September of last season and then earning a spot in the rotation to begin this year.

In six career starts Paxton is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA and a WHIP of just 0.83. The sample size is obviously small, but the early returns breed optimism for his future.

Paxton has never pitched against Baltimore.

On the other side of the scorecard will be Miguel Gonzalez.

The right-hander enjoyed a stellar month of July. In four starts in the month he went 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA over 29 2/3 innings. The recent success has brought his total season production to respectability, as he is now 5-5 with an ERA of 3.77, the lowest it has been all year.

Gonzalez's most recent start came last Sunday, also against Seattle. In the outing he allowed just a single run on eight hits over six innings. The Orioles won the game 3-2, but he did not factor in the decision. It was the 30-year-old's first career start against the Mariners.

Baltimore won three out of four against Seattle last weekend. This is the final series the teams will play this season.

08/02 10:32:20 ET

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