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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, May 29th (All times Eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (26-25) at Houston Astros (22-32), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Ubaldo Jimenez (2-6, 4.98) Houston - Brad Peacock (1-4, 5.20)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Astros last saw the World Series after the 2005 season, and it's safe to say that it's been nearly that long since they were among the hottest teams in the major leagues. But that's the reality on Thursday night, when the Astros host the Baltimore Orioles to begin a four- game weekend series at Minute Maid Park.

Though mired in last place in the American League's West Division and still 10 games below .500, Houston has won five straight games and is in the midst of a significant offensive outburst.

The Astros have scored 34 runs over the five games and managed at least 11 hits in each, while bouncing back from a four-game skid in which it had put together just six runs.

They defeated Kansas City, 9-3, on Wednesday, when Chris Carter drove in four runs with two homers. George Springer also homered for the ninth time this month and Dexter Fowler both had two RBI and Carlos Corporan went 3-for-4 for the Astros, who swept the Royals for the first time since July 2001.

Jarred Cosart (4-4) earned the win after surrendering two runs -- one earned -- on four hits with a strikeout across five innings.

"Our offense is better," Carter said. "It's been coming around really good. George has six home runs in six games. I'm happy for him. I think we have something going here."

Houston won six straight between May 29 and June 3 last season and could match that number with a strong outing from veteran Brad Peacock, who was scratched from a start on Friday with forearm stiffness -- but has since bounced back with a successful bullpen session.

He's never faced the Orioles, but he was a winner for the first time in eight outings in his most recent outing on May 18, when he went 6 2/3 innings of an 8-2 defeat of the Chicago White Sox.

Peacock will have to contend with Baltimore's Nelson Cruz, who hit home runs No. 18 and 19 in an 8-3 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday.

The Orioles, who have lost six of 10, also got an RBI from Manny Machado.

"Nellie, he's a perennial hitter," said Orioles pitcher Bud Norris, who gave up four runs in six innings. "We've seen him for years in other leagues and everything else, but to have him over here in Baltimore's been outstanding."

Baltimore begins the series with starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who's given up 10 runs in nine innings over his last two starts -- and walked five in a 9-0 loss to Cleveland on Saturday.

Against Houston, however, Jimenez is 3-0 in six meetings with a stingy 1.63 earned run average.

Baltimore took two of three from the Astros earlier in the year.

05/29 10:21:17 ET

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