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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, July 25 (All times Eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (56-45) at Seattle Mariners (53-49), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Kevin Gausman (4-3, 4.04) Seattle - Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.02)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Seattle Mariners will look for Felix Hernandez to play stopper on Friday evening when they resume a four-game set with the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles.

Hernandez, who is pitching on an extra day of rest, has been in dominant form for much of the season, going 11-2 with an AL-leading 2.02 earned run average. He is also second in the league with 163 strikeouts.

The right-hander did not factor into a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday despite giving up just one unearned run on two hits over seven innings. He walked four, but also fanned nine.

It marked the 12th straight outing in which Hernandez has allowed two runs or fewer, and he has posted a 1.37 ERA over that time.

The 28-year-old is 5-4 with a 3.44 ERA lifetime versus the Orioles and will try to help the Mariners avoid a fourth straight loss after they dropped Thursday's opener 4-0.

Seattle managed just five hits -- all singles -- against Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen as it was shut out for the 12th time this season. Thursday's loss also marked the 14th time in the past 17 games that the Mariners were held to three runs or fewer.

Hisashi Iwakuma was victimized by a four-run fourth inning in the setback. He allowed seven hits with four strikeouts over seven innings.

"He elevated three pitches, but other than that he threw pretty good," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of Iwakuma. "When you don't hit, you don't look good."

Seattle's sixth loss in eight games also came on the day that it acquired slugger Kendrys Morales from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for pitcher Stephen Pryor.

Morales hit .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBI last season with Seattle, but turned down a qualifying offer from the club in pursuit of a big contract this past offseason. It never came and he eventually inked a one-year deal with Minnesota after sitting out the start of the season.

After hitting .234 with a homer and 18 RBI in 39 games with the Twins, Morales is expected to join Seattle on Friday and play mostly at the designated hitter spot.

Morales should be glad he missed out on facing Chen after the Orioles hurler matched a career high with eight innings pitched.

"That's one of the best games I've seen him throw," Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said of Chen.

Delmon Young homered and Nick Markakis provided an RBI for the Orioles, who have won three of their last four and sit three games in front of both the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East.

Young righty Kevin Gausman starts tonight for Baltimore having gone 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in eight starts this season.

The fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft is coming off a 10-2 loss to Oakland on Sunday, charged with five runs on nine hits and two walks in four-plus innings. It was Gausman's shortest outing since also going four innings in his season debut on May 14 and marked the second time in his last four starts he gave up five runs.

The 23-year-old is set to face Seattle for the first time.

The Mariners won four of six versus the Orioles last season.

07/25 10:42:51 ET

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