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Preview: Orioles at Red Sox

Current Conditions – Boston
CLOUDY 77 °F
Wind: SE 5
5-Day Forecast GAME: Baltimore Orioles (76-78) at Boston Red Sox (74-80)
DATE/TIME: Sunday, September 27 – 1:35 PM EST
WHERE: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A

The Boston Red Sox have a chance to avoid their third last-place finish in the last four seasons – all they need to do is get around the Baltimore Orioles or the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox will try to pull one game closer when they go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Orioles on Sunday.

Baltimore came into Boston riding a hot streak that got it to .500 and with an outside shot at the second American League wild card but was shut out in each of the first two games of the series by veteran journeyman Rich Hill on Friday and by the Boston bullpen for all nine innings on Saturday. The Red Sox (74-80) are now a half-game behind Tampa Bay (75-80) and two games behind the Orioles (76-78), with third place in their sights. The Baltimore offense was held to a total of seven hits while being outscored 15-0 in the first two games of the series and the defense, which committed three errors leading to six unearned runs on Saturday, has not been much better. The Orioles will try to provide some better support for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who squares off against Red Sox rookie Henry Owens on Sunday.

TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 4.16 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Henry Owens (3-3, 4.41)

Jimenez helped himself with an RBI single and allowed an unearned run on three hits and five walks in six innings to pick up a win at Washington on Tuesday. The Dominican Republic native has issued at least three walks in four of his last five starts and five of seven. Jimenez walked three against Boston on Sep. 15 and was charged with four runs and six hits in five innings but did not factor in the decision in a game Baltimore went on to win.

Owens was reached for five runs – four earned – and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings in a loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday that dropped him to 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in five home starts. The California native is stronger on the road and had one of the best starts of his brief career at Baltimore on Sep. 16, when he scattered six hits and no walks over 7 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. Owens surrendered three earned runs or fewer in six of his nine major-league starts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr. is 1-for-18 in the last six games and 5-for-55 in the last 17.

2. Orioles CF Adam Jones (back spasms) sat out his fifth straight game on Saturday and remains day-to-day.

3. Baltimore 1B Chris Davis is 0-for-13 with five strikeouts in the last three games.

PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3