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KC@SEA: Beavan throws 6 2/3 strong to earn sixth win

If recent trends are any indication of what to look for when the Orioles and Mariners continue their three-game series at Camden Yards on Tuesday night, it's strong pitching.

Baltimore extedned its scoreless-innings streak to a season-best 28 innings in Monday's 3-1 victory, before Seattle broke through with a run in the eighth.

The Orioles extended their winning streak to three in the process, two of which have been shutouts, as right-hander Chris Tillman took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning. The club has allowed just three runs in their past four games combined.

Seattle has been no slouch in the pitching department, either.

The Mariners, 15-9 since the break, entered Monday contest with the second-best team ERA in the Majors since the All-Star break at 2.98, and were tops in July with a mark of 2.73 -- the lowest ERA in any month in club history.

Blake Beavan will look to continue his recent surge and get the Mariners, losers of two straight, back in the win column.

The 23-year-old has lasted into the seventh inning in three consecutive starts, and is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA over that stretch.

It will be Beavan's first career start against the Orioles -- the only team in the American League he has yet to face in his career.

"For me, when I face a new team, the key is always just going right after them," said Beavan, a winner in four consecutive decisions. "Obviously you're going to make adjustments when you need to, but the first time through you just try to get a feel for what their plan is at the plate. Until then, you're going in blind and relying on your catcher to know these guys a little bit more."

Beavan gets a pesky Orioles team that won't go away in the Wild Card race and will be matched up against left-hander Zach Britton.

While Britton hasn't beeen pitching as strongly as the rest of his teammates, sporting an 8.35 ERA over four starts this season, he turned in the best outing of his career in a no-decision against the Mariners last year; the only time he has faced them.

Britton went a career-high nine innings and didn't allow a baserunner past first in that contest, but is coming off his shortest start of the season.

The 24-year-old lasted 2 2/3 innings and surrendered seven runs to the Yankees to take his first loss of the year. Following the outing, Britton and manager Buck Showalter both agreed it was time for him to become more aggressive, and Britton took it a step further.

"I understand what I have to do to be at this level, and I'm not getting it done right now," Britton said. "So, I got to either do something, or somebody else is going to come up and find a way to do the job. And that's the way it should be. And I understand that."

The Orioles improved to 13-11 since the All-Star break, have won five of their past seven games and sit second in the American League East.

Orioles: Markakis surging in leadoff spot
Right fielder Nick Markakis has found a new home at the top of the Orioles' lineup.

Since returning from the disabled list after undergoing surgery in late May to remove a broken portion of the hamate bone in his right wrist, Markakis has been moved to the top of the order and has been on a tear.

Over 24 games, the only times he has hit first in his career, Markakis is batting .346, with three homers, nine RBIs and 18 runs scored. He was at it again in the series opener, blasting a two-run homer, his 11th of the year, in the second inning.

Markakis also recorded his sixth multi-hit effort in his past 11 games to raise his average to .287 on the year. It was .256 at the time he was forced to the DL.

• Jim Thome will be sidelined for at least four weeks after being diagnosed with a herniated disk.

The slugger had an MRI on Tuesday which revealed the severity of the injury, but hopes to return at some point in September.

"The big thing is, as I said, you've got to have a good mental outlook on things," Thome said. "We have the month of September. Will it be all of September? I don't know. Again, it's hard to pinpoint a date, a month, a time and all of that."

Thome, who had an epidural shot in his neck on Thursday, has been told by doctors not to do any baseball activity for 30 days.

Mariners: Ryan eyeing Tuesday return
Brendan Ryan missed his second consecutive game with a bruised left elbow, but is hopeful he can return to the lineup on Tuesday.

Ryan was forced to leave Saturday's contest against the Yankees after being hit by a pitch from New York starter Hiroki Kuroda.

"I'm going to try to play [Tuesday]," Ryan said. "I would imagine if it improved this much, then each day it should be twice as good. Unless it doesn't get better at all, I'm pretty sure I'll be in there."

The shortstop has raised his average to .204 on the season after hitting .274 over his past 40 games.

• Mike Carp was back in Monday's lineup after missing Sunday's series finale against the Yankees to attend the birth of his daughter.

He went 1-for-4 and was responsible for busting up Tillman's no-hitter with a single in the fifth.

• Jesus Montero will be happy to see Orioles' lefty Britton on the mound Tuesday.

Montero is batting .359 against left-handers this season -- the fifth-best mark in the AL -- with a .979 OPS. The 22-year-old is 1-for-2 lifetime against Britton with a pair of RBIs.

Worth noting
The Orioles are the only team in the Majors with a winning record that has allowed more runs than they have scored this season. Baltimore has a run differential of -55, while the Mariners, who sit last place in the AL West and nine games under .500, are just -5. Comments