Pearce replaces Markakis in right field (and notes)

With Nick Markakis away from the team for the next two games, Steve Pearce is starting in right field tonight against the Houston Astros.

J.J. Hardy moves up to third in the order, as manager Buck Showalter breaks out his right-handed lineup. Danny Valencia is serving as the designated hitter, and Alexi Casilla is starting at second base.

For the Orioles
Nate McLouth LF
Manny Machado 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Danny Valencia DH
Steve Pearce RF
Alexi Casilla 2B

Freddy Garcia RHP

For the Astros
Brandon Barnes CF
Jose Altuve 2B
Jason Castro DH
J.D. Martinez LF
Carlos Corporan C
Carlos Pena 1B
Trevor Crowe RF
Matt Dominguez 3B
Marwin Gonzalez SS

Dallas Keuchel LHP

Over the last calendar year since June 5, 2012, Davis has homered every 12.39 at-bats to lead the majors, and his 44 home runs are second to Miguel Cabrera's 50, according to STATS. He's also recorded a .593 slugging percentage that's second in the majors to Cabrera's .652, posted a .949 OPS that's fourth-best in the majors and has driven in 114 runs that's fifth-best - for a minimum of 502 plate appearances.

Over his last 18 games since April 12, reliever Tommy Hunter is 3-0 with a save and a 0.95 ERA in 28 1/3 innings, with five walks and 21 strikeouts.

The Orioles are on pace to strike out 1,047 times in 2013, which would be 268 fewer than in 2012.

The Orioles are 8-4 against the American League West, with all 12 of those games being played on the road. They have 21 games left against the West, with just five coming on the road. They've posted a winning record against the West just once since the start of the 2004 season, when they went 18-17 in 2010.

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