Sunday baseball: O's at Chicago

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Orioles (40-50) at Chicago (47-43)

After ending the first half on a positive note, with two straight series wins, the O's have begun the second half with two straight losses.

They need a win today at 2:05 p.m. to avoid being swept three straight by the White Sox.

Jeremy Guthrie (6-8, 5.35) pitches for the Orioles vs. Chicago's Jose Contreras (4-7, 4.54).

The O's have been swept three straight four times this season, all on the road. They were swept by Toronto, the Yankees, Oakland and Florida. In April, they lost four straight in a series at Boston.

The O's have out-hit the Sox in each of the first two games of the series. The Birds have 26 hits in the series, 10 are doubles and a team average of .325.

The O's have hit 16 doubles over the last four games.

The O's won six of their last nine series before the All-Star break, but have lost this one at U.S. Cellular Field.

Chicago posted a 12-8 win Friday as Jim Thome homered twice and knocked in seven runs. Saturday, a Ty Wigginton error in the 5th opened the door as the Sox scored four runs to post a 4-3 win.

The top three in the O's order have had a solid weekend. Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones have combined to go 12 for 28 with two homers and 6 RBI along with three doubles and seven runs.

When Jose Contreras starts today it will end a stretch where the Orioles faced nine straight left-handed starters. That tied a Major League record last set by the Yankees in July of 1980.

The Orioles faced nine straight lefties from August 9-20, 1955. The Birds went 4-5 in this stretch and are 17-19 vs. lefties on the year.

The surging White Sox have moved to within a game and a half of first-place Detroit, the closest they've have been to the top spot since May 3rd.

While they are 3-3 over the last six games, the Sox are 14-6 over the last 20 games and 19-9 over the last 28.

Over the last 20 games, Chicago's team batting average is .315 and they are scoring 6.6 runs per game during that time.

Chicago is 8-3 over its last 11 home games and has hit 23 homers in those games.

The Sox, who are 7-9 this year vs. AL East opponents, lead the season series 3-2 with the Orioles. Chicago is 44-29 vs. Baltimore since the 2000 season.

O's hitters recently:
Andino: 1 for 18 at bat
Huff: 5 for 37 the last nine games
Izturis: Is 3 for 13 since coming off DL
Jones: Batting .326, 6 RBI his last 11 games
Markakis: Is 4 for 10 this series, 10 doubles last 19 games
Mora: Is 4 for 8, two doubles this series
Pie: Is 7 for 17 during 5-game hit streak
Reimold: Is 4 for 8, two doubles in series
Roberts: Is 8 for 17 during 4-game hit streak
Salazar: Has six hits his last 13 at bats
Scott: Is 0-6 since 11-game hit streak ended
Wieters: Is 2 for 23 over six games
Wigginton: Batting .359 his last 20 games
Zaun: Is 11 for 25 at bat

Some hot Sox hitters:
Beckham: Batting .403-2-13 over 18 games
Konerko: Hitting .392-5-15 over 13 games
Thome: 14 RBI over four games, 8-game hit streak
Dye: Batting .410-6-19 over 21 games

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