Tracking the O's hitters versus Jeff Francis

Here is a pretty surprising stat.

The four hitters batting second through fifth for the Orioles tonight - Nick Markakis, Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Reynolds - are a combined 21-for-41 in their careers at gametime against Jeff Francis, who is starting for the Royals tonight.

The rundown:
Markakis is 2-for-3 with a homer
Lee is 7-for-12 with a homer
Vlad is 3-for-4 with two doubles
Reynolds is 9-for-22 with two doubles

So, of course, that foursome went 0-for-4 the first time through tonight.

Francis, who is 0-3 with an ERA of 5.03, has really been hit hard his previous two starts against Texas and Cleveland. He gave up 19 hits and 12 runs, 10 earned, over seven innings. Those teams batted .475 (19-for-40) against the lefty in those two games. The Royals are 1-5 when Francis starts this year and the Orioles are 0-4 in Brad Bergesen's starts.

The Orioles have a record of 48-23 versus KC, including a mark of 26-12 at Kauffman Stadium since the start of the 2001 season. KC went 4-2 against the Orioles last year with five of those games decided by one run.

The Orioles have won five-of-seven and are 7-5 over their past 12 games. They are looking for the season's 14th win tonight and didn't get number 14 last season until May 21st.

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