O’s game blog: It’s Chen against Nolasco today at Camden Yards

Hosting the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards, the Orioles look for their 79th win of the season here this afternoon. They are currently 5-1 in the middle of an 11-game homestand.

After last night’s 3-2 win, the Orioles are 27-19 in one-run games including a 16-6 mark at home. Five of the last seven Orioles games have been decided by two runs or fewer.

Darren O’Day pitched a scoreless eighth inning last night on just 10 pitches. O’Day has allowed one earned run over his last 27 games, pitching to a 0.30 ERA in 30 innings with eight walks and 36 strikeouts in that span, including 12 straight scoreless outings.

At the start of this series, Minnesota ranked fifth in the American League in runs scored and OBP and fourth in OPS.

In the first two games, Orioles pitchers have held the Twins to three runs on 14 hits with four walks and 21 strikeouts over 18 innings.

The Twins made a roster move today. They selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Aaron Thompson from Triple-A Rochester. Thompson is 3-3 with a 3.98 ERA with the Red Wings this season. The 27-year-old, who was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, signed with the Twins as a minor league free agent prior to the 2012 season.

Wei-Yin Chen (13-4, 3.76 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles today against right-hander Ricky Nolasco (5-9, 5.62 ERA).

In seven starts since the All-Star break, Chen is 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA and .237 batting average against. In 44 1/3 innings, he has walked 10 and fanned 34.

Nolasco pitched seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball on Tuesday in his last start against Kansas City. But in the three starts before that, he gave up 15 earned runs over 14 2/3 innings. In 11 road starts for the Twins, he is 2-4 with a 6.50 ERA.

At 78-56, the Orioles are a season-high 22 games over .500 and lead the American League East by eight games over the Yankees. The Orioles are 9-4 in their last 13 games and are 20-6 in their last 26 home games.

In the minors: The Single-A Frederick Keys are tied for the Wild Card playoff spot in their division with two days and three games left in their regular season. Frederick plays a doubleheader today and single game Monday. They are tied with Lynchburg in the Carolina League’s Northern Division.

If the Keys do make the playoffs, they will face Potomac in a best-of-three series that will begin on Wednesday night. Potomac, by virtue of winning both halves, would host all three games of that series.

Meanwhile, Single-A Delmarva’s Chance Sisco is leading the South Atlantic League batting title with two days left in the season. Sisco is batting .338 while Lakewood’s Willians Atudillo is at .337.

Last night, Sisco was a single away from hitting for the cycle. He actually got a double, triple and homer and then was robbed of a single on a diving catch in his last at-bat.

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