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Orioles return home from rough road trip looking to improve on stellar home record

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Orioles return home from rough road trip looking to improve on stellar home record

The Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins open a three-game series Monday at Camden Yards with both teams sitting at or near the top of their divisions.

The Orioles put a 1-6 road trip behind them by taking two of three games against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. The Twins beat the Royals on Friday before splitting a doubleheader on Sunday, which has created some challenges with their starting pitching.

Minnesota will have another tough test against the Orioles, who are 15-4 at Camden Yards this season -- the best home mark in the majors.

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Baltimore, however, had a setback Sunday when third baseman Manny Machado was hit on the hand by a pitch from Toronto reliever Joe Smith in the eighth inning. Machado is expected to have X-rays as a precaution.

"It's always scary for any player," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There's no fake drama after that like you get sometimes and some places. It was what it was. You're not trying to hit him."

Baltimore also placed utility infielder Ryan Flaherty on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation Sunday. To fill the void, the Orioles recalled infielder Paul Janish from Triple-A Norfolk.

Baltimore right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 6.52 ERA) takes the hill in the opener against Minnesota. Jimenez is having another uneven season that has jeopardized his spot in the rotation. He has 29 walks and 23 strikeouts in eight appearances, including seven starts.

Jimenez, however, has been solid against the Twins over his career, going 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 11 appearances. The key for Jimenez is to find some consistency and go deeper into the games to take some of the pressure off the bullpen.

"Quite frankly, it seems like it's that way in all of baseball, all around the league," Showalter said. "Getting to the seventh inning is at an all-time low in Major League Baseball history right now. It's tough. (Jimenez) is capable of better."

Twins manager Paul Molitor had held off naming a starter for the series opener against the Orioles until after the second game Sunday against the Royals. Minnesota played two doubleheaders in four days, putting a strain on the pitching staff.

After the nightcap vs. Kansas City, the Twins announced that Phil Hughes, the Game 1 starter and loser, would be placed on 10-day disabled list due to shoulder discomfort. Hughes allowed five runs in four innings and served up three home runs.

Hughes' injury created a roster spot, so the Twins plan to recall Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) from Triple-A Rochester to start the opener in Baltimore.

"It's very frustrating," Hughes said. "I thought, hopefully, that a lot of this was behind me. So, to have this sprout up again is frustrating. Hopefully, it's a somewhat easy answer and something I can bounce back from."

Hughes was 0-2 despite a 2.92 ERA in two starts for Rochester the past 10 days. He is 1-1 with a 3.58 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles.

Rain is expected in Baltimore on Monday. If there is a postponement, the teams share a mutual off day Thursday.

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

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Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

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NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0