MLB

Rangers-Orioles Preview

After coming up short on their first attempt, the Texas Rangers should feel confident about clinching their first series win over the Baltimore Orioles in three years.

Red-hot Yovani Gallardo takes the mound in the finale Thursday night looking to extend the majors' longest active shutout streak and help the Rangers take three of four at Camden Yards.

Texas (40-39) put up a combined 16 runs and 26 hits in winning the first two games of this series before Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen held the club to two runs and four hits in Wednesday's 4-2 win.

The Rangers, however, might not need a big effort at the plate to wrap up their first series win over the AL East-leading Orioles (42-36) since August 2012. They had lost 11 of 12 meetings prior to this series.

Gallardo has gone 4-0 with an MLB-best 0.99 ERA in seven starts since May 24. He hasn't surrendered a home run over that span, holding the opposition to five hits or fewer in each of those outings.

The right-hander carries a career-high 23 1-3-inning scoreless streak into this game after limiting Toronto - averaging a baseball-best 5.37 runs - to three hits over 8 1-3 innings in Saturday's 4-0 road win. It's the first time he's had three straight scoreless starts since September 2007 while with Milwaukee.

His streak, which spans over parts of four starts, is the longest run by a Rangers starter since Martin Perez had a 26-inning run in April 2014.

"Every pitch, he throws where he wants to. It's hard to put a good swing on it when you locate a pitch like he does," catcher Robinson Chirinos told MLB's official website. "He moves the ball in when he has to, throws breaking balls when he needs to."

In his only start against the Orioles, Gallardo (7-6, 2.72 ERA) surrendered three runs and four hits while walking five over 6 2-3 innings in an 8-3 home win May 28, 2014.

Travis Snider is 3 for 14 when facing Gallardo, Steve Pearce is 2 for 14 with a home run and Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado are a combined 0 for 9.

The Orioles have hit .288 with 35 home runs while averaging 6.1 runs over their past 21 games. Jimmy Paredes and J.J. Hardy both homered and knocked in two runs Wednesday.

Kevin Gausman (1-0, 4.24) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A to make his second start in 10 appearances this season. He allowed two runs and four hits over five innings in a 5-3 win at Toronto on June 20.

The right-hander gave up two runs, two hits and walked two in 1 2-3 innings of relief the only time he faced Texas in an 8-4 home loss in July 2013. Prince Fielder has a home run in two at-bats off Gausman, but he's 2 for 13 in this series after entering with an AL-best .351 average.

Shin-Soo Choo homered for the third straight game Wednesday and is trying to become the first Rangers player to go deep in four consecutive contests since Mike Napoli in 2012.

Josh Hamilton, hitting .390 with 10 home runs in his last 17 games at Camden, is expected to play after resting Wednesday. He returned from a 26-game absence due to a strained left hamstring Tuesday.

Baltimore, seeking a 5-2 homestand, designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment Wednesday.

''We've got good quality people and you reach a point where you can't keep them all,'' manager Buck Showalter said.

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