August 11, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop gets a chance to face his favorite pitcher Sunday when the San Francisco Giants send right-hander Johnny Cueto to the mound in the finale of a three-game interleague series.

Schoop had never faced Cueto in his career before they hooked up twice over the course of 19 days in August and September last season.

Suffice it to say, it's a five at-bat stretch the 24-year-old will never forget.

Schoop belted three homers and a single in those two games, leading the Orioles to 8-5 and 8-2 wins over Cueto and his team at the time, the Kansas City Royals.

The three homers were one-fifth of Schoop's entire season total of 15, and were three of the seven the Orioles smacked off Cueto in 11 1/3 innings.

Cueto is the only pitcher against whom Schoop has as many as three homers in his career.

Cueto, meanwhile, has allowed more than three career home runs to only three players -- Aramis Ramirez (six in 50 at-bats), Andrew McCutchen (four in 75) and Alfonso Soriano (four in 46).

Schoop, a fourth-year Oriole, has pounded out 17 home runs already this season. But more than anything else, he's known for his consistency.

Schoop played all nine innings in Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Giants. He is the only major-leaguer to have played every inning of every one of his team's games this season.

Schoop has started 116 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in the majors. Only Cueto's former teammate, Alcides Escobar of the Royals, has started more consecutive games (125).

Chris Davis (two), Manny Machado and Adam Jones added to Cueto's miseries with homers last season. The veteran right-hander walked away from those two starts with a 10.32 ERA in his only two career starts against the Orioles.

Cueto might not have to worry about Jones on Sunday. The veteran outfielder injured a finger on a bunt attempt in Saturday's loss and was last seen icing it after the game.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was concerned to the point of telling reporters, "We're pretty thin if we lose Adam. Basically, we have Adam or Adam (to play center field)."

Cueto has made 27 other interleague starts and has ranked among baseball's best in those games. He's gone 14-4 with a 2.08 ERA in those games.

Even counting the Baltimore debacles, Cueto has logged a 2.59 ERA in interleague games, the best among all active pitchers who have made more than 27 such starts.

Cueto has made just one interleague start this season. He did not allow an earned run over six innings in a 2-1 win over the New York Yankees.

The Orioles will counter with left-hander Wade Miley, who will be making his 22nd interleague start. He's gone 9-5 with a 5.27 in his first 21.

A former member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miley will be facing the Giants for the 11th time in his career. He's gone 4-4 with a 3.23 ERA in those games.

Miley hasn't faced the Giants since 2014, when he went 3-1 in four starts against the National League West rival.

He will be facing a team coming off what manager Bruce Bochy considered to be a crucial win on Saturday night.

"Good bounce-back for us," said Bochy, whose club lost the series opener 5-2. "We needed a win tonight."

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