Athletics-Orioles Preview

The Baltimore Orioles are hitting the ball hard lately, and Adam Jones is a big part of that.

Jones goes for another impressive offensive display as the Orioles attempt to beat the AL-leading Oakland Athletics again in the finale of this three-game set Sunday.

Baltimore (31-29) is batting .308 with 13 homers while averaging 6.0 runs during a 5-2 stretch. The Orioles had seven hits Saturday, but two were homers and four went for extra bases to power a 6-3 win over Oakland (38-24).

They've hit two homers in each of the past six games.

Jones is batting .352 in 16 games, while going 11 for 23 with three homes, eight RBIs and five runs over the past five. He had two hits and two RBIs Saturday, including a solo shot in the opening inning.

The center fielder, though, is 1 for 7 versus A's starter Scott Kazmir, but Nick Markakis is 10 for 24 (.417) with two homers.

Like Jones, Markakis is swinging a hot bat, hitting .373 in 12 games after getting an RBI single Saturday. He had two hits in the series opener, but was thrown out at the plate in the 10th inning before Baltimore fell 4-3 in the 11th.

Kazmir (6-2, 2.40 ERA) will try to quiet the Orioles' bats with another strong performance.

The left-hander allowed two runs with a season-high 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings while not getting a decision in a 5-2 road win over the New York Yankees. That came six days after he tossed a six-hitter in a 3-1 win over Detroit.

"He's been as consistent as anyone all season," manager Bob Melvin told the team's official website. "Really, all year, you couldn't ask for more."

Kazmir didn't get a decision in his last visit to Camden Yards on June 26, but he was superb while yielding an unearned run and one hit in seven innings of a 4-3 win with Cleveland.

The A's may be without Coco Crisp, who is hampered by a neck injury that has kept him out of the lineup in three of the past seven games. The injury hasn't slowed the center fielder, who finished a triple shy of the cycle Saturday, and owns a .385 average during an 11-game hitting streak.

Baltimore is sending Ubaldo Jimenez (2-6, 4.39) to the mound, and he's 0-4 with a 5.72 ERA in five home starts. He was hammered in his latest outing there May 24, surrendering five runs with five walks in four innings of a 9-0 defeat to Cleveland.

He's since followed that up with a pair of solid outings on the road, allowing two runs with 13 strikeouts and seven walks in 11 2/3 innings. However, he didn't get a decision since he was backed by three total runs.

Poor run support has been an issue for Jimenez lately, as he's 0-2 with a 3.90 ERA in his last five starts while the offense has backed him with seven total runs.

Jimenez has won three straight starts against Oakland behind a 2.60 ERA, but they all came with the Indians.

He's struggled facing Yoenis Cespedes, who is 3 for 6 with a homer off him. The left fielder is also 10 for 30 with three homers and eight RBIs over the past eight games.