The Baltimore Orioles find themselves with consecutive losses for the first time since late June.
Their most recent three-game skid extends back another month.They'll try to get their offense going for the first time in this series Sunday and prevent the Cleveland Indians from completing a three-game sweep.Baltimore (69-52) came to Progressive Field having gone 27-11 since last losing two straight June 28-29 to open a season-high 7 1/2-game lead in the AL East.An offense that averaged 8.2 runs, batted .341 and hit 14 homers during a 4-1 stretch was cooled by Cleveland ace Corey Kluber in a 2-1, 11-inning loss Friday.Carlos Carrasco kept Baltimore's offense in check again Saturday, tossing three-hit ball over seven innings and got all the support he needed from Carlos Santana's first-inning, three-run homer in a 6-0 victory.Michael Brantley added a two-run shot for the Indians (62-60), who have allowed five runs while winning five of six to get within five games of AL Central-leading Kansas City.Cleveland is 55-24 all-time against Baltimore at Progressive Field, its best record against any strictly AL team in the ballpark's history.The Orioles, who haven't dropped three in a row since a four-game skid May 27-30, had their streak of eight consecutive series wins snapped. They suffered their only three-game sweep this season to Detroit from May 12-14.Baltimore is 9-16 versus the AL Central and 60-36 against all other opponents.Slugger Chris Davis is 0 for 8 with five strikeouts in this series, dropping his average to .191. He's 7 for 56 (.125) with 27 strikeouts over his past 17 games."This hasn't been the greatest year as far as I'm concerned, but we've done a lot of positive things. We are still in first place," Davis told MLB's official website. "So I'll go out there and continue to try to put good at-bats together and be as productive as I can."Carrasco continued a brilliant run by Indians starters, a group that has allowed three runs over 39 innings (0.69 ERA) during a six-game stretch while walking five and striking out 42.Cleveland hopes Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.88 ERA) can come close to continuing that run when he makes his first start since Aug. 6. He was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 7 one day after allowing five runs -- all on two homers -- over four innings in an 8-3 loss at Cincinnati.The right-hander held Lehigh Valley to one earned run on five hits over seven innings Tuesday, striking out nine without a walk.Salazar, who has never faced any member of the Orioles, is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA in his last four big league starts.Kevin Gausman (6-4, 3.90) makes his first career start against the Indians. The right-hander hasn't been sharp lately, going 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in his last three starts. That stretch comes after he limited opponents to one run in three of his previous four outings.Gausman failed in a bid to win three consecutive starts for the second time this season, allowing three runs and eight hits over five innings in an 8-3 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.He took the loss in his only appearance against Cleveland, yielding two runs and three hits over 2 2/3 innings of relief Sept. 4.