The recently-streaky Orioles offense will try to stay hot on Tuesday when Baltimore takes on the Rays in the second of four games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
After totaling just four runs in a three-game sweep by the lowly Cubs over the weekend, the Orioles erupted for five home runs in a 9-1 rout of Tampa Bay in Monday's series opener. Those five home runs came on back-to-back-to-back shots by Delmon Young, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis and back-to-back homers by Steve Pearce and Nick Markakis.
While such offensive outpourings are welcome for the American League East leaders, streakiness isn't, manager Buck Showalter said.
"It happens a lot where there's a snowballing," Showalter said. "But it's just an atmosphere thing. Things that kind of snowball positively can also snowball the other way. You're always trying to shorten that."
The Rays, meanwhile, need to get back in the series, as they sit in fourth place in the AL East, 11 games back of the O's after Monday.
They hope Alex Cobb, who takes the mound Tuesday opposite Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen, will be the man to do that.
Cobb has allowed two runs or fewer in eight straight starts, a franchise record and the second-longest such streak in the Majors this season behind Mariners ace Felix Hernandez's 17-game run. He recently handed David Price a 1-0 loss in Price's return to Tropicana Field with the Tigers even though Price threw a one-hitter and allowed just a single unearned run.
The right-hander knows he'll have his work cut out for him again against Baltimore.
"It's such a powerhouse lineup all the way top to bottom," Cobb said. "And they've been obviously separating themselves from the rest of the pack in the AL East. And that's not easy to do."
The Orioles will be sending Chen, who has looked good over his last few starts. The left-hander has a 3-1 record and a 2.34 ERA over his last five outings. However, in his last start against the Rays on June 28, Chen allowed five earned runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings.
Orioles: Machado preparing for surgery, rehab
Later this week, Manny Machado will depart for Los Angeles. As of now, surgery on the medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee is scheduled for Wednesday and his rehab will begin shortly after that. And Machado may not be back in Baltimore until the postseason.
The third baseman has a rough outline for his rehab and it doesn't involve much time around Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He will spend the first 2-3 weeks of his rehabilitation in Los Angeles. When that's over, the O's will be just about ready to ship off on a road trip that spans the final week of the regular season. Machado won't be ready to travel yet, so he'll head down to Sarasota, Fla., only to return to Baltimore if the Orioles reach the playoffs.
"I want to come back up here," Machado said on Monday. "I want to be part of the celebration. I want to be part of this special thing that we've got going on here, so I'm going to try to make the effort to be here if I can."
Rays: Maddon speaks with Escobar amid trade rumors
Rumors of Yunel Escobar's departure via a trade seem to be premature, at least according to Rays manager Joe Maddon.
According to multiple reports over the weekend, the Athletics claimed Escobar, which would have meant the two teams had until Tuesday afternoon to come to an agreement about making a trade or not.
Due to those reports, Maddon spoke to Escobar on Monday to discuss the situation, ostensibly to ease the mind of the Rays' starting shortstop.
"I called him in," Maddon said. "I knew he was upset. It was obvious.
"...I told him [Rays executive vice president of baseball operations] Andrew [Friedman] and I spoke about it and I was able to tell him that we're very, very pleased with what he's doing. We can see him continuing to get better with us. To not be worried about anything happening."
• Hardy was also part of the last trio to hit back-to-back-to-back homers for Baltimore -- he did it with Markakis and Ryan Flaherty on May 10, 2012.
• The Orioles will add Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin to their coaching staff as part of September callups, Showalter said on Monday.
• Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan and outfielder David DeJesus each had the night off in their continued rehab stints. Maddon said Hanigan could return to the team as early as Tuesday.
• Monday was Wil Myers' first strikeout-free game for the Rays since returning from the disabled list. Myers struck out 10 times in his first five games back, nine times looking.
"That's a lot of K's," he said.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.