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08/21/10 2:41 PM ET

Birds aim to evade Hunter, fly off with victory

With the Orioles showing Cliff Lee and the Rangers that they can slug it out with the best of them Saturday, the Buck Showalter-led Birds continue to make a statement down the stretch.

The Orioles improved to 13-4 under Showalter as they head into Sunday with a chance to win the four-game series against one of the American League's strongest teams this season.

When Tommy Hunter takes the mound for the Rangers in the finale at Camden Yards against veteran Kevin Millwood, he knows he'll be facing a club that might have a little more aggressiveness than it did the last time he saw it.

"You're definitely going to see that with a new manager. Guys are going to want to go out and play for a new guy," said Hunter, who had a no-decision in six innings July 8 vs. Baltimore. "But I'm not going to change my game plan. I'm going to go out there and pound the zone and make them swing the bats."

Hunter is coming off back-to-back outings in which he lasted only three innings, first due to a stomach bug against Boston and then to being roughed up by the Rays in his last outing. Pitching on three days' rest following his abbreviated outing, he allowed four runs on six hits and three walks vs. the Rays, his third start in his last four he hasn't made it more than three innings.

Which of course leaves a simple goal for Hunter going into this one: "Hopefully last longer than three innings."

Millwood, meanwhile, is looking for his first victory since June 24, a span of eight starts since his last one. The former Rangers right-hander has righted his ship the last three starts, but he hasn't been rewarded with a victory despite allowing one run in eight innings against the Mariners his last time out.

Rangers: Andrus keeps streak going
Shortstop Elvis Andrus went 1-for-5 Saturday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, his third hitting streak of 10 or more games this season. With a 25-for-79 surge over his past 16 contests has bumped his average from .268 to .276, Andrus has shown the ability to recover from slumps. "You go through ups and downs over the course of a season," said manager Ron Washington. "He's a grinder. It's nice to see him starting to get some hits because that builds confidence -- and we all need confidence."

Orioles: Markakis eyes another double milestone
Right fielder Nick Markakis picked up a single Saturday but remains one double away from his fourth consecutive 40-double season, which would surpass the three Brian Roberts also currently has -- Roberts has just seven this season. Markakis stroked his 200th double Monday night and needs just 19 to enter the Orioles' all-time top 10, headed by Cal Ripken Jr. with 603. Markakis had a three-hit game Monday but remains in a 7-for-36 skid. ... The Orioles have scored four or more runs in 10 of Millwood's first 24 starts.

Worth noting
At 12-8, the Orioles are on pace to post their first winning month since June 2008, and their first winning August since 1997, when they went 18-10.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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