The Baltimore Orioles boast the second-best record in the majors due in large part to their recent hot stretch and their scintillating play on the road this season
The Orioles have won 12 of their last 15 games overall and are 31-18 away from home on the season. They'll look to continue their good fortune on Monday when they play the opener of a three-game series against the host Philadelphia Phillies
Gunnar Henderson belted a two-run homer and Ryan O'Hearn also went deep on Sunday as Baltimore recorded a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Orioles took three of four from the Rays to seize a two-game lead in the American League East
"Tough place to play, trouble playing here in the past, and we just played four really good games against a really good team," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. "Just really proud of all of our guys' efforts. ... Everybody contributed. We did a lot of things well this series, and hopefully, we can keep it rolling."
Although they insist that they are focused on the present, several Orioles admitted that this past series against the Rays felt like it was built for October
"For some of the guys who don't have playoff experience, like myself, it felt like a playoff game," Henderson said. "Getting a sense of what it would feel like is just going to help us down the road."
Monday's scheduled starter Dean Kremer (10-4, 4.80 ERA) has had a hand in the Orioles' success this season. The right-hander is looking to become the AL's fourth 11-game winner, joining Tampa Bay's Shane McClanahan and Zach Eflin as well as Texas Rangers righty Nathan Eovaldi
Kremer, 27, was unsuccessful in his initial bid for his 11th win on Wednesday. He was fortunate to walk away with a no-decision after allowing five runs on four hits -- including two homers -- and four walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kremer has yet to face the Phillies in his career
Kremer will have to contend with star Bryce Harper, who drove in two runs and scored twice during Philadelphia's 8-5, 10-inning victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday. Harper also turned in a pair of defensive gems in the fourth inning and an unassisted double play in the fifth.
"It's hard to tell Bryce Harper to take it easy. It really is," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said of Harper, who is manning first base as his arm fully recovers from elbow surgery. "He's going to be on fire all the time. You're really wasting your breath if it came up.
Trea Turner and Brandon Marsh each had two hits to help Philadelphia snap a four-game losing skid.
Phillies left-hander Cristopher Sanchez (0-3, 3.06) will oppose Kremer on Monday
Sanchez, 26, has pitched well but has yet to record his first victory of the season. He allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings of a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
Sanchez has yet to tangle with the Orioles in his career
--Field Level Media