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The Baltimore Orioles have been a much improved team under interim manager Dave Trembley. Erik Bedard and Nick Markakis are two of the biggest reasons why.

Bedard tries to continue his run of dominant pitching Wednesday night when the Orioles conclude a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Few pitchers have been as impressive lately as Bedard (8-4, 3.22 ERA), who is 4-0 in his last five starts and has a 2.19 ERA in 14 outings since the beginning of May.

The left-hander extended his run of scoreless innings to 16 after he went seven Friday in a 2-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out seven to increase his major league-leading total to 156.

Oddsmakers have made Seattle -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 93% of bets for this game have been placed on Seattle -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

"Just throwing a lot of strikes is the key. Throwing the first pitch strike helps a lot," Bedard said.

Bedard has not allowed a run in three of his last four starts, and the Orioles are 5-0 in his last five appearances.

He surrendered three runs and eight hits over six innings at Seattle on June 4, but did not receive a decision. Bedard is 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in five starts against the Mariners.

Seattle's Jose Lopez is 6-for-10 with one home run against Bedard.

Markakis matched a career high with four hits, and Jay Gibbons drove in a season-high five runs in Baltimore's 8-3 victory Tuesday.

Gibbons is batting .212 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 69 games this season.

"I know I haven't done anything," Gibbons said. "I'm a guy who expects to drive in runs and I haven't driven in anybody this year."

The Orioles (42-51), winners of four of five, are 13-11 since Trembley took over on June 18 after going 29-40 under Sam Perlozzo.

With run producers Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora out of the lineup with injuries, Markakis has taken on an increased role in Baltimore's offense.

The second-year outfielder has responded by batting .374 (37-for-99) with 17 RBIs and 15 runs scored in 24 games under Trembley. Markakis leads the team with 56 RBIs, six shy of his total from his 2006 rookie season.

Seattle (52-39) has lost three of five at home after winning nine straight at Safeco Field. The defeat prevented the Mariners from pulling within 1 1-2 games of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.

Jose Vidro had three hits Tuesday, and is 10-for-21 (.476) in his last five games.

Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 3.85) looks to rebound after his personal three-game win streak was snapped in his last outing. Washburn was 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his previous three starts before allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings Friday in a 6-3 loss to Detroit. He walked three and struck out a season-high seven in his first loss since June 17 against Houston.

Washburn had a five-game win streak against the Orioles snapped with a 9-5 loss at Safeco Field on June 6. He is 6-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts against them.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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