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MILWAUKEE — A little more than five years after he received a $500 bonus after signing as a non-drafted free agent out of Baylor University [url=http://www.officialcoyotes.com/authentic-adidas-clayton-keller-jersey]Adidas Clayton Keller Jersey[/url] , Nate Orf is finally in the big leagues.

The Milwaukee Brewers selected Orf’s contract Monday from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was batting .307 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. Those numbers landed him a spot in the Pacific Coast League’s All-Star team but also fueled a social media movement — #FreeNateOrf — amongst Brewers fans wanting the 28-year-old to get his shot.

“This is the day you put all the work in for,” Orf said. “I signed for $500. This is why I signed for $500, to grind out as long as I needed to have this day come.””

Orf made his debut Monday night in Milwaukee’s 6-5 victory over the Twins and will likely be in the lineup against Tuesday afternoon as the Brewers continue their three-game holiday series at Miller Park.

“He’s a good player. He’s a very good hitter,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He has earned this.”

The Brewers are hoping Orf can provide a spark at a position that’s been an offensive liability all season. Though Jonathan Villar has shown improvement after a dismal 2017 campaign, Brewers’ second basemen are seventh in the NL with a .676 OPS this season, ninth with a .252 average and .299 on-base percentage.

Orf will also see time at shortstop, where Orlando Arcia had struggled to get into a rhythm since opening day and was demoted to Triple-A for the second time this season over the weekend.

“I still firmly believe that Orlando Arcia is going to be a very, very good player in this league for a long time,” general manager David Stearns said. “We have continued to see the defensive contributions he makes on a daily basis but we need to do better offensively.

“At this stage of the year, Orlando was not the type of offensive player we needed. I think we all bear some responsibility for that. As an organization [url=http://www.officialbruinsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-patrice-bergeron-jersey]Adidas Patrice Bergeron Jersey[/url] , we need to help Orlando get through this.”

Looking to snap a three-game losing streak, the Brewers will turn to Junior Guerra on Tuesday. The right-hander won for the first time since May 14 his last time out despite allowing four runs over six innings against the Reds.

He struck out six in that outing and has 20 over his last three starts.

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi takes the mound for Minnesota hoping to build some momentum after getting back on track with six shutout innings of the White Sox in his last outing.

Odorizzi had a 3.34 ERA and was averaging nearly a strikeout per inning over his first 11 starts but stumbled mightily at the end of May, kick off a five-stark skid that saw him post a 9.74 ERA over the five stars leading up to his appearance in Chicago.

Extra work in the video room revealed a slight flaw in his delivery and during a bullpen session ahead of his last start, he worked on getting back to his normal mechanics.

“Pitching through a (back) injury last year created bad habits,” Odorizzi told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It you do it for long enough, it creates an even worse habit, even when you’re healthy. Muscle memory takes over.”

Tuesday will mark Odorizzi’s third career start against the team that selected him in the first round (32nds overall) of the 2008 MLB Draft but the first time he’ll pitch at Miller Park.

He’s 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his two previous starts against Milwaukee and held the Brewers to a run on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out 10 back on May 20, but did not factor into the decision.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays continue to win games they perhaps shouldn’t, and they’ll have an opportunity for more of that Saturday against Houston’s Justin Verlander.

The Rays (40-41) hit the midway point of their 2018 season with a 3-2 win over Houston, giving them six wins in their last seven games. Their pitching has led the way — three times in the last four games [url=http://www.officialbruinsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-tuukka-rask-jersey]Adidas Tuukka Rask Jersey[/url] , they have held their opponent to three hits or less, this after doing so only three times in the first 77 games of this season.

“If we are going to win a lot of game and we are going to string a bunch together, we have to have good pitching,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The timely hitting is great, but we have to stay in the ballgame. For us to have allowed three runs in 18 innings against arguably the best team in baseball, we should find a way to win one.”

Houston will send Verlander, who has been dominant (9-3, 1.82 ERA) but has gotten surprisingly little run support from a potent Astros lineup.

Houston is just 11-7 in games he starts, and the Astros have scored a total of two runs in five of those losses.

So Saturday could look like Thursday’s 1-0 Astros win, or could look like Friday’s 3-2 loss, which saw two errors factor in Tampa Bay’s scoring.

Verlander faced the Rays just 11 days ago in Houston [url=http://www.officialbruinsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-brad-marchand-jersey]Adidas Brad Marchand Jersey[/url] , again pitching well, allowing one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, but ultimately taking a no-decision in a 2-1 loss. He has 136 strikeouts in 113 innings this season and a ridiculous 0.81 WHIP.

Against the Rays for his career, Verlander is 8-3 with a 3.18 ERA, but since 2010, he’s just 4-3, despite a 1.72 ERA in his last five starts against the Rays. At Tropicana Field, he’s 5-2 all-time with a 2.53 ERA, including a 1.20 ERA in his last two outings.

The Rays counter with reliever-turned-starter Ryne Stanek, who has thrived in the “opener” role that Tampa Bay has essentially created in the past six weeks. He’s starting for the second time in three days against the Astros having thrown 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, hitless baseball Thursday night. For the month of June [url=http://www.officialbruinsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-david-pastrnak-jersey]Adidas David Pastrnak Jersey[/url] , he’s pitched in 11 games and 14 2/3 innings without allowing a run.

He’s held opponents to just four hits, lowering his season ERA to 1.85, just barely above Verlander’s.

The Astros know they have to be careful with the white ceiling of Tropicana Field — the Rays’ three-run fourth inning got a spark Friday when center fielder Jake Marisnick couldn’t hold onto a pop at the warning track, allowing a run to score.

“When you play here, you try to not take your eye off the ball,” Marisnick said. “With the ceiling, I kind of glanced quickly at the ball, then looked back up and lost track. I wasn’t able to come up with it. That’s a play I need to make 10 out of 10 times.”

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