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BAL@SD: Norris allows just one run over six innings

Playing on the road has been a challenge all season for the Rockies, who went 1-9 on their last trip to fall to 21-38 away from Coors Field. The club is hoping its current 10-game East Coast swing will be a more enjoyable experience, and it took the first step on Friday night.

A 6-3 win over the Orioles broke the Rockies' five-game road losing streak and set them up to go for a series victory on Saturday night at Camden Yards. Colorado, which has won six of its last seven, can deal another blow to the playoff hopes of slumping Baltimore.

The Orioles, who began a nine-game homestand on Friday, have lost four in a row as they try to erase deficits in the American League East and the AL Wild Card race.

On Saturday, they will turn to Bud Norris (8-10, 3.83 ERA), who is making his fifth appearance and fourth start since arriving via trade. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA for Baltimore, racking up 16 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings.

Norris had to help out the bullpen on Wednesday, when he made his second career relief appearance. Coming in for the 14th inning in Arizona, he surrendered a walk-off single to Aaron Hill. Since Norris already was scheduled to throw a between-starts side session on Wednesday, the appearance didn't affect his availability for Saturday.

"He's fine, we knew he was going to be able to pitch a couple innings for us," manager Buck Showalter said afterward. "He throws more pitches on a work day."

Norris' last start came Sunday in San Francisco, where he gave up two runs on six hits in five innings despite battling back stiffness. He got a no-decision, but the O's went on to win 10-2, giving them 20 runs in his first three starts for Baltimore.

"It's a lot of fun," Norris said of watching his new club's offense. "It's something I'm definitely not really used to. Screaming in the clubhouse, I think I scared one of the trainers off the table. But I'm excited. These guys can play baseball. I want to do my part and keep winning games."

Rookie Chad Bettis (0-1, 5.06) will make his fourth career start for the Rockies as he seeks his first victory. The 24-year-old right-hander, a second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, had been pitching at Double-A Tulsa before a recent callup.

Bettis has held the opposition to 14 hits in his first 16 innings, but has issued more walks (eight) than he has strikeouts (six). He pitched a personal-best six innings on Sunday against the Pirates, using only 80 pitches and giving up two runs on four hits.

Rockies: Betancourt to be activated
Closer Rafael Betancourt is set to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday as he returns from an emergency appendectomy he underwent just after the All-Star Break. The veteran right-hander made his lone rehab appearance at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday.

Manager Walt Weiss said he would need to meet with Betancourt before deciding to put him back into the closer's role. Left-hander Rex Brothers has filled in admirably and is 11-for-12 in save opportunities.

• Wilin Rosario returned to the lineup in style on Friday, going 2-for-4 and smacking a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning.

Weiss slotted Rosario in at designated hitter after his starting catcher missed a game with a right hamstring cramp. However, Rosario has said the issue affects him more on offense than defense.

Orioles: Adair takes leave of absence
Pitching coach Rick Adair has left the team temporarily on a personal leave of absence, and Baltimore is having bullpen coach Bill Castro fill in, with former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor joining the team to sub in for Castro.

The Orioles did not provide a reason for Adair's leave. The 55-year-old has been a member of the team's coaching staff since the start of the 2011 season, and he took over as pitching coach that June.

• Baltimore's suddenly murky closer situation grew more clouded on Friday. Jim Johnson, who has blown three straight opportunities and a Major League-high nine this season, gave up a home run in a non-save situation in the ninth inning.

Two innings earlier, Francisco Rodriguez left the game with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells after straining his right groin. Rodriguez is one of the leading candidates for a ninth-inning role if Showalter replaces Johnson.

Worth noting
• The Rockies are playing their third series at Camden Yards, and their first since they took two of three in 2007.

• Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler has walked in five of his eight career plate appearances against Norris, while going 2-for-3 with a double. Comments