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Pirates hope familiarity breeds wins vs. Orioles

Pirates hope familiarity breeds wins vs. Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Based on their Spring Training workouts and games, the Orioles probably aren't a bad team for the Pirates to open their Interleague Play schedule. From a familiarity standpoint, that is.

"We got to see them a handful of times in Spring Training. We probably got to know this team better than any team in the American League," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before launching into a scouting report.

The two sides are scheduled to play a two-game series, though Tuesday's opener was rained out and postponed until Thursday, with the opener now set for Wednesday.

"They like to swing it. They play for big innings. They can manufacture some runs. They do so more at the bottom of the lineup than anywhere else," Hurdle said. "You've got to pitch, you've got to buy real estate at both sides of the plate. ... I think we do have a comfort going on because we have seen them. We know their personnel."

One part of the Orioles' personnel that is expected to change this series involves third baseman Manny Machado. One of baseball's rising stars in the batter's box and in the field, Machado had surgery last October after suffering a season-ending knee injury. Yet to play for the Orioles in 2014, he batted .283 with 14 home runs and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

The Pirates manager expressed sincere excitement about seeing Machado in person, something he's only done in a prior Spring Training before 2013.

"I'm just looking forward to seeing him play," Hurdle said. "He's an offensive player, but he's made some defensive plays that are off the charts."

Benjamin Standig is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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