Under Showalter, Orioles find themselves on winning streak
BALTIMORE - They are getting quality starts, proper aggressiveness on the bases, sure-handed defense and an avalanche of hits with runners in scoring position.
Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel probably aren't the only ones wondering, "Who are these guys?"
For the second straight night, Buck Showalter's Baltimore Orioles got the best of the Los Angeles Angels in all facets - and the result is their first two-game winning streak since the all-star break. The Orioles certainly made it interesting, watching an eight-run, seventh-inning lead get whittled down to two before holding on for a 9-7 victory Wednesday before an announced 13,467 at Camden Yards.
Rookie left-hander Brian Matusz allowed one run in six innings for just his second victory in his last 19 starts and the offense exploded for nine runs and 12 hits by the bottom of the fourth inning.
The victory, just their fifth in 19 second-half games, clinches the Orioles' first series victory against Los Angeles since April 14-17, 2006, when they took three of four against the Angels at Camden Yards. However, it came at a cost.
Leadoff man Brian Roberts (left shin contusion) departed the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when play resumed following a 24-minute rain delay. Roberts was hit in the left leg by catcher Jeff Mathis's pickoff throw in the first inning and he both walked and ran with a pronounced limp until he was removed from the game five innings later.
Reliever David Hernandez sprained his left ankle while trying to cover home on a wild pitch in the seventh inning. That was the inning the Angels scored five times to cut the Orioles' lead to 9-6. Matt Albers was the prime culprit, allowing four of the five hitters that he faced to reach base, and yielding four earned runs.
Koji Uehara came in and after giving up an infield single to load the bases, he retired pinch hitter Alberto Callapso on a ground out to keep the Orioles' lead at 9-6. He then struck out the side in the eighth, pounding his fist in his glove as he walked off the mound.
The Angels then scored a run in the ninth against Alfredo Simon and had a man on second with none out when Torii Hunter curiously tried to steal third. He was thrown out by catcher Matt Wieters. Alfredo Simon retired Howie Kendrick for the second out, but Juan Rivera singled to bring up the tying run. However, Simon got Mike Napoli to fly out to pick up his 16th save.
Every Oriole, except catcher Matt Wieters, got a hit, and five different players had RBI. Left fielder Flix Pie led the effort with three hits and three RBI. The Orioles (34-73) broke the game open and knocked Angels right-hander Ervin Santana out of the game by scoring five times in the fourth inning, all the runs coming with two outs. Seven straight Orioles reached base in the inning and Luke Scott slammed a two-run homer, his 20th of the season and his third in as many nights.
In the first two games of the series and the Showalter era, the Orioles have scored 15 runs and pounded out 22 hits.