MILWAUKEE, JUNE 7 -- The Baltimore Orioles probably wouldn't mind extending their trip a few days more, but they've got laundry to wash, family to see and fish to fry with the New York Yankees.
So, the Orioles, who concluded their most successful road trip in 12 years with a 5-2 victory over the Brewers today, come home eager to build on recent accomplishments. On a 13-game, four-city tour they went 9-4, winning five of their last six to move within two games of .500 and four of first place in the AL East. They jumped from last place to fourth during that span.
"It was an excellent road trip," Orioles Manager Frank Robinson said. "It's a shot in the arm when we needed it."
Robinson said Dave Johnson's game today was his best this year. Johnson (5-3) made his third start on the trip and attacked the Brewers with his fastball. The offense, meanwhile, did a factory job on the Brewers, manufacturing all but one of its runs. The only big hit was Craig Worthington's fifth homer of the year in the eighth.
"We're playing well," Worthington said. "I hope it can carry over. On the road, you want to split. You want to go .500. Well, we've won more games than we lost."
"That's what we need. It seems like we've gotten the key hits when we needed them. We've been relaxed. I don't think we've been under any pressure."
Johnson breezed through 7 2/3 innings, giving up just six hits and a walk. His only blemish was Paul Molitor's two-run homer in the eighth.
"He's thrown well this year, but today it was a combination of things," Robinson said. "He was throwing well today and he had good location with his pitches.
"The longer he was out there the more confidence he had. He had to make some outstanding pitches and he did today and got out of some jams. It was just an excellent day on his part."
Johnson had minor problems in the first and third innings, the Brewers putting two men aboard in each. In the first inning, he struck out free-swinging Gary Sheffield, and in the third he got Dave Parker on a roller.
The Orioles took the lead with a three-run fifth and that's when Johnson started to roll. After Bill Spiers's double in the bottom half of the inning, Johnson retired eight straight.
"I threw all fastballs except maybe three that were change-ups in the last five innings I pitched," he said. "I didn't throw any curveballs or sliders. I was not in a situation where I had to try to trick anybody. I tried to get them to put the ball in play."
The Orioles' three-run fifth was indicative of the way things have gone the last week or so. With home run production down, the Orioles are squeezing runs home with line drives and good base running.
In the fifth, they loaded the bases against starter Paul Mirabella. Joe Orsulak hit left-hander Tony Fossas's first pitch for a two-run single to right. Cal Ripken, who is four for nine in his last two games, hit Fossas's second pitch into left field to score Phil Bradley and make it 3-0.
Three innings later, Ripken led off with a double. Mickey Tettleton advanced Ripken to third with a long fly ball to left and Randy Milligan drove him home with a sacrifice fly to right to make it 4-0. Worthington followed with his home run.
The other element in the Orioles' recent success is their bullpen, which did well again today. After Johnson gave up Molitor's homer in the eighth, Kevin Hickey retired Parker for the third out.
In the ninth, Gregg Olson came on to pick up his fifth save in the last six days. He is 14 of 14 in save opportunities and has allowed one run in 60 2/3 innings since July 31.
"He's gone a long while without getting any action and now he's getting a lot," Robinson said. "He's not used to getting the kind of margin he had today. He's pitched great for us."