It can no longer be called a hot streak. It is past the point of being merely a fast start. It is quickly becoming apparent that B.J. Surhoff is simply this good a hitter. At the age of 34 years 10 months, Surhoff, a career .277 hitter before this year, suddenly has been transformed into a .342 hitter -- with power.

"Some guys get better with age," Manager Ray Miller said. "B.J. is a student of the game, and he's relaxed. He knows what pitches he can pull and which ones he can't. And he's very intelligent about pitch selection."

Long praised for his steadiness and hustle, Surhoff is putting up all-star numbers in his 13th major league season. Tonight he extended his hitting streak to a career-high 20 games in the Orioles' 11-9 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

In typical Surhoff fashion, he offers no explanation and no analysis. "I'm seeing the ball well, I'm hitting it hard and I'm getting some luck," he said. "I'm having a good stretch now, but I've had good stretches before."

However, Miller has noticed a change in Surhoff this season. "He doesn't seem as analytical," Miller said. "He doesn't seem to carry at-bats back and forth. Last year he'd have a bad at-bat and he would be complaining about it through the next two. This year, he seems very well focused."

Surhoff's hitting streak is his second significant streak of the season. He had a 15-game hitting streak May 9-23. Between that streak and this one he went 0 for 12 over three games.

"I don't have time to think about hitting streaks," Surhoff said. "It's something I have to do every day."

Orioles Notes: Right-handed reliever Mike Fetters is expected to undergo surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to remove bone spurs in his right elbow. Fetters was placed on the disabled list June 7.