The Orioles have won five games in a row for the third time this season. They’ve won seven of their last nine games and have taken their last three series.
The Orioles scored a season-high 12 runs tonight, giving them 27 in this series, and Steve Pearce delivered a career-high five against his former team.
What kind of impression is Pearce making on manager Buck Showalter?
“Good one,” Showalter said. “Taking advantage of the opportunity, providing some versatility, putting some good at-bats together in a very short look so far. Short sampling, but you can tell he’s been up here before.
“Obviously, John Russell’s had some experience with him. He’s a little different guy, like all of us are, than he was three or four years ago. I hope all our South Carolina additions are as good.”
Pearce has started six games with the Orioles and appeared in another since they acquired him from the Yankees on June 2 for cash. Regular playing time is working in his favor.
“It doesn’t hurt, the consistency of at-bats, but we have other people we’ll continue to make use of,” Showalter said. “We have a tough lineup to make out tomorrow, trying to figure out what we’re going to do. We’ll turn our attention to that. But Steve’s coming up here and letting it rip and trying to find a spot and trying to make it tough on us if we get some of these people back. He’s provided some versatility. You look up on my board and there’s only one true outfielder, and that’s Adam right now.
“One of our big goals in the offseason was for some depth. It’s a very challenging sport physically. You’re going to have some situations where in order to remain consistent as a club, you’re going to have to have some of your depth come up and make a contribution, and that’s been the case so far. And it’s a tribute to the front office and the scouts, the things we’ve done, but it’s a fragile thing if you let it be. You’ve got to have multiple options.”
Tommy Hunter retired the first 12 batters he faced, but was charged with five runs and seven hits in six innings.
“I thought his first four innings were as good as I’ve seen Tommy, maybe period,” Showalter said. “He was real sharp. Then we had the real long inning there and you go out there. It’s a difficult thing to do to sit around that long and then go out there. Now all of a sudden you’re thinking, ‘OK, I don’t want to walk anybody.’ You kind of get away a little bit from what you’re doing to be so successful. But stuff-wise, he was really crisp. That’s about as crisp as I’ve seen him in a long time.”
The Pirates had won five straight series for the first time since 1992 before the Orioles swept them.
“We were impressing upon our players how well they were playing coming in and our guys met that intensity that they had and tried to match what they were bringing in,” Showalter said. “But very quickly we have to turn to two of the better teams in the National League in Atlanta and the Mets that are playing as good as anybody in baseball. That’s kind of the draw you get and you go and compete.”