NEW YORK - The Orioles are going for their first sweep of a three-game series in the Bronx since June 6-8, 1986. If it happens today, it would mark the first time that the Orioles have swept the Yankees and Red Sox on the road in the same season since 1980, according to Elias.
The Orioles have won four straight games in the Bronx, their longest winning streak since taking six in a row from Sept. 16, 1996-Sept. 6, 1997.
The Orioles are 5-5 when going for a sweep this year, including 2-4 on the road. They're 3-1 in series finales since the All-Star break and 8-8 in road series finales this year.
Lew Ford's double last night was his first major league hit in 1,774 days. His last hit was Sept. 21, 2007 for the Twins. According to Elias, the last player to go more than four years between hits in the big leagues was Valentino Pascucci, who went six years and 340 days (Oct. 3, 2004-Sept. 8, 2011).
Since his last game in the major leagues for Minnesota in 2007, Ford played in 39 games in Mexico, 47 in Japan, 73 in the affiliated minor leagues and 184 in independent baseball.
Over the last five games, the Orioles are batting .319 (59-for-185) with 13 doubles, eight homers and 32 runs scored. They've recorded 10 hits or more in four of those five games.
Omar Quintanilla is a big reason why the offense has perked up. He's batting .462 (12-for-26) in his last seven games, with two doubles, a home run, four RBIs and four runs scored. He has four multi-hit games, a .464 OBP and a 1.118 OPS during that stretch.
Has Quintanilla, acquired from the Mets for his glove and to provide middle infield depth, given the Orioles more offensively than they anticipated?
"It would be easy to say, 'No, we knew exactly,' but somewhat," said manager Buck Showalter. "I had an open mind about it. He's got some track record of having success. If you look at his on-base percentage the last two or three weeks that he played with the Mets, it was good. And he's a very hungry guy. He's got a real intensity about him. I trusted the people who evaluated him and we did a lot of homework on him. Doesn't surprise me that people who approach the game the way he does have periods of success, but initially, it was to make sure we had some coverage in the middle of the diamond with Robert (Andino) and Brian Roberts being questionable.
"It's created, I wouldn't call it a problem, but a competitive situation for us from a good standpoint."
As for Matt Wieters catching a day game after a night game, the off-day tomorrow is "part of it," Showalter said.
"Plus, we've got 58 games left. And Matt's a good player."
Update: It's raining in the Bronx and Zach Britton is struggling here again.
Britton has allowed four runs and six hits, and thrown 59 pitches, in only two innings.
Curtis Granderson homered in the first and Andruw Jones lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center after Robinson Cano reached on a gift single (Britton failed to catch Mark Reynolds' high flip on a grounder to first.)
Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher had RBI singles during Britton's 41-pitch second inning.
The Orioles scored once in the second on Wilson Betemit's single, Reynolds' double and Endy Chavez grounder to first. J.J. Hardy is 2-for-2, and Nick Markakis has another hit from the leadoff spot.
Update II: Well, that sure got ugly in a hurry.
The Yankees scored seven runs in the third inning, the last four on Cano's second grand slam of the season.
Yankees 11, Orioles 1.
Cano connected off Kevin Gregg, who's serving as the long man today.
Britton is charged with seven runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked three, struck out three and threw 80 pitches (44 for strikes.)
In three career starts in the Bronx, Britton has allowed 20 runs (17 earned) in only eight innings.
Jeter, Granderson, Swisher, Cano and Jones have batted three times in three innings.
Gregg is making his earliest appearance since April 17, 2007, when he entered a game in the first inning.