Swinging early and often vs. Lee

Juan Samuel wasn’t kidding, apparently, when he said earlier today that his team needed to be aggressive tonight vs. Cliff Lee.

Lee has a rep for getting ahead of hitters and the O’s are sure swinging early in the count tonight vs. the 2008 AL Cy Young winner.

It worked when Corey Patterson led off the game with a double and then, on the very next pitch, Miguel Tejada lined an RBI single to right.

Two pitches and a 1-0 lead on Lee, who went 8-3, 2.34 for Seattle and is 4-0, 2.38 in five career starts vs. the Birds.

But maybe the hitters are taking that too much to heart. Lee threw just 25 pitches through the first three innings. He needed 12 in the first inning, but just seven in the second and only six to get three outs in the top of the third.

One can take a good thing too far.

The O’s, if they can win one of the next two games at Texas, will win their first road series of the year. They are 0-13-1 over their last 14 road series since winning one, from September 11-13 of last year at Yankee Stadium.

Meanwhile, Chris Tillman, who pitched a one-hit shutout in the minors on Monday night, has sailed through his first three innings on just 35 pitches.

If you are by your radio later, tune in when Dave Johnson and I co-host the post-game O’s radio show after the game.

We hope it starts tonight sooner than 2:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, Nick Markakis just hit a solo homer to right off Lee, his third over the last nine games and his sixth on the year as the O’s take a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

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