Heading into today’s game, the Orioles were batting .293 over their last five games and they were facing a pitcher, Andy Sonnanstine, whose career ERA against the O’s was 6.62.
Yes, it set up as a day the Orioles might post some numbers on offense and they did in a 9-3, 15-hit win against Tampa Bay to take this series, two games to one.
The Orioles have won five of their last six to get to 19-20 on the season. They are 11-8 over the last 19 games.
Nice of the offense to make my pregame post prophetic. The Orioles are now batting .304 with 70 hits over the last six games.
J.J Hardy led the way with a grand slam, his first since May 12, 2007 and third of his career. He is now 10-for-25 in six games since coming off the DL with two homers and seven RBIs.
Vlad Guerrero had two doubles and is batting .391 his last six games. Derrek Lee’s two-run single made it 3-0 in the third. Lee entered today with just three hits in 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but he now has 11 RBIs in his last 17 games.
Nick Markakis went 3-for-5 with a single, double and homer. That is his sixth multi-hit game over his last 10 contests and Markakis is batting .341 (15-for-44) in that stretch. Matt Wieters went 3-for-4 and is now batting .423 (11-for-26) during a six-game hitting streak.
Did I mention the offense was starting to heat up?
Get good starting pitching and plenty of runs and a team can make it look easy. The Orioles did today.
Other notes on this win:
* The Orioles are now 6-6-1 in 13 series in 2011 and are 3-3 in six series versus the American League East. The Orioles are 7-9 against AL East teams which includes an 0-4 mark against New York and 7-5 against Boston and Tampa Bay.
* The Orioles have won two of their three series on the year against Tampa, the AL East leaders and are 5-4 against the Rays this year. The Orioles have won nine of the last 14 games between these teams, including a 5-1 record this year at the Trop and 7-2 mark in their last nine games there.
* Jake Arrieta gave up two runs over six innings to give the Orioles a season-best, six straight quality starts. The starters have given up eight earned runs over 44 innings for an ERA of 1.64 in the six games.
* Today was Arrieta’s seventh quality start and the Orioles 23rd of the season. They are 16-7 in those games.
The Orioles are now 2-1 in a seven-game stretch against the AL East that continues Monday with the start of a two-game series in Boston.
Red Sox series pitching matchups:
Monday night: Chris Tillman (2-3, 6.15) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 4.64).
Tuesday night: Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42) vs. John Lackey (2-5, 8.01).