Checking on the Pirates past and present

The Orioles have lost two World Series against the Pirates, in 1971 and 1979. Tomorrow night, before Game Two of their series with the Orioles, the Pirates will celebrate the 40th anniversary of that 1971 team.

The Orioles won the first two games, by scores of 5-3 and 11-3 at home, but then lost three straight in Pittsburgh. When that series returned to Baltimore, the O's Game Six win was followed by a 2-1 Game Seven loss with Steve Blass besting Mike Cuellar.

The Orioles and Pirates will wear 1971 uniforms tomorrow night.

This year's Bucs went to Cleveland over the weekend with a 35-33 record but got swept three straight by a combined 15-4 score to fall to 35-36.

But that is still a big improvement over their record of 25-46 at the 71-game mark last year.

Pittsburgh, over a longer stretch, is 11-8 over its last 19 games and 13-10 over the past 23. The Pirates team ERA is a nifty 2.99 over the last 30 games and they are 17-13 in that time.

Pittsburgh has been getting pretty good pitching and has the fifth best National League home ERA at 3.13 and fourth best NL ERA among starting pitchers at 3.58.

Facing the Orioles tonight will be 27-year-old, right-hander Charlie Morton. He is 7-3 with an ERA of 3.21 in 13 starts after going 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA in 2010.

Morton, who has never faced the Orioles, has gone 10 starts and 62 consecutive innings without allowing a homer, a streak dating back to April 15. He has allowed just two home runs all year over 84 innings.

Morton is not much a threat to hurt the Orioles when he bats. He is just 1-for-26 at bat on the year for an average of .038 and is a career .070 hitter.

The 2011 Orioles can't do anything to erase the painful memories of '71 and '79, but at least could build on the momentum of Sunday's win with a few more to end this current road trip.

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