Some early-game notes

The Orioles tonight are looking for their sixth win over the last seven games, their 14th win in 20 games and to improve to 20-8 over the last 28 games.

They used three singles and three Clay Buchholz walks to take a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third tonight. Buchholz retired the first six batters he faced, but looked more like the pitcher who entered this outing with an ERA of 7.77 in that inning.

The crowd is not big tonight and I bet that will be a topic of conversation for some fans. My take remains the same: The Orioles didn't lose all their attendance overnight and they won't get it all back that quickly either. Even after 42 mostly glorious games.

Some other O's-Sox notes:

* The Red Sox, at 8-2, and the Orioles, at 7-3, entered tonight's game with the two best records in the American League over the last 10 games. At 27-15 overall, the Orioles own the best record in the AL.

* In those last 10 games, Boston has pitched to an ERA of 2.35, the best in the league in that stretch. The Red Sox have outscored their opponents 56-25 over those past 10 games. Boston has not lost any of its last four series since May 10.

* The Orioles are 7-1 in their last eight games against the Red Sox and 8-2 over the last 10 with Boston. The Orioles went 8-10 in the season series in 2011 with the Sox.

* Did you know that Stephen Strasburg yesterday became the first pitcher to homer off the Orioles since Boston's Sonny Seibert hit two off Pat Dobson on September 2, 1971?

* The Orioles' bullpen ERA of 2.15 is second-best in the majors. Jim Johnson has saved 23 straight since last Aug. 14.

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