It’s been a stunning five days of pitching by the Orioles. Since giving up 25 runs in losses Monday and Tuesday at Minnesota, the Orioles now have a five-game win streak during which they have given up ten total runs.
Zach Britton pitched six shutout innings today as the Orioles beat Cleveland 4-3. Britton gave up four hits with two walks and five strikeouts, throwing 104 pitches.
The Orioles entered this series with a 7-18 record at Cleveland since 2004. But a win Monday night there would give them their first four-game sweep at Cleveland since September of 1971.
This was Britton’s first win of the year and first big league win since last September 22 at Detroit.
Cleveland put a real scare into the Orioles, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth as Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer off Luis Ayala and Travis Hafner produced an RBI single off Jim Johnson. But Johnson struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the game, as Cleveland left the tying run at second. For Johnson, it’s his 30th save.
Orioles starters have now recorded five consecutive quality starts to tie a season high first set April 28 to May 2. The rotation ERA is 1.87 over that stretch with just six walks allowed in 33 2/3 innings.
The Orioles have outscored their opponents 23-10 during the five straight wins, which followed a stretch where they lost six of seven games. The five-game win streak matches a season high.
J.J. Hardy got the offense started with a two-run homer off Josh Tomlin in the top of the first. It was his 14th homer of the year and 125th of his career. Hardy had hit just one homer his previous 19 games. He added an RBI single in the seventh to match his season high with a three-RBI game.
Wilson Betemit hit a 438-foot solo homer in the eighth to make it 4-0 and end a 21-game homerless stretch.
With this win, the Orioles clinched their first winning road trip since May 16-20 when they went 4-1 at Kansas City and Washington.
The Orioles have reversed their fortunes quickly with a run of excellent starting pitching, and now look to improve to 52-44 with a win Monday, which would give them their first four-game sweep in Cleveland in 41 years.