Baltimorean Steve Johnson was more than up for the challenge.
For Johnson, 23 years to the day after his dad got his first major league win, he got his first. The hometown kid did well tonight as the Orioles beat Seattle 9-2 to sweep the three-game series.
Making his second major league appearance but first start, Johnson pitched six innings, allowing five hits and two runs with two walks and nine strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Johnson struck out the side in the first inning around a two-out single and shutout Seattle through five frames. Kyle Seager hit a one-out, two-run homer off him in the sixth to get the Mariners on the board.
Johnson went 4-8 this year at Triple-A Norfolk with an ERA of 2.86. His nine strikeouts tonight was one more than his season high with the Tides.
The Orioles backed him with plenty of offense. It was led by Matt Wieters, who told manager Buck Showalter that he wanted to catch Johnson tonight. Wieters tied his career high with five RBIs. He had a pair of two-run doubles. Nick Markakis had a triple and two-run homer. Mark Reynolds hit a solo homer. Adam Jones went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
The Orioles have won five in a row, eight of their past 10 games and are 14-7 over the last 21 games.
A night after their 8-7 win in 14 innings, the Orioles were able to win in a regulation nine innings as they improved to 60-51 on the year, 28-26 at home and 5-1 against the Mariners.
The O's homestand continues tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. as they begin a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals.