After the Orioles' latest victory, who should I give more credit to, the hitters or the starting pitcher?
Jason Hammel gave the Orioles another quality start and the hitters backed him with a seven-run third inning as the Orioles routed Boston today 8-2 at Fenway Park.
By taking the first two games of this series, the Orioles have a chance, with a win tomorrow, for their first three-game sweep at Fenway Park since June 10-12, 1994.
The Orioles have now won six of their past seven and eight of their last 11 games with Boston and are 5-1 in their last six games at Fenway Park.
With their 10th victory in 12 games, the Orioles moved to 18-9 on the season. They are nine games over .500 for the first time since July 15, 2005 when they were 49-40.
The Orioles have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park by a combined 26-7 score.
Hammel improved to 4-1 with an ERA of 2.09 and the Orioles are 5-1 in his six starts. He gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 with one walk and eight strikeouts. He threw a season-high 115 pitches and took a shutout in the last of the seventh. Hammel has given up two earned runs or less in all six of his starts.
This was the Orioles' 10th quality start over the last 12 games, a stretch where the starting pitchers have worked to an ERA of 1.99.
After Chris Davis provided a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second, the Orioles knocked out Boston starter Aaron Cook during that seven-run third inning.
That inning featured a Nick Markakis RBI single, an Adam Jones two-run homer, a Wilson Betemit RBI single and a Mark Reynolds three-run homer.
It was the Orioles' biggest inning since they scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth on May 25 last year against the Royals.
For Jones, who had been 0-for-8 his past two games, it was his seventh homer of the year. Reynolds, who ended a 76 at-bat homerless stretch last night, homered for the second time in two games and six at-bats.
Even before today, the Orioles' offense was coming to life. In the previous six games, the team had scored 34 runs with seven homers and a team average of .290.
The Orioles are now 4-1 on this road trip, 10-5 in road games, 9-5 against the AL East and 15-6 since beginning the year 3-3. The Orioles are 29-15 since last September 12.
In Sunday afternoon's series and road trip finale, Tommy Hunter (2-1, 4.26) pitches against Clay Buchholz (3-1, 8.69).