Johnson will try to snap a four-start winless streak when the Orioles complete a two-game series with the defending World Series champion Anaheim Angels at Camden Yards.
After pitching 6 1-3 scoreless innings in his season debut, a 2-1 win over Boston in which Johnson did not receive a decision, the right-hander won his next four starts, yielding three earned runs or fewer in each of those outings.
Shaping up as a potential ace for the Orioles’ rotation, Johnson has fallen on hard times since, going 0-2 in his last four starts while yielding an unsightly nine runs over 11 innings in his last two outings.
Johnson allowed four runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings at Anaheim on Thursday, and was spared a loss when the Orioles rallied for a 7-4 victory.
He needs one more victory to match his total from 2002, when he suffered through a dismal campaign, going 5-14 with a 4.59 ERA.
After spending the morning at the White House with President Bush, the Angels were handed a 12-4 loss in Tuesday’s series opener, dropping them one game below .500.
Melvin Mora hit one of three homers for the Orioles, who reached double figures in hits (16) for the eighth straight game. Mora, who hit .536 last week, walked twice and scored three runs as Baltimore won its third straight.
The Orioles have won five of six overall.
The Angels have dropped four of six.
STANDINGS (through May 26): Angels - 3rd place, 6 1/2 GB, AL West. Orioles - 4th place, 7 1/2 GB, AL East.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Ramon Ortiz (4-4, 5.40 ERA). Ortiz is 1-2 over his last four outings, but did pitch well his last time out, limiting the Orioles to one earned run and six hits over 6 1-3 innings in Anaheim’s 7-4 loss to Baltimore. The hard-throwing right-hander is 3-2 with one complete game and a 2.90 ERA in seven career starts against the Orioles.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Johnson (4-2, 3.33 ERA). Johnson is 3-4 with a 5.12 ERA in nine career starts against the Angels.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Angels - Garret Anderson, .308 avg. and 40 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 11 HRs and 33 runs; Adam Kennedy, 9 SBs. Orioles - Melvin Mora, .345 avg.; Jay Gibbons and Tony Batista, 8 HRs; Batista and Jeff Conine, 36 RBIs; Conine, 29 runs; Jerry Hairston, 14 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Orioles, 3-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Angels - RHP Ortiz is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in three career outings at Camden Yards. … Anaheim has been outscored 161-132 over the first five innings this season. … SS David Eckstein is batting .429 with two doubles and an RBI in 14 career at-bats against RHP Johnson. Orioles - The Orioles have scored at least 10 runs in three straight games for the third time in club history. The last time it happened was in August 1996. … OF Mora had reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances before popping out to first in the second inning Tuesday. … 3B Batista is batting just .161 (5-for-31) with two RBIs and eight strikeouts in his career against RHP Ortiz.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Angels - 9-13 on the road; Orioles - 10-13 at home.
INJURIES: Angels - OF Darin Erstad (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Troy Percival (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL. Orioles - INF Hairston (foot), 15-day DL; OF Larry Bigbie (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF B.J. Surhoff (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Lopez (ribs), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL.