Riding a four-game winning streak, the resurgent Orioles hope to avenge an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the defending AL champions when they open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Baltimore had already dropped four straight when it lost three in a row to the Yankees last week at Camden Yards by a combined score of 41-17. But manager Lee Mazzilli insisted that his club would bounce back, and it did.
The Orioles swept a three-game series in Detroit over the weekend and spent Memorial Day beating up on the Boston Red Sox 13-4 at Fenway Park. B.J. Surhoff had four hits, including a homer, and Melvin Mora drove in four runs as Baltimore pounded out 16 hits.
“To shut down a team like Boston, you are doing something,” Mazzilli said. “This Red Sox team is explosive.”
So is Baltimore. Boasting an AL-leading .287 batting average, the Orioles have at least 13 hits in each of their last six games.
The Yankees had a six-game winning streak halted in Sunday’s 7-6 loss at Tampa Bay. New York nearly rallied back from a 6-0 deficit, but instead settled for an 8-4 record on its season-high 12-game road trip. With Boston’s loss to Baltimore on Monday, the Yankees moved back into a first-place tie with the Red Sox atop the AL East.
“We’ve been winning so often, I just sort of expect to win,” New York manager Joe Torre said. “It’s nice to have everybody in the game and nobody throwing in the towel at any point in time. We had a couple opportunities.”
Former Orioles ace Mike Mussina will take the hill for New York. The veteran right-hander had gone 4-0 in his last six starts after beginning the season 1-4. Mussina did not receive a decision in New York’s come-from-behind 12-8 win at Baltimore on Wednesday, yielding five runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings.
Mussina is 6-3 with a 3.94 ERA in 12 career starts against his former club.