Benson will try to even his record at Camden Yards, and post his team-leading ninth win when the Orioles wrap up a three-game series against the Florida Marlins on Thursday.
Benson (8-5, 4.32 ERA), who is trying to become the third nine-game winner in the AL joining Detroit’s Kenny Rogers and Boston’s Curt Schilling, has won his last two starts including a 4-2 decision on Saturday against the New York Mets—the team that dealt him to Baltimore before the start of the season.
“It’s great to come back and pitch well against the last team you played for,” said Benson, who allowed two runs and six hits over eight innings and also hit his first career homer.
He is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in road interleague wins over Washington and New York, and has enjoyed success against Florida, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.97 ERA in his career.
Benson, though, has had trouble adjusting to Camden Yards this season. He is only 2-3 with a 3.35 ERA there, and has not won in front of the home fans since May 13.
Florida (30-38) will counter with Scott Olsen (6-3, 4.70) as looks to win his fifth straight start.
Since failing to receive a decision on May 23 in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs, the left-hander has allowed only six runs in 27 2-3 innings to lower his ERA by more nearly two runs per game.
“We’ve bonded in here now, we are a team now,” said Olsen, who struck out eight over seven innings Friday in a 3-1 win over Toronto. “We’ve come together as a team the last three, four weeks.
Olsen has never faced Baltimore, which ended Florida’s nine-game winning streak 4-0 on Wednesday.
Erik Bedard took a one-hitter into the eighth inning and matched a career-high with 12 strikeouts.
“I was just throwing strikes early. I got my fastball, curveball, changeup for strikes pretty much whenever I wanted it,” he said. “If I keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully I do good the rest of the year.”
Bedard, who was responsible for ending the Mets’ eight-game victory stretch last Friday, also kept Florida from extending the league’s longest active winning streak.
“It was just tremendous performance against a hot team that had won nine straight,” Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. “I give all the credit to Bedard. He had the courage to go to a new change-up in the middle of a major league championship season.
“This was his third time out with it, and tonight he really threw it exceptionally well.”