An impressive comeback in their last game has given the surging Baltimore Orioles some new-found confidence.
The Orioles look for their fifth straight victory when they continue a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday night.
Baltimore (7-6) erased a six-run deficit and won its fourth straight game by beating Tampa Bay 9-7 on Monday night. The Orioles are outscoring their opponents 25-13 and batting .345 during their winning streak.
Freddie Bynum and third baseman Melvin Mora provided much of that offense Monday, each connecting for a two-run homer and driving in three. Bynum was making his first start of 2007 in center field in place of Corey Patterson, who’s on bereavement leave.
Trailing 7-3, Mora’s homer started a five-run seventh inning and propelled Baltimore to the win despite earlier committing three errors on one play - the first time that’s happened in a major league game in nearly nine years.
“It was the tale of two games,” said Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff, who played his first six-plus seasons with Tampa Bay and homered in the ninth. “We started off really bad … it couldn’t get any worse. Made a circus play out there.”
Kevin Millar doubled in three at-bats, extending his hitting streak to nine games during which he’s batting .414 (12-for-29).
Baltimore now is trying to win five in a row for the first time since an eight-game run April 22-May 1, 2005, which included a three-game sweep of the Devil Rays (5-8).
Steve Trachsel (0-0, 2.63 ERA) will try to record that victory for the Orioles. The right-hander spent the last six seasons with the Mets before signing as a free agent with Baltimore in March. He has two quality starts so far, but has yet to receive a decision. Trachsel held Kansas City to one run and three hits over seven innings in a 2-1, 10-inning win on Thursday.
Trachsel is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts versus the Devil Rays, but hasn’t faced them since 2001 when he was with the Mets. The 15-year veteran spent part of the 2000 season with Tampa Bay, going 6-10 with a 4.58 ERA before being traded to Toronto.
He will be opposed by Casey Fossum (0-1, 7.59), who is trying to record his first win since August. The left-hander, who underwent shoulder surgery in September, will try to build off a solid start.
He gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings versus Minnesota, but failed to factor into the 3-2 loss. Fossum said the performance gave him new-found optimism.
“Made me just regain my confidence in my sinker,” Fossum told the team’s official Web site. “(Pitching coach Jim) Hickey’s been talking about quick-pitch innings and ground balls. And I got a lot of ground balls last game and was able to have a really low pitch count through seven innings
“I felt good and I want to continue building off that last one.”
Fossum is 5-4 with a 4.60 ERA in 15 career games, including 10 starts, versus the Orioles.