Tejada looks to continue his hot hitting as the Orioles conclude a three-game home series against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
One reason why Baltimore (22-27) is struggling can be traced to the limited production it has received from Tejada. The 2002 AL MVP had only two homers in his first 46 games before connecting twice in his past three contests.
He had three hits, including a two-run homer and Brian Roberts added three hits and three RBIs Saturday in the Orioles’ 8-3 victory.
Tejada also is 6-for-12 with six RBIs in his last three games after driving in only 18 runs in his first 46 contests this season. He knocked in 35 after 46 games in 2006.
Tejada, though, hasn’t had much protection in the lineup. Baltimore has yet to find a productive hitter to protect its best player as Aubrey Huff, Ramon Hernandez and Kevin Millar have all struggled in that role.
Saturday’s win was a rare blowout for the Orioles, who had lost nine of 12. Ten of Baltimore’s previous 11 games were decided by two runs or fewer with Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Toronto the lone exception.
“It was nice to see our guys swing the bats like we thought we were capable of. We had a lot of two-out hits, which is another good sign,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “It’s a start, hopefully something we can build on.”
The Orioles also hadn’t done much winning lately against the Athletics (24-24), losing 11 of 14 meetings. Oakland is 14-3 at Baltimore since the start of the 2004 season.
One trend that did continue was Nick Swisher’s power stroke at Camden Yards. Half of Swisher’s eight home runs this season have come in four games at Baltimore. He is only batting .245 (13-of-53) lifetime against the Orioles, but seven of those hits have been home runs.
“I like this park. It’s a good ballpark to hit in. It’s probably just luck. Plus, it’s close to home, too,” said Swisher, a West Virginia native.
Daniel Cabrera (3-5, 4.66 ERA) will try to keep Swisher from homering again as he looks to rebound from his shortest start of the season. The right-hander lasted 4 2-3 innings and matched a season high with six runs allowed in a 6-4 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
Cabrera, who was pitching for the first time in seven days, had worked at least six innings in five of his previous six starts.
Cabrera also has made two career starts against the A’s and hasn’t made it past the fourth inning either time. He is 0-2 with a 15.00 ERA in those appearances.
Looking to help the A’s split their six-game road trip, Joe Blanton (4-2, 3.59) will have to rebound from his worst start of the season. After allowing two runs in each of his three previous starts, Blanton surrendered a season-high six runs - four earned - and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings Monday in an 8-5 loss to the White Sox.
That was only the second time in 10 starts this season that he failed to pitch at least six innings.
Blanton is 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles, including six scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory on Aug. 26 in his only appearance at Camden Yards.