Sweeping the reigning World Series champion and matching their longest winning streak of the season have provided the last-place Baltimore Orioles with a big confidence boost.
They’ll try to carry that momentum into Tuesday night when they open a three-game series with the Florida Marlins.
The Orioles (32-37) extended their win streak to five games Sunday by beating Philadelphia 2-1, completing a sweep of the NL East leader. Brian Roberts(notes) singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, a day after he hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth to secure a 6-5 win.
Baltimore has won seven of eight following a 2-11 slump, which came after its first five-game win streak of the season. The Orioles last won six in a row from April 2-8, 2008.
“I feel like we’ve improved,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley told the team’s official Web site. “There are a lot of things going on. We’re getting contributions from everybody, our bench has contributed, our situational hitting has improved. We’re getting key hits when it counts. We’re playing with confidence and we’re having a lot of fun. That’s what happens when everybody plays as a team.”
The Orioles have won nine of 12 interleague games, hitting .295 with 12 homers. However, they’re 5-13 all-time against Florida (35-36), winning once in nine games at Miami with their last series there coming in 2001.
Roberts has been a big part of Baltimore’s interleague success this year, hitting .320 with 11 RBIs. The second baseman had five hits and drove in five runs over the last three games.
“He’s in the middle of things every game, whether it’s in the field or at bat,” Trembley said. “He seizes the opportunity whenever it is.”
Trembly will turn to rookie Koji Uehara(notes) (2-4, 4.30 ERA), who won his first two starts of the season but is winless in nine outings since beating Texas on April 13. The 34-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched too badly during that drought, posting a 3.73 ERA, but he’s received just 21 runs of support.
Uehara left after five innings with a two-run lead Wednesday, having allowed two runs and seven hits with five strikeouts, but the bullpen blew it before the Orioles rallied for a 6-4 victory.
Uehara, who joined the Orioles in the offseason after playing 10 years in Japan, has given up six runs and 14 hits in 10 innings in two starts since a stint on the disabled list for a strained left hamstring.
The Marlins are coming off back-to-back victories over the New York Yankees, 2-1 on Saturday and 6-5 on Sunday to win that three-game set.
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.49 ERA in five starts at home but is coming off a loss in Boston. He battled through 5 1-3 innings Wednesday, throwing 100 pitches while allowing four runs and seven hits with six strikeouts and four walks in a 6-1 loss.
“I was behind in quite a few counts, as well,” Miller said. “Tough night. I felt I took really good stuff to the mound and didn’t take advantage of it. I probably nibbled a little bit too much early in the count.”