With 13 straight losing seasons, playing well at home isn’t something the Baltimore Orioles have done much of.
A strong surge at Camden Yards could signal a change in their fortunes there.
The Orioles look to match a season high with their fifth straight win both overall and at home Saturday night when they continue a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays.
This has been a season of streaks for the Orioles (30-31), who already have a five-game winning streak, a pair of four-game runs and skids of eight and five games. They’re currently on the upswing after following a three-game sweep of Oakland with a 7-0 victory in Friday’s series opener.
Jake Arrieta(notes) pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and Nick Markakis(notes) ended a prolonged extra-base hit drought with a grand slam and a career-high six RBIs as Baltimore won for the 10th time in 12 home games.
“I guess you could say it was a relief for me, but it was a relief for the whole team,” Markakis said. “We got a big hit in a big situation.”
It was the 20th win at Camden Yards this season for the Orioles, who didn’t reach that total until Aug. 4 last year. They haven’t finished with a winning record at home since going 44-37 in 2000.
Markakis’ slam was his first extra-base hit since May 15, a span of 89 at-bats. He had six RBIs in his previous 27 games. Baltimore’s right fielder has two of his five home runs and 11 of his 26 RBIs this season against Tampa Bay.
“There’s still a lot more hard work to come,” he said. “I’m feeling better, but I still don’t feel like I’m where I need to be. I’m just going to keep plugging away.”
The Rays (33-30) managed a season-low three hits and saw their three-game win streak snapped.
Tampa Bay was without outfielder Matt Joyce(notes), a day after he had a cortisone shot in his left shoulder. Joyce, who could return to the lineup Saturday, is tied for second in the AL with a .338 batting average, and is 8 for 17 with two homers and two doubles in his last five games against the Orioles.
Also enjoying success against Baltimore is David Price(notes) (7-5, 3.35 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in three career starts at Camden Yards. He is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA in six career starts overall versus the Orioles, but gave up four runs and five hits over seven innings of a 4-1 home loss to open the 2011 season.
The left-hander won for the fourth time in five road outings Monday, limiting the Angels to one run in seven-plus innings with seven strikeouts and no walks in a 5-1 victory.
Guthrie (2-8, 3.71) hopes to atone for that performance and avoid losing three consecutive starts for the second time this season. The right-hander was tagged for six runs and nine hits over five innings of a 7-4 loss to Toronto on Sunday.
Guthrie, tied for the major league lead in losses, threw eight scoreless innings to beat Price in the season opener, but dropped consecutive starts to the Rays last month.