ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Defeating the Los Angeles Angels at home did more than just extend Baltimore’s winning streak to a season-high six games. It got the Orioles back to .500 for the first time in three weeks.
“Early on, everybody knows we weren’t getting the hits when we needed them and now we are,” said Roberts, who has hit safely in 25 of 28 games. “That’s made everybody relax a little bit. If one guy doesn’t get it, then he figures the next guy will pick him up.”
Brian Burres (3-2) allowed one run and three hits in five innings, struck out three and walked three in his first career start against the AL West-leading Angels.
“It was big for us, not only to extend the streak, but got us up to .500 again, which we’ve been trying to do for a while,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. “The team needed to do something like that against a good ballclub.”
Kelvim Escobar (6-3) gave up five runs on a season-high nine hits in eight innings, struck out three and walked four in losing for the second time in his last seven starts.
“It would have been nice for Kelvin if we had two or three runs on the board and gave him a chance to pitch,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “But that’s part of the game. When our guys got on base, their pitchers made pitches.”
Roberts, who came in hitting .314 in his career against the Angels, snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth with a single that scored Kevin Millar.
The inning began with a walk to Millar. Ramon Hernandez followed with a double to left-center that had outfielders Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr. giving chase. Willits turned away at the last second, avoiding Matthews by inches as the ball went off Willits’ glove.
“He may have tried to call me off and I didn’t hear him,” Willits said. “Then at the last second, I took my eye off the ball. I couldn’t say I was going to catch it 100 percent, but it was one I think I had a chance at.”
Matthews figured he and Willits weren’t looking at each other because both had so far to run to reach the gap.
“We’re really two center fielders out there, and I’m sure he’s not used to looking up and seeing somebody right in his face—and neither am I,” he said. “Maybe I’ll trust him to cover a little bit more ground and then I won’t have to go from that right-center field gap to the other gap like I’m used to doing.”
Markakis followed Roberts’ hit with a double to left-center that had Willits and Matthews on the run again. This time, Willits chased the ball to the wall as two runs scored, extending Baltimore’s lead to 4-1.
“Our bats are finally coming around,” said Markakis, whose 16 doubles leads the Orioles. “We came in with a good attitude, things are going good right now. It’s all starting to come together.”
Los Angeles trimmed the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh on Guerrero’s RBI single, but Willits was caught stealing third to end the inning with pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman at the plate.
After Jay Payton’s RBI single made it 5-2 in the eighth, Kotchman led off the bottom half with a double but was stranded at second.
Markakis’ sacrifice fly in the ninth scored Chris Gomez to make it 6-2.
The Orioles led 1-0 on a fielder’s choice grounder by Miguel Tejada in the first. Guerrero tied it in the bottom half with an RBI double down the left-field line.
Angels OF Garret Anderson made his second rehab appearance at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, going 1-for-4 with a run, double and RBI. … Angels 3B Chone Figgins, coming off a two-day rest, went 3-for-4 to end his 3-for-31 skid at home. … Millar was walked three times. … The Orioles’ first-inning run snapped Escobar’s streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings at home. … The Angels fell to 7-3 in their last 10 games at home against the Orioles. … Angels RHP Justin Speier made his first rehab start at Rancho Cucamonga, allowing one hit in one inning with a walk.