No team is hotter in the American League than the Baltimore Orioles coming off of a five-game winning streak last week. Baltimore swept the Tampa Rays in a three-game series in Tampa, Fla. on May 6-8, and then won back-to-back games against the Houston Astros on May 9-10 in Baltimore.

The Orioles currently lead the American League East division with a 20-14 record.

May 6-8: Orioles Sweep Tampa on the Road

Five players batted in runs for the Orioles, including first baseman Steve Pearce, who hit a homerun in the third inning to lift the Orioles to a 5-3 win over Tampa in Game One of the three game series on May 6. Left fielder Nelson Cruz and designated hitter Matt Wieters both had two hits. Relief pitcher Darren O’Day got the win after taking over for starting pitcher Chris Tillman in the seventh inning. Tommy Hunter eventually took the mound in the ninth inning and closed the game out for his ninth save of the season.

Center fielder Adam Jones went nuts in Game Two of the series, blasting two homeruns to lead the Orioles to a 4-3 win on May 7. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop also hit a homerun, late in the seventh inning to give the Orioles the game-deciding runs to win the game. Hunter picked up his 10th save of the season.

The Orioles sealed the series sweep with a 3-1 win over the Rays in Game Three of the series on May 8. Pearce hit his second home run of the week and season, powering Baltimore to victory. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez pitched five innings, allowing just one earned run. O’Day eventually took over in the ninth inning for the save.

May 8-9: Back-to-Back Wins over Houston Make it Five Straight

Baltimore made it four straight wins when they hosted the Astros in Game One of a three game series on May 9. Pearce continued his home run havoc, hitting his third homer of the week to lead the Orioles to a 4-3 win. Right fielder Nick Markakis was stellar at the plate with three hits and an RBI; third baseman Manny Machado also hit a home run. Wei-Yin Chen started the game at pitcher and gave up just two earned runs in seven innings, but Hunter took over in the ninth inning for his 11th save of the season.

Baltimore won Game Two of the series, its fifth straight game, late Saturday night, but it didn’t come easy at all. The Orioles fought into the 10th inning in a 4-4 tie with the Astros, but a double and RBI up the right side of the field by catcher Steve Clevenger allowed shortstop J.J. Hardy to speed all the way from first base to home plate for the game winning run. Clevenger had a game-high three hits and Hardy finished with two hits and two runs. Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez pitched seven innings, giving up just two earned runs; Hunter came in to close in the ninth inning, but blew the save by giving up two earned runs to allow Houston to tie the game and force a 10th inning. Ryan Webb pitched the top of the 10th inning for Baltimore and closed out with two strikeouts.

Orioles Player of the Week: Steve Pearce
Pearce suddenly got hot at the plate for the Orioles, hitting three home runs in four games during this past week. Pearce also had five hits, four runs and four RBI in those four games.

Next-up: following Sunday’s game against the Astros, the Orioles will host the Detroit Tigers in a three-game series in Baltimore on May 12-14, and then will travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals in a four-game series on May 15-18.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor