Pirates bested by Orioles, 8-6

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BALTIMORE -- The Pirates surrendered seven runs over 27 innings in a three-game series against the Royals this weekend.

It took the Orioles only six innings to do one better.

The Orioles powered their way past the Pirates, hitting three home runs in an 8-6 victory Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles (35-26) smacked 15 hits off starter Brad Lincoln and three relievers to hand the Pirates (32-28) their first loss in the past five games. It was the second most hits allowed by the Pirates this season, outdone only by a 17-hit showing from the St. Louis Cardinals on May 2. The Pirates have allowed more than 10 hits in a game eight times this season.

The Pirates' streak of five consecutive series wins is now in jeopardy, as they will have to take the final two games of the series to stretch that mark to six.

Though the pitching staff never allowed the offense a chance to catch up, Pirate batters missed a few opportunities to pull close. The Pirates finished 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position. Neil Walker helped the Pirates pull within two runs in the ninth inning with a two-run home run to left field, his fourth of the season.

It was the second consecutive sub-par outing for Lincoln, who allowed three earned runs over 4 1/3 innings. He lasted four innings last week against the Reds, surrendering five earned runs on six hits.

The Orioles had three times as many hits off Lincoln (nine) as strikeouts against him (three). He threw a season-high 87 pitches -- 56 of which were strikes. But his location within the strike zone made Orioles hitters salivate.

Lincoln made his third start of the season -- compared to 13 relief appearances -- to spell a starting rotation with Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton on the 15-day disabled list.

The Orioles put the game out of reach in the sixth inning, pouring four runs, three earned, on Pirates reliever Chris Resop. Former Pirate Steve Pearce reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Clint Barmes to start the inning and moved to third when Resop's attempt to throw out a bunting Endy Chavez rolled into right field.

Later in the inning, Chris Davis cranked his 11th home run of the season, scoring J.J. Hardy and giving the Orioles an 8-2 lead.

Lincoln served up two of the Orioles' home runs, both coming on 2-0 counts. The first came in the second inning and allowed the Orioles to climb back from an early deficit. With Adam Jones on third, Lincoln threw a hanging breaking ball to Mark Reynolds, and Reynolds punished him by sending the pitch sailing into the left-field seats.

With the Pirates trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Lincoln elevated a fastball to Jones, who crushed it into left field.

The 92-mph fastball was Lincoln's last of the night.

Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. After a shaky first inning, Chen settled down and commanded the Pirates' lineup over the next four innings until he served up a home run ball to Casey McGehee in the sixth, McGehee's second home run of the season.

McGehee finished the game 2 for 3 with a pair of walks.

The Orioles added to their lead in the third inning with a two-out rally that Lincoln nearly avoided. Lincoln was one pitch away from finishing up a 1-2-3 inning, but after pounding the outside of the zone to Hardy on five consecutive pitches, he let the sixth trail back over the plate.

Hardy whacked the ball to centerfield, the first of three consecutive singles the Orioles would hit. The last of those -- a bloop to centerfield off the bat of Adam Jones -- scored Hardy from third and made the score 3-1.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts made his 2012 debut Tuesday after a 13-month absence with concussion-like symptoms and finished 3 for 4 with an RBI.

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Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino.


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