Orioles power past Pirates

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

It took the Baltimore Orioles only six innings to go 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 May from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates have allowed more than 10 hits in a game eight times this season.

It was the second consecutive subpar outing for Lincoln, who allowed three earned runs over 41/3 innings. He lasted four innings last week against the Cincinnati Reds, surrendering five earned runs on six hits.

"The breaking ball wasn't consistent," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The four-seam fastball didn't have the finish we've seen."

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

"When you see guys putting swings on balls like that and doing damage, usually more than not, the ball is up in the zone," Lincoln said. "I was missing spots, and it got me today."

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

Though the pitching staff never allowed the offense a chance to catch up, Pirates 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 with a two-run homer to left, his fourth this season.

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

"Maybe it's a little different mindset, but we need to get him back on track if we're going to keep him in the rotation," said Hurdle, who added Lincoln is scheduled to start Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.

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

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

Lincoln served up two of the Orioles' home run on 2-0 counts.

"He pitched himself into some bad locations," Hurdle said.

The first came in the second and allowed the Orioles escape an early deficit. With Adam Jones on third, Lincoln threw a hanging breaking ball to Mark Reynolds, and Reynolds drove it into the left-field seats. With the Pirates trailing, 3-1, in the fifth, Lincoln elevated a fastball to Jones, who slammed it to left.

Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed four earned runs and eight hits in 61/3 innings.

After a shaky first, Chen handled the Pirates until he served up a homer to Casey McGehee in the sixth, McGehee's second homer this season. He finished 2 for 3 with two walks.

The Orioles added to their lead in the third with a two-out rally that Lincoln nearly avoided. He was one pitch away from finishing 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 center, the first of three consecutive singles the Orioles would hit. The last -- a bloop to center by Jones -- scored Hardy from third and made the score 3-1.


Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino. First Published June 13, 2012 4:45 AM


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