The Baltimore Orioles were staring at the possibility of a winless homestand. Instead, they have a chance to take to the road on a positive note when they wrap up their series with the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
Baltimore's struggles at Camden Yards have dropped it into a tie for third with Tampa Bay in the AL East, five games off the pace set by the Yankees (28-17). The Orioles (24-21), though, defeated New York 3-2 in 10 innings Tuesday on Nate McLouth's walkoff homer.
''We really needed this win,'' said outfielder Chris Dickerson, who had two solo homers. ''This team continues to grind, continues to push forward even when the chips are down. Nate came up huge. This was one of those things that can turn it around.''
The win came a night after the Yankees rallied against closer Jim Johnson and went on to a 6-4 victory in 10 innings. However, Johnson pitched a perfect inning for the win Tuesday to help Baltimore snap a six-game overall losing streak and seven-game slide at home.
The Orioles now have a chance to wrap up their eight-game homestand with two victories before facing Toronto and Washington on the road for the next six games.
"It was nice to win, period,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''Anytime, regardless of yesterday and the day before. We don't get bogged down in that woe is me and this means that. You've got to keep turning the page.''
That may be a challenge with the Yankees turning to Hiroki Kuroda (6-2, 1.99 ERA), who will try to win his third consecutive start and shut down Baltimore for the second time this year. The right-hander scattered two hits and one walk in eight innings of a 5-0 victory over Toronto on Friday, giving him a 5-1 mark and 1.38 ERA in his past seven starts.
Kuroda notched his fifth shutout at the Orioles' expense April 14, tossing a five-hitter in a 3-0 victory. He is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in three lifetime starts versus Baltimore and will be making his first appearance at Camden Yards.
After a strong start to the season, Jason Hammel (5-2, 5.72) is trying to rediscover that form after being hit hard in his last two outings. He allowed season worsts of seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 12-10 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday, and has been reached for 13 runs and 18 hits in 8 2-3 innings in the past two appearances.
"I'm missing out over the plate, arm-side with my fastball," Hammel, whose ERA has jumped 1.62 runs his last two starts, told the team's official website. "It's a pretty simple fix, but for right now, it's seemingly a little bit difficult for me."
Hammel beat the Yankees on April 13, giving up three runs - two on solo homers - in six innings of a 5-3 victory. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 5.82 ERA in nine starts and 15 lifetime appearances versus New York.
The Yankees have scored four or fewer runs in all eight of their road losses. They led 1-0 in the first inning Tuesday but lost for the first time in 20 games when scoring first this season.
''We have to do a better job of adding on when we do score runs early,'' Wells said.