Orioles 12, Pirates 6

The Baltimore Orioles have been smacking the baseball all over

the park lately, and the best part about their offensive barrage is

there’s no telling who the star will be in any particular game.

Steve Pearce became the latest role player to make an

impression, hitting his first homer of the season and driving in a

career-high five runs, and the Orioles cruised past the Pittsburgh

Pirates 12-6 Thursday night for a three-game sweep.

Matt Wieters had four hits and five RBIs, and Mark Reynolds

contributed four hits and a home run to help Baltimore win its

fifth straight. The only other time the Orioles had two players

with at least five RBIs was on June 13, 1999, when Cal Ripken had

six and Will Clark tallied five in a 22-1 rout of Atlanta.

Pearce was toiling in the New York Yankees farm system earlier

this month before Baltimore got him for cash. On this night, he was

worth his weight in gold.

”Taking advantage of the opportunity, providing some

versatility, putting some good at-bats together in a very short

look so far,” manager Buck Showalter said of the newcomer.

The same can be said for Steve Tolleson, whose homer off Cliff

Lee last weekend sparked a comeback win over Philadelphia.

”We’ve got a lot of guys who can do that. It really gives us

versatility in the lineup,” said Chris Davis, who scored three

runs.

Said Showalter: ”You’re going to have some situations where in

order to remain consistent as a club you’re going to have to have

some of your depth come up and make a contribution. That’s been the

case so far.”

With Pearce and Wieters leading the way, Baltimore built a 10-0

lead. Much of the damage came against former Oriole Erik Bedard,

who yielded seven runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.

The 12 runs and 16 hits were season highs for Baltimore. The

Orioles hit eight doubles, their most since amassing nine against

the Angels on Aug. 14, 2009.

”Early on we were pitching really well, winning a lot of close

games,” Davis said. ”Now we’re scoring a lot of runs. As of late

the bats have started to heat up and the pitching has still been

there. It’s kind of the offense’s turn to pull their weight.”

Baltimore moved 11 games over .500 (37-26) and within a

half-game of the first-place Yankees in the AL East. The Orioles

outscored Pittsburgh 27-13 in their fifth series sweep of the year,

matching their total from last season.

Rod Barajas homered for the Pirates, who came to Camden Yards

tied for first place and riding a four-game winning streak. The

only other time Pittsburgh was swept this season was April 10-12 by

the Los Angeles Dodgers.

”The sky’s not going to be falling now that we got swept here

in Baltimore,” manager Clint Hurdle said. ”We are looking forward

to getting out of here, I can tell you that. We got wiped out here.

We got outplayed for three days.”

Orioles starter Tommy Hunter (3-3) retired the first 12 batters

he faced but ended up allowing five runs and seven hits in six

innings. He was 0-2 in his previous seven starts since April

24.

Bedard (4-7) struggled from the outset in his worst outing since

he allowed nine runs against the Yankees on May 28, 2008, as a

member of the Seattle Mariners. It was Bedard’s second start in

Baltimore since being traded to Seattle in February 2008; in those

two games the left-hander yielded 10 runs over 6 2-3 innings.

The Orioles sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning

and scored all four runs with two outs. After Wieters hit an RBI

single, Reynolds doubled in a run and Pearce added a two-run

double.

Doubles by Davis and Wieters made it 5-0 in the third. In the

fourth, Wieters singled in two runs before Pearce launched a

three-run shot off Doug Slaten. It was his first homer since May

25, 2011, with Pittsburgh.

”It is nice playing against the Pirates,” Pearce said. ”It

just feels good having a great game and helping contribute to this

win.”

Hunter’s perfect outing was ruined when Andrew McCutchen singled

leading off the fifth. Two outs later, Barajas hit a three-run

drive.

Pittsburgh closed to 10-5 in the sixth, but Baltimore got a run

in the bottom half on successive doubles by Adam Jones and

Wieters.

Reynolds hit a solo shot in the eighth off Jared Hughes.

NOTES: Orioles leadoff hitter Brian Roberts scored the game’s

first run and went 1 for 5 in his third game back from a 13-month

layoff with a concussion. .. Pirates RHP Charlie Morton underwent

season-ending elbow surgery in Florida on Thursday. He was 2-6

before being placed on the disabled list June 1. … The Orioles

send Brian Matusz to the mound in Atlanta on Friday night.

Pittsburgh heads to Cleveland, where James McDonald (5-2) starts

against the Indians. … Baltimore improved to 7-2 in interleague

play after going 7-11 last year.