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.