Orioles rally in eighth to win fifth straight
Huff's homer snaps tie; Mora, Roberts contribute with bats
BALTIMORE -- This was the kind of series that the Orioles didn't experience too often last year. Late rallies, strong relief pitching, timely hitting -- it all came together this weekend against the Mariners in a way that rarely seemed to happen on a regular basis last season.
Starter Daniel Cabrera gave up a pair of solo homers in the first inning and later allowed a runner to score while arguing with an umpire. No matter, he made it through six innings and kept the Orioles in the game, and Melvin Mora and Brian Roberts came up with key hits, and then Aubrey Huff's solo homer in the eighth gave the Orioles a 5-4 victory before 10,774 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday afternoon.
The victory stretched the Orioles' winning streak to five -- one short of last year's best -- and completed a sweep of the four-game series. The Orioles (5-1) went just 2-7 against Seattle (2-5) last year but did everything right this weekend.
"Well, you've got to do an awful lot of things right to win four games in a row against a good team like Seattle," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "We got great pitching out of the bullpen, timely hitting and played good defense. We did an awful lot of things right ... but you've got to like to like the way we compete."
This was the team's first four-game sweep since Aug. 6-9, 2004 against Texas, and the Orioles meet the Rangers in a three-game road series starting on Tuesday in Arlington.
Trembley said he wants the team to take things one at-bat at a time and one game at a time, since that makes everything simpler. But he said the Orioles are more confident with this year's team, since so many new people are contributing.
"Never underestimate what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it," Trembley said. "It's great for our team, and I think success builds confidence, no question about it, especially at this level."
It was a mix of new and old that contributed to this victory. Brian Roberts went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Melvin Mora had a two-run homer, and Huff added the game-winning shot on his second homer of the season.
The bullpen was crucial once again. Jamie Walker, Dennis Sarfate and George Sherrill, who got his fourth save, combined to allow just one hit in three shutout innings.
The bullpen now has allowed just two runs in 21 1/3 innings with a sparkling 0.84 ERA.
"It's the best bullpen in the league, in my eyes," Sarfate said. "It's fun to sit out there, knowing we have a chance to win every game."
The Orioles had to work for that chance to win the game. Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with his homer, and Raul Ibanez added another moments later for the quick 2-0 lead. But Roberts' RBI double in the third, followed by Mora's two-run homer gave the Orioles the 3-2 lead.
Seattle pushed ahead with single runs in the fourth and fifth. The tying run in the fourth came when Adrian Beltre scored as Cabrera forgot about him while arguing a call at first base.
Beltre was at third, and Cabrera was trying to complete a 3-6-1 double play, and started complaining to umpire Paul Nauert about his safe call, and Beltre alertly scooted home from third.
The Mariners took the lead in fifth, but the Orioles tied it in the bottom half when Roberts drove in Adam Jones with a single. A key play in that inning came when Luis Hernandez (2-for-2) laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that moved Jones to third after a lead-off double.
Huff completed the comeback in the eighth, blasting a 386-foot shot over the wall in right-center on the first pitch he saw from Eric O'Flaherty (0-1).
"Kevin [Millar] made a quick out on a fastball," Huff said. "I was thinking he would probably try to get ahead of me too, try to sneak [a fastball] by me. I know it's early, but we know we just swept a pretty good team over there."
Sherrill retired the Mariners in order in the ninth to complete the sweep.
"We're in here to win baseball games," Millar said. "We're playing great. It's a 100 percent team effort. It's a different guy every night. We're getting great pitching out of our bullpen. It's what you need."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.