Sunday, April 20, 2008

O's Try for Rare Yankees Sweep

BALTIMORE -- The revamped Orioles continued to roll on Saturday night and will go into Sunday's series finale against the Yankees with a chance to sweep New York for the first time since April 2005. Baltimore will have veteran Steve Trachsel starting on Sunday, and the Yankees will counter with southpaw Andy Pettitte.

Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said his team's success boils down to a couple elements, chief among them sturdy pitching and a patient batting order. If the Orioles are to continue thriving, he said, they have to stick to the same approach.

"What we've had is a plan, from Spring Training on," Trembley said after Saturday night's 6-0 win. "We've tried to implement that plan and get our guys to buy into it. ... I think for the most part, it's been very evident our guys are getting very deep in the count and they're not afraid to hit with two strikes.

"We try to wear down their starting pitcher so we can get in their bullpen, and the earlier you can do that, the better."

That strategy has worked in each of the past two nights, and Baltimore has run up substantial leads within the game's first six innings. Trembley even went out of his way to protect that advantage on Saturday night, when he pulled southpaw Brian Burres with two outs in the sixth inning even though he was in the middle of pitching a shutout.

Trembley defended that decision after the game, saying that Burres had pitched enough and that the Orioles need to be as careful as they can against a star-studded lineup like the one they faced on Saturday night.

"The last thing in the world we're going to do is let them get back in the game with one swing of the bat," said Trembley, acknowledging New York's home run power. "I think you've got to do it then. It's like anything else in this game -- you've got one chance to do it and you've got to see it. If you don't see it and you blink, it's going to be too late."

New York has dominated the season series in recent years, winning 22 of the past 25 seasons. The Orioles haven't gotten the best of the Yankees since 1997, racking up a 59-110 record over that span.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Steve Trachsel (1-2, 5.65 ERA)
Trachsel got knocked out before the end of the third inning in his last outing.

NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-1, 3.38 ERA)
Pettitte went 4-6 with a 4.25 ERA before the All-Star break and 11-3 with a 3.84 mark after it last season.

Bird bites
Luke Scott walked twice and singled on Saturday to extend his team-high hitting streak to seven games. ... Baltimore's shutout win on Saturday was the team's first since last September and first against New York since last August. ... The Orioles have won three straight games and improved their home record to 9-3 and their record against division rivals to 5-4.


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