MILWAUKEE -- Two months into his new assignment, Seth McClung's sudden success still isn't going to his head.
"I feel like I can be replaced at any time. That keeps me hungry," said McClung, who became a starter on May 24 when the Brewers replaced an ineffective Carlos Villanueva in the rotation. "I want to go out and win a championship. I've never had the opportunity to be part of a team that has the potential to do that."
While McClung may feel like he's replaceable, he's the poster child for Milwaukee's turnaround after an ugly sweep in Boston in May. The Brewers, winners of five of the last six, are 18-8 since the righty joined the rotation.
Brewers manager Ned Yost said they didn't know what they'd get from McClung. Milwaukee liked the former Tampa Bay prospect in a long relief role, but as a starter, McClung was 12-20 with a 6.17 ERA following three seasons with the Rays organization.
"It was totally, 'OK, you want an opportunity? Here's an opportunity, let's see what you do with it,"' Yost said. "If he got knocked around the first three or four starts, we would have done something else. But he never let that happen. He came out and did everything that we asked him to do -- stay on the attack, throw strikes and work fast."
McClung struck out six against the Orioles and improved to 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA this month. He gave up two runs and three hits with five walks in 6 2/3 innings, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters.
"My two-seamer was moving a lot and the four-seamer was really jumping out and riding on some guys. For me, who typically throws a straight ball, it's one of those things I kind of had to wrangle in," McClung said.
He reached the seventh without allowing a run, but tired with two outs. With Adam Jones on second, pinch hitter Oscar Salazar hit his third career homer in his 35th at-bat to cut Milwaukee's lead to 3-2.
McClung (5-3) then walked Brian Roberts and was yanked for lefty Brian Shouse, who ended the threat by getting Nick Markakis to ground out.
"I got into a lot of trouble, got out of the trouble and I'm allowed to learn from it ... execute some pitches, rely on my defense and pull out a win," McClung said.
Shouse pitched a perfect eighth, striking out Luke Scott and awkwardly doing a split on the final pitch after slipping on the mound.
"I think he was more embarrassed than anything else that he slipped," Yost said.
Salomon Torres, who switched from setup to the closing role the same day McClung entered the rotation, earned his 11th save after allowing a two-out double to pinch hitter Melvin Mora in the ninth.
Prince Fielder and Hart provided all the offense McClung needed against Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera.
In the third, Fielder started a two-out rally with a single and Hart, mired in a 4-for-26 slump, hit a fastball from Cabrera (5-3) for his second homer in Miller Park this season after notching nine on the road.
"I haven't been pressing too much," Hart said. "I'm just trying to stay positive, get them when I can."
Cabrera, who had struggled with 17 walks over his previous five starts, struck out a season-high eight in six innings and didn't allow a free pass until the fifth. He gave up three runs and seven hits with three walks in all.
"Cabrera was really improved. That's a real bright spot for us. I thought he really got his delivery back and commanded his pitches," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
But a night after Baltimore's first four hitters went 10-for-19 with seven runs, the group went 1-for-14 with three strikeouts, and that gave Hart and the rest of the Brewers plenty of chances to support their newest starter.
"McClung's been nice, man," Hart said. "He's been quite a surprise for all of us. We're confident now that when he's out there we're going to get some good stuff out of him."