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Arrieta works strong in pinch in O's win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- About four hours before the Orioles faced the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Buck Showalter walked up to struggling Jake Arrieta and told the right-hander he would be replacing Brian Matusz as Baltimore's starting pitcher.

The element of surprise might have been a factor in Arrieta's exceptional performance. Unfortunately for Showalter, it's not a ploy that can be repeated.

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Arrieta struck out nine over seven steady innings, Wilson Betemit had a season-high three hits and drove in three runs, and the Orioles cruised past the Pirates 7-1 Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Demoted to the bullpen after an ineffective outing Friday night against Philadelphia, Arrieta turned out to be the logical replacement for Matusz, who fouled a baseball off his nose Tuesday during bunting practice and was at less than 100 percent.

The injury was only a bruise, but Showalter thought it was better to pitch Arrieta on four days' rest and use Matusz on Friday.

Good move.

Arrieta (3-8) was dominant in ending a six-game losing streak. He gave up one run and seven hits, and the nine strikeouts matched a career high. It was the first win since May 2 for Baltimore's opening day starter.

"I'm not going to overthink it," Showalter said. "I tapped him on the shoulder about 2:30 in the food room and said, `You're pitching tonight.' It's kind of out of the bag. I can't do it in five days now, so that's a one-time pop."

Arrieta didn't have time to think about the pressure of trying to get back on track. And that was a good thing.

"I went back to doing some things I was doing when I was successful," he said. "Kind of made some things a lot more simple than they were a couple weeks ago. I wasn't thinking as much. Going out there and really executing. I think it was nice to be out there in the bullpen for a few games and just stop thinking about some things."

Now he's back in the rotation, and Showalter can only hope for a repeat performance Monday against the Mets.

"He had a good outing tonight and I'm proud of him," the manager said. "And he served a need we had with Brian, being cautious with him. His next turn in the rotation if he took it would be on [Monday]. I don't see why anything he did tonight wouldn't dictate that he wouldn't do that."

Chris Davis hit a broken-bat homer and had three RBI for the Orioles, whose four-game home winning streak is a season high. By taking two straight from the Pirates, Baltimore clinched its third successive series win.

Betemit, who went 3 for 3 and gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead in the sixth inning against Kevin Correia (2-6) with his eighth homer of the year.

Pittsburgh, which won five consecutive series before coming to Baltimore, has lost two straight games for the first time since May 22-23.

"No. 1, we need to execute better off the mound. No. 2, when we got chances to score runs, we have to perform the offensive fundamentals to go along with that," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The game is pretty simple when you break it down, and they have outplayed us back-to-back nights. It shouldn't be any surprise to anyone here that we're down two."

Pittsburgh got its lone run in the seventh on a bases-loaded groundout by Neil Walker, who struck out his first three at-bats.

The Orioles made it 7-1 in the bottom half when J.J. Hardy got his third hit and Davis followed with his 12th home run, the second in two games. The top part of his bat flew into the Baltimore dugout as the baseball took a path over the right field wall.

Baltimore finished with 13 hits, which made it easy to overlook the 0-for-5 performance by Brian Roberts. The Orioles' leadoff hitter went 3 for 4 Tuesday in his return from a 13-month layoff with a concussion.

Baltimore got a first-inning run when Hardy singled and came home on a double by Davis.

After Pittsburgh wasted a leadoff double in the second, the Orioles went up 3-0 in the bottom half. Mark Reynolds led off with a single before Betemit hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Steve Pearce.

The Orioles added an unearned run in the fourth following an error by Pirates left fielder Alex Presley.

Notes

  • Orioles OF Endy Chavez, who strained his right hamstring Tuesday night, did not play and could be placed on DL before Baltimore begins a weekend series in Atlanta.
  • Pittsburgh has lost two in a row after winning four straight and six of seven.
  • Former Oriole LHP Erik Bedard will start for Pittsburgh in the series finale. Tommy Hunter will start for Baltimore.
  • Hardy is 5 for 9 over two games following a 1-for-15 skid.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jake Arrieta comes through in the clutch, striking out nine and allowing one run in seven innings of work against the Pirates. (AP)
Jake Arrieta comes through in the clutch, striking out nine and allowing one run in seven innings of work against the Pirates. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

W. Betemit
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Baltimore

J. Arrieta
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 1
K 9
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Presley, LF5020002 .240
Neil Walker, 2B5001033 .271
Andrew McCutchen, CF4010013 .322
Garrett Jones, DH3010011 .250
   a- Matt Hague, PH-DH1000010 .207
Casey McGehee, 1B4020010 .224
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4000012 .191
Jose Tabata, RF3120111 .233
Clint Barmes, SS3000015 .190
    Josh Harrison, SS0000100 .218
Michael McKenry, C3000012 .183
Totals35181211  
a-struck out for G. Jones in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alex Presley (7, Arrieta), Casey McGehee (7, Arrieta), Jose Tabata (10, Strop)
RBI - Neil Walker (28)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - McGehee-Barmes-Correia
E - Alex Presley (1, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kevin Correia (L,2-6) 61054111 4.43
Tony Watson 1222021 4.26
Joel Hanrahan 1100020 2.52
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Correia 94-55, Tony Watson 24-14, Joel Hanrahan 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Correia 8-8, Joel Hanrahan 1-0
Batters Faced - Kevin Correia 28, Tony Watson 5, Joel Hanrahan 4
Baltimore Orioles
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brian Roberts, 2B5000024 .333
J.J. Hardy, SS4230001 .259
Chris Davis, DH4123001 .305
Adam Jones, CF3000111 .307
Matt Wieters, C4000001 .245
Mark Reynolds, 1B4220010 .224
Wilson Betemit, 3B3233000 .231
Steve Pearce, LF4021001 .286
Ryan Flaherty, RF3010011 .186
Totals34713715  
Batting
2B - Chris Davis (10, Correia), Mark Reynolds (10, Correia), Wilson Betemit (6, Correia)
HR - Chris Davis (12, Watson), Wilson Betemit (8, Correia)
SF - Wilson Betemit (3)
SH - Ryan Flaherty (2)
RBI - Chris Davis 3 (31), Wilson Betemit 3 (26), Steve Pearce (3)
2-OUT RBI - Wilson Betemit (11)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Steve Pearce 1
Baltimore Orioles
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Arrieta (W,3-8) 7711190 5.89
Troy Patton 1000010 3.64
Pedro Strop 1100110 1.44
HBP - McKenry (by Jake Arrieta)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Arrieta 108-69, Troy Patton 10-7, Pedro Strop 19-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Arrieta 7-5, Troy Patton 1-1, Pedro Strop 2-0
Batters Faced - Jake Arrieta 30, Troy Patton 3, Pedro Strop 5
Game Information
Attendance - 23238
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Victor Carapazza, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Jim Reynolds