BALTIMORE (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates rolled into Camden Yards riding a four-game winning streak and looking to capture their sixth straight series.
Two games later, they're trying to avoid getting swept.
Kevin Correia allowed 10 hits in six innings and Pittsburgh struggled at the plate in a 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
Combined with an 8-6 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday, the Pirates' run of series wins is over and they're mired in their first losing streak since May 22-23.
In the series opener, Pittsburgh fell behind by six runs before making it close. On Wednesday, the Pirates gave up 13 hits, went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.
``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,' 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.'
Substitute starter Jake Arrieta struck out nine over seven steady innings and Wilson Betemit had a season-high three hits and drove in three runs for the Orioles, who have won four straight.
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 manager Buck Showalter thought it was better to pitch Arrieta on four days' rest and use Matusz on Friday.
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.
``Whether he's due or not, all I know is he was very effective tonight,' Hurdle said.
The Pirates had their chances, but Arrieta shut them down in every inning except the seventh, when Walker - who struck out three times earlier - drove in a run with a bases-loaded grounder.
``Arrieta had good stuff today,' Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones said. ``We have been having a lot better at bats the last two weeks than we did tonight.'
Chris Davis hit a broken-bat homer and had three RBIs 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 Correia (2-6) with his eighth homer of the year.
The Orioles made it 7-1 in the seventh 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.
``I have never seen a guy walk out of the batter's box with four inches of wood and hit a home run,' Hurdle said. ``That was a new one for me.'
Baltimore's offensive barrage 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: Pittsburgh's Casey McGehee went 2 for 4 and has six hits in his last 10 at_bats. ... 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.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved