BALTIMORE - Whether it was poor performances from the bullpen or a lack of clutch hits, the Baltimore Orioles did not look like the winning team they became in 2012 during their six-game losing streak entering Tuesday.
In Tuesday's game against the New York Yankees, everything was back to normal.
Baltimore closer Jim Johnson pitched a perfect top of the 10th, Chris Dickerson smashed a pair of home runs and Nate McLouth hit a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th lifting the Orioles to a 3-2 win before 29,040 at Camden Yards.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided to let McLouth face left-handed reliever Vidal Nuno (1-1) to lead off the 10th. The move paid off, as the Baltimore left fielder drilled a 1-1 pitch over the right-center field wall in his first career at-bat against the Yankees reliever.
"It was important kind of just to put that little streak behind us," McLouth said. "Walk-offs are always exciting."
It was the Orioles' (24-21) second walk-off homer of the season and the second of McLouth's career. Showalter said he considered pinch-hitting for McLouth, but felt more comfortable with McLouth up.
"We talked about Nuno coming in," Showalter said. "Nate's an easy guy to trust. Plus, if he can get on base there it brings a lot of things into play that he's good at."
Johnson (2-4) had not had the best of weeks. He blew three saves during the six-game skid. While Monday's appearance was not a save situation, Johnson said it was good to return to form, although it wasn't in the ninth.
"It wasn't the way we would've drawn it up. Obviously it would've been better if it was in the ninth instead of the 10th," Johnson said. "There's a lot more good things to talk about."
One of those things was Dickerson's performance. Dickerson, who started in center field, twice tied the game with solo homers, and went 3 for 4 to extend his hit streak to seven games.
He tied the game 1-1 to lead off the third, hitting a solo homer to right-center on the 10th pitch of his at-bat. Dickerson blasted his second homer in his second at-bat, this one to the flag court in right, for his first career multi-homer game.
He is the first Oriole to homer twice in a game since Chris Davis and Manny Machado both did it on Sept. 26, 2012. Dickerson said it was "absolutely" the best night of his major-league career and his work in batting practice is paying off.
"Finally just to have that come out in a game against a former team is great," Dickerson said.
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez had a great outing in his first start since May 4. He pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits, as he struck out five and had zero walks.
Both of New York's (28-17) runs came on Travis Hafner RBI singles early.
New York starter Phil Hughes had a quality start, giving up two runs on five hits over six innings, with the lone blemishes being Dickerson's home runs. The Yankees entered the game at an AL record 19-0 when they score first.
That run came to an end on Tuesday.
McLouth said that it's important to snap a losing streak before it gets too extensive, and is glad he doesn't have to hear about it anymore.
"Those are the things that can kind of start to build on themselves and start to gain momentum," McLouth said. "It's good that we don't have to hear the same questions tomorrow, that's for sure."
Dickerson added the win came at an ideal time, and it was also the type of win that can trigger a hot streak.
"We really needed this win," Dickerson said. "Everything's about momentum and Nate came up huge. Those are the things that it takes to turn things around."