He very rarely makes it look easy. In fact, things can get downright frightening when Brian Burres is pitching. But he often seems to be one step ahead of the hitter and capable of making a pitch when he has to. In five tough innings last night, Burres allowed seven base runners, but only one run. Vladimir Guerrero crushed an RBI double off him in the first, but Burres got him out the next two times, forcing the slugger to strand three base runners in the process.
BAEZ GETS THROUGH
It also wasn't easy for struggling reliever Danys Baez, who lost his eighth-inning role and was brought on last night and asked to hold a three-run lead in the sixth inning. Baez got a quick out, but then he walked pinch hitter Casey Kotchman and gave up a single to Howie Kendrick. But after a mound visit by pitching coach Leo Mazzone, Baez retired Mike Napoli and Shea Hillenbrand on popouts. It was the first time in five innings that he hadn't given up a run.
One of these days, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will cool off. It just doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon. Roberts went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored last night, raising his average, which hovered around the low .200s for parts of April, to .319. In May, Roberts hit safely in 25 of 28 games, scoring 20 runs and stealing 11 bases in the process. He entered last night with a .371 (39-for-105) average in May, the sixth best in the American League.
Tonight, Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera (4-5, 4.78) will oppose one of the league's best in Angels right-hander John Lackey, who is 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA. Lackey, who became the first eight-game winner in the majors when he beat the New York Yankees last weekend, is 5-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his past seven starts. Lackey is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA in seven career starts against the Orioles. Cabrera is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA in four career starts against the Angels.