CHICAGO -- Brian Roberts' long-awaited appearance at Wrigley Field generated far less buzz than the relentless offseason trade rumors that had the Orioles' second baseman all but fitted for a Chicago Cubs' uniform.
But by the time the middle innings arrived last night, the Cubs' faithful were well aware of the effect Roberts can have on a game. They would have to wait a couple of innings to learn about the Orioles' steely nerved closer.
Roberts had three hits, including the 1,000th of his career, and an RBI triple, and George Sherrill got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning in the Orioles' 7-5 victory before an announced 41,537 in their first trip to Wrigley Field.
The Orioles (39-36) survived some anxious moments to do what no team has been able to do since May 17, beating the Cubs (48-29) at home and ending their 14-game home winning streak that was their longest since 1936. If the Cubs had won last night, it would have been their longest home winning streak in 118 years.
"Typical finish for us, I guess. It's always exciting, never a dull moment. That's Orioles baseball for you," said outfielder Luke Scott, who had two hits including a two-run triple.
Despite the Orioles taking a 7-1 lead in the top of the sixth, the Cubs knocked Jeremy Guthrie out of the game in the seventh, thanks to Jim Edmonds' three-run homer. They scored another run in the eighth and then had the winning run at first base and no one out in the ninth.
However, Sherrill, who was brought in to get the final out of the eighth inning, struck out the side to record his 26th save. Ronny Cedeno, Kosuke Fukudome and Henry Blanco all stepped up to the plate and were shut down by Sherrill.
"He's unbelievable," Roberts said. "I've never seen anything like it. Our saying is, 'Never in doubt, Georgie, never in doubt.' But gosh, I'm starting to doubt. He's killing me out there, he's killing all of us. But shoot, it's fun. I don't think he ever doubts himself, and that's all that matters."
The Orioles improved to 2-2 on this road trip and have now won five straight road series openers and eight of 10. In those two instances where the Orioles have not won the road series openers, they've been swept by the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays.
In the Orioles' first trip to Wrigley Field, Roberts, whom the Cubs coveted in the offseason, was at the center of everything, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs. Before the game, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who also made his return to Wrigley Field after serving as Cubs president and chief executive officer for 12 years, was asked why the trade wasn't completed and Roberts wasn't the Cubs' second baseman.
MacPhail said Roberts is "right where he ought to be. You'll see it here in these three games. Sometimes it's as he goes, we go."
MacPhail looked prophetic last night as the Orioles knocked Cubs starter Sean Marshall out of the game in the fifth inning on Kevin Millar's RBI single, which came two batters after Nick Markakis hit a run-scoring double to plate Roberts. They added three more in the sixth, one of them scoring on Roberts' RBI triple, the 1,000th hit of his career. The rest of the game was all about survival.
"I think it was apropos that [Roberts] comes here to Chicago tonight and he plays the way he did," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.