Coming to the rescue
The Orioles' bullpen needed a break. Daniel Cabrera needed a victory. Both missions were accomplished. Looking for his first win since May 20, Cabrera shook off a home run by the first batter of the game, David DeJesus, and turned in a sterling performance. He retired 14 straight batters before DeJesus singled in the eighth. He threw 77 pitches through seven innings and 85 through eight. The bullpen didn't stir until Jim Johnson started throwing in the ninth. Cabrera allowed two runs and seven hits while going the distance for the second time in two starts against the Royals this season. He's 5-0 against them lifetime.
Reaching his total
Aubrey Huff hit 15 home runs last year. In 80 games this season, Huff has the same number. No. 15 came last night, a two-run shot in the first inning that scored Brian Roberts, who led off with a double. Huff also took over the team lead, breaking a tie with Luke Scott. Huff underwent hernia surgery over the winter that disrupted his usual offseason. A notoriously slow starter, he has found the change beneficial at the plate. Not that he plans to go under the knife every year.
Catcher Ramon Hernandez batted fourth in the lineup for the first time this season. Manager Dave Trembley wanted a right-handed hitter to break up left-handers Nick Markakis, Huff and Scott. Hernandez did more than that. Continuing his recent surge, Hernandez collected three singles and drove in a run. He has hit safely in 13 of his past 16 games. He has also been delivering with runners on base. These hits aren't cheapies to pad his stats.
This four-game series comes to an end tonight (7:05), with Garrett Olson taking the mound for the Orioles. Olson threw 99 pitches in five innings Saturday night in Washington, but he held the Nationals to one run and picked up the win. Olson also defeated Kansas City on May 10, though he allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Kyle Davies starts for the Royals tonight. In his only career start against the Orioles, Davies got the win despite allowing five runs - including two homers - and eight hits in six innings.