Share This Page

Orioles firepower cools Bucs in interleague play

| Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 10:40 p.m.
Pirates starting pitcher Brad Lincoln uses his teeth to tighten a knot on his glove as he walks off the field after the third inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Pirates' Andrew McCutchen loses his helmet as he slides into home plate for a run on a single by Matt Hague in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Orioles' Mark Reynolds, center, greets third base coach DeMarlo Hale as he rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Pirates in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Pirates starting pitcher Brad Lincoln throws to the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, of Taiwan, throws to the Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Orioles' Brian Roberts singles in the first inning of†a baseball game against the Pirates in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. It was hit first major league appearance in 13 months after a suffering a concussion. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, of Taiwan, throws to the Pirates in the second inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Orioles' Mark Reynolds watches his two-run home run in the second inning of a baseball game against the Pirates in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Adam Jones scored on the play. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Pirates starting pitcher Brad Lincoln follows through on a delivery to the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BALTIMORE — The Pirates and Baltimore Orioles, upstarts this year in their respective division races, are following similar blueprints for success.

Both teams are trying to bust losing skids that stretch back to the 1990s. Both have been buoyed by strong starting rotations and stalwart bullpens.

There is, however, one important difference.

“They've probably got a little more firepower on offense,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Orioles cranked out 15 hits Tuesday, including home runs by Mark Reynolds, Adam Jones and Chris Davis, and beat the Pirates, 8-6 at Orioles Park at Camden Yards.

The Pirates ended their four-game win streak and dropped one game behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.

The Orioles are among four teams that have six or more players who've hit at least seven home runs. The Pirates have Andrew McCutchen (11 homers), Pedro Alvarez (eight) ... and not much else. Last night, Casey McGehee hit his second homer and Neil Walker got his fourth.

Pirates starter Brad Lincoln (3-2) needed 87 pitches to navigate 4 13 innings. Plagued by poor command, the right-hander yielded four runs and nine hits.

“When you see guys putting swings on balls like that and doing damage, it means balls are up in the zone,” Lincoln said. “Missing spots got me today.”

In three spot starts this year, Lincoln is 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA. He was dazzling May 14 in a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins, but he hasn't been as sharp in his past two outings.

With only two effective pitches most nights, Lincoln, a former first-round pick, is better suited for a bullpen role. Before this season, Lincoln went 4-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 19 starts. In 19 career relief outings, he is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA.

Lincoln is slated to start Sunday against the Cleveland Indians, and there is the possibility of another spot start after that. Neither Charlie Morton (elbow) nor Jeff Karstens (shoulder, hip) is close to being ready to come off the disabled list.

“We need (Lincoln) to pitch better, and he knows that,” Hurdle said. “We have to make sure he's not just out there trying to pace himself. He was so good when he was very aggressive. We haven't seen the velocity the last couple times. We need to get him back on track, and we're going to keep him in the rotation.”

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against right-hander Wei-Yin Chen (6-2). With two outs, Andrew McCutchen reached on an infield single and stole second. He scored on Matt Hague's bouncing single up the middle.

Jones led off the bottom of the second with a squared-up double to left field. With one out and Jones at third, Lincoln struck out Wilson Betemit. But Reynolds blasted a 2-0 pitch into the left field seats.

The Orioles got another two-out run in the third on consecutive singles by J.J. Hardy, Davis and Jones.

“Definitely frustrating,” Lincoln said. “I need to focus more, bear down and put guys away.”

In the fifth, Jones launched a solo homer to left. That made it 4-1 and knocked Lincoln out of the game.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or 412-320-7811.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.