BALTIMORE -- It sure didn't take long for Buck Showalter to bring out the best in the Baltimore Orioles.
Luke Scott homered for the third straight game and Baltimore beat Ervin Santana and the Los Angeles Angels 9-7 on Wednesday night to improve to 2-0 under their new manager.Felix Pie had three hits and three RBIs for the Orioles, who will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Thursday night. Baltimore is already assured its fifth series win of the season -- in 35 tries.The Orioles still own the worst record in the majors (34-73). But they've looked sharp under Showalter, who has been asked to revive a franchise headed toward a 13th consecutive losing season.Baltimore went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position after going 5-for-11 in Showalter's debut Tuesday night. The Orioles were 4-for-35 in their previous five games combined.After losing eight of nine before Showalter arrived, Baltimore has its first winning streak since the All-Star break.Adam Jones, who had three hits and scored three runs, gives all the credit to the new guy."He's been on some winning ballclubs. He knows what it takes," Jones said. "Everybody knows his reputation around here. They know it as someone who's going to get on you, and it's working for us. He's looking at all the small things that are going on, the mental mistakes, and we haven't made too many."Under Showalter, it's play well or pay the price."Hey, let's get it done. You might as well. You don't want him on you," Jones said. "I think that's the approach a lot of guys are taking. Hey, let him sit in there with that scowl. If it works, it works."The Orioles led 9-1 after six innings and then held on."When you get to six innings, it's can we keep them from scoring eight runs before we get nine outs?" Showalter said. "I kind of break it down that way. And we did."The victory came at a cost. Second baseman Brian Roberts left with a bruised left shin, third baseman Josh Bell hurt his hamstring and reliever David Hernandez sprained his left ankle and appears headed for the 15-day disabled list.The Orioles got some help in this one. Los Angeles closed to 9-7 on an RBI double by Torii Hunter in the ninth inning, but then he was caught stealing for the first out of the inning."That was stupid, stupid. I can't take it back. I killed the rally," Hunter said. "Terrible. I thought I saw something. It's the dumbest thing I've done in years. ... Even in Little League, you're told not to make the first out at third."Manager Mike Scioscia said, "There was no real advantage in that. Torii isn't feeling good about it."Orioles rookie Brian Matusz (4-11) allowed one run and seven hits in six innings to earn his first home win in 11 starts. He was 0-7 with a 5.55 ERA at Camden Yards."I have thrown some good games here at home. It's just that I haven't been able to come away with a win," Matusz said. "It is nice to get that."Scott's 20th homer of the season highlighted a five-run fourth inning that put Baltimore ahead 9-1. The two-run drive was the third of five successive two-out hits against Santana, including a two-run single by Ty Wigginton.Santana (10-8) allowed nine runs and 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. The only other time the right-hander yielded as many as nine runs was against the New York Yankees on July 8, 2007."It was one of those nights when you can throw anything and they can hit it," Santana said.The Angels made a game of it by getting seven hits -- including two by Mike Napoli -- in a five-run seventh. It was their most productive inning since a five-run eighth against the Colorado Rockies on June 27.After Koji Uehara struck out the side in the eighth, Alfredo Simon gave up Hunter's double in the ninth en route to recording his 16th save.Hunter had two of the Angels' season-high seven doubles.The loss dropped Los Angeles under .500 (54-55) after 109 games for the first time since 2003 (53-56). The Angels have dropped 10 of their last 13 overall and six of seven on the road.Baltimore went up 3-0 in the second inning when Jones doubled and scored on a triple by Pie, who came home on a single by Bell. Roberts added a run-scoring grounder.Pie hit an RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-0.Los Angeles got a fourth-inning run when Howie Kendrick doubled and scored on a groundout by Napoli.
The game was delayed by rain in the sixth inning for 24 minutes. ... Los Angeles center fielder Peter Bourjos got his first major league hit, an infield single in the top of the third. He also recorded his first assist. ... ... The Angels stole four bases, bringing to 26 the number of consecutive successful attempts against Baltimore since June 23. The streak ended with Hunter's try in the ninth.