(Sports Network) - The hiring of Buck Showalter appears to have had an immediate impact on the Baltimore Orioles, who'll be trying to achieve a sweep of the fading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when the two teams conclude a three-game series tonight at Camden Yards.
The Orioles have won their first two contests since Showalter took over as the team's manager, following up a 6-3 triumph in Tuesday's opener of this set with last night's 9-7 decision. With a victory tonight, Baltimore will have its first series sweep of the Angels since taking four consecutive meetings in Anaheim from July 17-20, 2003.
Baltimore roared out to a 9-1 lead after four innings of Wednesday's tilt, then held off a late comeback attempt by the Angels to prevail. Felix Pie led the O's offensive outburst by going 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Adam Jones also had three hits and scored three times in the win. Luke Scott added a two- run homer for the Orioles, with Ty Wigginton contributing two hits and a pair of RBI.
"Everybody is swinging the bat great," said Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. "It's certainly something that we're all excited about."
Baltimore starter Brian Matusz (4-11) did his part as well, with the rookie holding the Angels to one run over the first six innings en route to the win.
The Angels did make things interesting against the Orioles bullpen, however, scoring five times in the top of the seventh and once more in the ninth before Alfredo Simon got the final three outs to notch his 16th save.
Torii Hunter doubled home Anaheim's final run to cap off a 4-for-5 night, while Maicer Izturis delivered a two-RBI double during the Angels' big seventh inning. Erick Aybar, Bobby Abreu and Mike Napoli all ended 2-for-5 with an RBI for the Halos, who couldn't overcome a forgettable showing from starter Ervin Santana.
The Orioles ripped Santana (10-8) for nine runs and 12 hits before the right- hander was removed after only 3 2/3 innings.
"The bats woke up a little bit late," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "For Ervin, I think his fastball command wasn't quite there."
The loss was the Angels' 10th in their last 13 outings and dropped the three- time defending American League champions to one game under .500 (54-55) for the season.
The Angels have also lost in each of Dan Haren's first two starts since the former Arizona ace was acquired from the Diamondbacks on July 25. The standout right-hander, who draws the assignment for tonight's finale, certainly pitched well enough to win in his last time out, however, tossing a complete-game five-hitter with six strikeouts in a tough-luck 2-1 setback to Texas last Saturday.
Haren's Angels debut was cut short after 4 2/3 innings when he was struck in his right forearm by a line drive from Boston's Kevin Youkilis on July 26. He had racked up eight strikeouts before exiting, but was reached for a pair of runs in Anaheim's 6-3 loss to the Red Sox.
The three-time All-Star, who was 7-8 with a 4.60 earned run average in 21 starts prior to the trade, does own a 4-2 lifetime record and a 3.30 ERA over seven career starts against the Orioles, whom he hasn't faced since 2007. Haren has excellent career numbers at Camden Yards as well, having posted a 3-0 mark and a 1.67 ERA in four previous appearances at the venue.
Rookie Jake Arrieta will try to pitch Baltimore to the sweep and end a string of shaky individual performances when he takes the mound this evening. The well-regarded right-hander has allowed 13 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his last three starts, taking a loss in one and a no-decision in the two others.
Arrieta has also walked 13 batters during that span and issued five free passes in last Friday's start at Kansas City. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings that night and surrendered three runs while not factoring in the final outcome of his team's 7-5 loss.
Since being promoted from Triple-A Norfolk in mid-June, Arrieta has gone 3-3 with a 5.47 ERA in 10 starts. The 24-year-old has an subpar 7.36 ERA over his first five tilts at Camden Yards, however.
The Angels won eight of 10 bouts with the Orioles last season, including five of six tests held at Camden Yards, and had won three in a row as the visitor in this series before Tuesday's loss.