The Orioles were able to put themselves in this position by way of two straight road victories, 13-4 and 7-6, respectively, in one of the toughest places to play in all of baseball: Yankee Stadium.
"The last three outs are the toughest outs to get in Yankee Stadium," said manager Dave Trembley after his team escaped with the one-run win on Tuesday night.
"I guess we play a little bit better against playoff-contending teams," said designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who was 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs on Tuesday night. "It seems we step it up a little bit more and get a little more focused. We need to try and have that kind of feeling every series."
Should the Orioles be able to have that feeling at least for one more day, they will complete their first road sweep under Trembley. And they will have to do it on the arm of right-hander Dennis Sarfate, who is making the first Major League start, taking the place of left-hander Brian Burres in the rotation.
Sarfate, who was born in Queens, N.Y., started 73 games during four years in the Brewers Minor League system, but he hasn't pitched more than 3 1/3 innings this season for the Orioles.
BAL: RHP Dennis Sarfate (4-1, 3.78 ERA)
Unaccustomed to starting, Sarfate will need time to build to a higher pitch count and will have to keep his delivery in sync to have success.
NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (3-3, 2.30 ERA)
The righty is coming off his best outing as a starter, throwing a career-high seven shutout innings on Friday in Boston in a 1-0 victory over the Red Sox. He matched a career high with nine strikeouts and threw 103 pitches. Perhaps most impressive was how he finished -- retiring the final 10 batters he faced to hold the potent Red Sox at bay at Fenway. This will be Chamberlain's first career start against the Orioles. He has already faced them four times this season in relief, allowing just four hits and one run and posting a 2.08 ERA.
Daniel Cabrera's seven-inning start on Tuesday night was the third straight game in which a starter pitched at least six innings. The Orioles were previously unable to reach that mark for eight games. ... Nick Markakis' steal of third base on Tuesday night broke a 12-game stolen-base drought for the Orioles. ... The Orioles are now batting .249 (134-for-456) since the All-Star break.
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Official game notes
Friday: Orioles (Garrett Olson, 7-5, 5.90) at Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 5-9, 4.50), 10:10 p.m. ET
Saturday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 7-8, 3.49) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 7-6, 3.02), 10:10 p.m. ET