"You've got to work for every out," said manager Dave Trembley. "You can't take anything for granted. You've got to make pitches all the time. It's been a tough go, but you go through it. ... Maybe this will get us started in the right direction. Our starters have pitched some good games in the last two weeks. We just haven't won."
Truth be told, pitching was an afterthought for much of Saturday's game, a luxury afforded by Baltimore's eight-run and eight-hit outburst in the second inning. The first three runs scored on an error, a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch before the floodgates opened with Aubrey Huff's three-run homer.
Seven of the O's nine starters reached base and scored during that rally, giving Eaton all the breathing room he'd need. Designated hitter Luke Scott singled and scored twice in the second, and later on, Nick Markakis, Lou Montanez and Adam Jones swelled the score with a homer apiece.
Trembley, in fact, said that the rout had its roots in a shutout from the night before. The Orioles (13-18) were humbled by CC Sabathia on Friday and thus all the more motivated to break out Saturday.
"That says a lot about their efforts and preparation," he said. "Guys aren't satisfied. I think tonight was really a way for them to answer back after a real tough night and facing one of the premiere pitchers in baseball. And you've got to give [hitting coach Terry Crowley] a lot of credit because he had the hitters ready tonight."
"No one likes getting shoved against," added Scott, who scored three times. "Sabathia did a great job last night. You can only tip your hat to him, but today, we came out with a purpose."
Baltimore set a season high in runs scored and tied a season high with 16 hits, but it took an all-around effort from everyone in the lineup. Four players -- Jones, Markakis, Scott and catcher Gregg Zaun -- had at least three hits, and four more scored multiple runs. The O's four home runs also tied a season high.
Furthermore, the Orioles hadn't scored eight runs or recorded eight hits in an inning since last August.
"That was a lot of fun to watch," said Eaton of the onslaught. "You can't give those guys enough credit. [Phil] Hughes had come out and started real hot since he'd been called up, so it was nice to see what those guys were able to do. It speaks volumes for what they're capable of, especially after a tough night like they had last night."
Eaton, meanwhile, was never really able to settle in. The right-hander threw more than 20 pitches in the first inning before escaping unscathed, and he got a key double play to escape the second. Melvin Mora helped Eaton out with two key plays in the third, and then the momentum began to shift in the fourth.
New York heaped some subtle pressure on Eaton by drawing three walks to start the fourth, alarming Trembley enough that he got Brian Bass up in the bullpen. Eaton was able to escape on a sacrifice fly and a double play, and he gave up two home runs before working his way out of the fifth.
"The stuff was there, but it was a rough night otherwise," Eaton said. "I was glad to get through five innings. The story is the way the offense came out and put up a big number in the second inning."
That may be the story, but the pitching trend is an interesting corollary. The Orioles have seen their starting pitchers complete six innings eight times in their past 15 games, but they've allowed fewer than three earned runs just twice in that span. For the season, Baltimore's starting staff has racked up an 8-14 record and a 5.49 ERA.
"For us, it's no different than anything else," Trembley said regarding his rotation. "It's about the team and you need contributions from everybody and we need each other to pick each other up. When one part's not going real well, you can't dwell on it. The other parts have got to pick them up."