Roberts hopes to double up on records

Roberts hopes to double up on records

BALTIMORE -- Brian Roberts broke his own record in the Orioles' 10-5 win over the Rays on Tuesday, and he'll have his eyes on bigger game Wednesday and for the rest of the season. Baltimore's second baseman set a new franchise record with his 52nd double of the year, and he's just three away from tying the alltime mark for doubles by a switch-htter.

That record was set by Lance Berkman in 2001, and Roberts is also within striking distance of the all-time record for doubles by a second baseman. That one -- 60 by Charlie Gehringer in 1936 -- may be a little harder to reach. And for Roberts, it seems like everywhere he goes he finds people talking about the same topic.

"It comes up at times," he said. "[Evan] Longoria before the game was making fun of me for hitting third, and he said, 'I guess if you keep hitting doubles, there's no reason not to.' It's just kind of one of those things, just like anybody who hits 40 homers or 35 homers. ... When you do a lot of something, everybody says something."

Roberts also holds the second-highest mark (51) for doubles by an Orioles player, and he's tied for third place (50). Earlier this season, the two-time All-Star became one of four players all-time -- along with Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Paul Waner and Stan Musial -- to amass three 50-double seasons in his career.

Roberts met that distinction with humility, a trait he showed once again after setting the team record on Tuesday.

"It's something that, when it's all said and done and I'm old and I have my grandkids sitting on my knee, I might look back and enjoy it," he said. "But right now, it's just kind of try to play games and help these young guys along and get us ready for next year."

Roberts batted third on Tuesday night, a chance for manager Dave Trembley to protect cleanup man Nick Markakis. The Orioles may reprise that strategy on Wednesday, but Trembley isn't one to tip his hand.

"When all is said and done, the guy is going to have a tremendous season," said Trembley. "Roberts is a special player, a special person. He means a lot to the team. I think especially going down the stretch, he's picked his game up. He certainly kept his part of the bargain. He said he'd continue to play hard. He's gotten some big hits."

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Chris Tillman (2-3, 4.91 ERA)
Tillman has pitched relatively well for the Orioles and has completed at least five innings in eight of his first nine big league outings. The 21-year-old is coming off an adrenaline-fueled victory over the Yankees and will be facing Tampa Bay for the second time in his brief career. Tillman also faced the Rays in mid-August and took the loss.

TB: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (6-9, 7.15 ERA)
Sonnanstine was relegated to the bullpen after his last start against the Yankees on Sept. 7, when he allowed eight earned runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander has experienced a rough year that saw him begin the season in the Rays' rotation -- which is where he spent all of the 2008 season -- then get optioned to Triple-A Durham on June 27.

Bird bites
Baltimore's five-run comeback on Tuesday night was the team's biggest since returning from a nine-run deficit to beat the Red Sox in late June. ... Matt Wieters had just his second game with more than one extra-base hit on Tuesday. ... Baltimore has allowed at least one run in the first inning in seven consecutive and nine of its past 10 games. ... The Orioles are 38-31 when they score first and 21-54 when their opponent draws first blood. Baltimore is 53-34 when it scores four runs or more and 6-51 when it scores fewer than four runs. ... Eighteen of the Orioles' past 36 losses have come by two runs or less. Baltimore is 26-36 in games decided by one or two runs this season.

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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
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•  Official game notes

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On radio
• 105.7 The Fan

Up next
• Thursday: Orioles (Mark Hendrickson, 5-4, 4.43) vs. Rays (Wade Davis, 0-1, 8.38), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 10-14, 5.06) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 5-3, 3.66), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (David Hernandez, 4-8, 4.50) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 13-7, 3.29), 7:05 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.