BALTIMORE – On a day the Orioles welcomed Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson and Mike Mussina back to the ballpark, Baltimore's less heralded 2022 team thrilled the home crowd again.
Ryan McKenna hit a two-run double in the fifth inning, and the Orioles won their fifth straight game, 6-3 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
The Orioles celebrated the 30th anniversary of Camden Yards with a pregame ceremony that included Murray and Mussina, and Robinson and Murray addressed the team before the game. McKenna, Jorge Mateo and Austin Voth aren't household names like that Hall of Fame trio — but they helped add some more present-year excitement to all the nostalgia.
“When there's 40,000 fans out there and they're showing up, yeah, it's definitely a playoff atmosphere,” Voth said. “That fuels us as players for sure.”
Oneil Cruz hit a two-run homer for Pittsburgh in the fourth to cut an early Baltimore lead to one, but McKenna came through as a pinch-hitter the following inning, putting the Orioles up 5-2 with a big two-out hit to left.
Baltimore has now won 21 of its last 28 games and is one game out of the last wild card in the American League. The Orioles (56-51) have already reached their highest win total in five years.
Voth (2-1) allowed three runs and six hits in five-plus innings for Baltimore, and the bullpen handled the final 12 outs.
JT Brubaker (2-10) allowed three runs and eight hits in four innings.
“Fought fastball command, especially the first two innings,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Threw a ton of pitches in the second and was just in the middle of the plate.”
Terrin Vavra opened the scoring with a run-scoring single in the first, and the Orioles added two more in the second on an RBI single by Mateo and a run-scoring double by Brett Phillips.
Ke'Bryan Hayes hit an RBI single for the Pirates to make it 5-3 in the sixth. Cedric Mullins hit a sacrifice fly for the Orioles in the seventh.
Pittsburgh brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth after the first two batters reached base, but Mateo, Baltimore's shortstop, went diving to his left to start a sparkling double play on a sharp grounder by Hayes.
The Orioles are 5 for 28 with runners in scoring position over the past two games, which shows how consistently they've put men on base. They haven't paid a price for leaving many of them on.
Umpire Carlos Torres (illness) was out, leaving the crew with three people until replacement Alex Tosi arrived a few batters in.
Murray, whose 500th homer came at Camden Yards in 1996, was asked what he thought of the ballpark's new wall in left field, which has been pushed back this year.
“Still hit it over," he said matter-of-factly.
The attendance of 41,086 was the biggest of the year at the ballpark, aside from opening day.
“It's awesome,” McKenna said. “The support that we feel when we're on the field when there's that many people in the stands is incredible. They're a big part of it.”
Pittsburgh won Game 7 of the World Series at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium in 1971 and 1979, but the Pirates are just 1-11 in their occasional visits to Camden Yards.
Orioles: OF Austin Hays (side) missed a third straight game, but manager Brandon Hyde said he could be ready in the next couple days.
Baltimore tries for a three-game sweep with Spenser Watkins (4-1) on the mound against Pittsburgh's Bryse Wilson (1-6) on Sunday.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports