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Up next: Orioles

By MARC TOPKIN
Published April 29, 2005


WHAT'S NEW: After seven seasons of finishing behind the Yankees and Red Sox, the Orioles are enjoying their bird's-eye view of the division. It is the latest into a season they've been in first place since winning the division title in 1997.

INJURIES: The Orioles are relatively healthy, with only pitchers Kurt Ainsworth and Jason Grimsley and outfielder Val Majewski on the DL.

STREAKS: The Orioles have won five straight, having swept the Blue Jays in Toronto and won two in Boston before Wednesday's game was washed out. Catcher Javy Lopez has hit in eight straight games and Sammy Sosa in seven.

WHO'S HOT: Rafael Palmeiro went 7-for-18 on the five-game road trip. Melvin Mora is hitting .394 (26-for-66) over his past 16 games. Miguel Tejada is among the AL leaders with 25 RBIs. Brian Roberts is among the AL leaders in nearly every category, including home runs, triples, runs, slugging percentage, stolen bases, walks and on-base percentage.

WHO'S NOT: Jay Gibbons has one hit in his past three games.

SERIES: The Orioles won two of three this month at Tropicana Field. Overall the Orioles lead 59-57, including 30-26 at Camden Yards.

KEEP IN MIND: The Orioles have one of the most powerful top-to-bottom lineups in the game, and it shows. Going into Thursday, they led the AL in average (.303), runs (125), hits (229) and slugging percentage (.489) and were second in homers (29) and steals (22) and third in doubles (41).

THEY SAID IT: "Every day, we find someone else to do the job. From one to nine, we're all hitting good. " - Lopez to the Baltimore Sun.