Since taking over late last season, Showalter has the team playing better baseball, but there are lots of moving parts and the AL East is an unfriendly environment overall. The O's started out hot, then lost seven straight, but have since played more consistently.
With Friday's 10-4 shearing of the White Sox, the O's have won three of their last four and are out of last place in the division.
Catcher Matt Wieters had the key hits in Friday's win. With the game tied at three, Wieters blasted his 4th home run of the season, a two-run shot off White Sox starter John Danks that put the O's up 5-3. After Chicago responded with a run in the bottom of the inning, Wieters pretty much finished them off with a two-run double in the 7th, part of a five-run rally in which he also scored Baltimore's 10th run.
Weithers went 2-for-5 with four RBI and two runs. He's driven in 16 this season, but still hasn't quite found his groove, batting .260, generally out of the eight hole.
The win kept them just 1/2 game ahead of Florida in the NL East, as Ryan Howard delivered with a pair of home runs - his 5th and 6th of the season.
Howard got the Phillies started with a two-run shot in the 4th and followed it up with a grand slam in the 6th that put the game out of reach as the Phillies built an 8-0 lead.
Besides guiding Philadelphia into first place, Howard his having his usual, exceptional time at the plate, batting .302 with six home runs and 27 RBI which leads not just the National League, but the entire majors.
DIAMOND NOTES: It wasn't supposed to work out this way, but Washington's Jason Marquis outdueld the Giants' Tim Linceum, shutting down San Francisco on five hits for a 3-0 Nationals' win. Marquis fanned seven and went the distance, driving in a run with a single in the 6th. He's now 3-0, while Lincecum faded to 2-3.