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Showalter sticks with Pearce, who stays hot

NEW YORK -- Steve Pearce was back in the Orioles' starting lineup on Friday, with manager Buck Showalter riding the red-hot designated hitter as long as he can.

Pearce -- who was coming off a Rays series in which he hit .500 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs -- had a pair of run-scoring hits in the Orioles' 5-3 loss to the Yankees. He has attributed his recent success to a change in stance, something he tinkered with while on the bench.

"When you're a spot starter, you have to find some way to stay sharp," said Pearce, who has never played in more than 61 Major League games in one season. "And finding ways where if you feel the pitcher is too close, you have to find ways to start seeing the ball longer. That's part of the game. You fiddle with things. Sometimes you find something that works and sometimes you [can't], but thankfully it's gone to something that I liked and I feel comfortable with."

Pearce, who re-signed with the Orioles on April 29 after he was designated for assignment and granted free agency, has worked with hitting coach Jim Presley on closing off his stance, which he thinks allows him to let the ball travel a little further upon release.

"I feel like I have more pop," said Pearce, who hit his career-high fifth homer on Tuesday and is 6-for-12 over his past three games. "I'm seeing the ball longer and it feels comfortable."

Pearce has played in 36 games for the Orioles this season and is batting .327. He has also recently taken up the No. 2 spot in the order, which shifts third baseman Manny Machado down to seventh.

"He's done a good job for us, especially in that two-hole," Showalter said. "Trying to ride that a little bit. He's been solid."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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