The last time Jerome Williams started a major league game, the Baltimore Orioles' Buck Showalter was in the first season of a nearly four-year hiatus from managing.
Williams will try to earn his first win since 2005 on Sunday when he, surging Torii Hunter and the rest of the Los Angeles Angels try to complete a three-game sweep of Showalter's struggling Orioles.Williams (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is set to make his first start in the majors since May 15, 2007, for the Washington Nationals. Since then, he's had stints in the Oakland farm system, Taiwan and most recently the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League. He signed a minor league deal with Los Angeles on June 16 and had his contract purchased Wednesday.The right-hander made his first major league appearance in four years that same day, recording two outs and giving up two hits in a loss to Texas."It's surreal. Coming from independent ball and all this stuff. And now I'm starting," Williams told the team's official website. "I'm speechless about that. Them giving me the ball with this race going. It shows a lot in myself that I've reached a point where I'm back and can actually help somebody out."Williams has dropped eight consecutive decisions since beating Houston on Sept. 25, 2005, but could get some help in ending that drought from Hunter. The veteran outfielder is batting .418 with four homers and 13 RBIs during an 18-game hit streak that is tied for the team's best this season.Los Angeles (68-59), which trails Texas by five games atop the AL West, is seeking its first three-game sweep of Baltimore since Sept. 4-6, 2006. The Angels are in position for the sweep after rallying Saturday for a wild 9-8 win in 12 innings.The Orioles (47-76) sent the game into extras with two runs in the eighth, then scored another two in the 12th. Los Angeles responded in the bottom of the frame with three runs -- all charged to closer Kevin Gregg -- on an error, a bases-loaded walk and Bobby Abreu's sacrifice fly.Baltimore has a 5.86 staff ERA during a 12-36 stretch and a 7.39 ERA over four consecutive losses. Probable Sunday starter Brian Matusz (1-5, 8.63) has been struggling along with the rest of the staff,.The left-hander went 1-4 with an 8.77 ERA in six starts in June, earning a demotion to the minors. He was recalled Tuesday, but then gave up six runs in an 8-4 loss in Oakland.It marked the third consecutive major league outing in which Matusz allowed six or more runs and the fifth in a row in which he gave up at least four."He pitched a lot better than the numbers indicate," Showalter said of his southpaw, who managed to last a season-high 6 2/3 innings. "I liked the fact that he got a little stronger as the game went on."Matusz has split two career starts against the Angels. Hunter is 2 for 3 with a double off him.Williams won his only previous start against Baltimore on June 13, 2004, while pitching with San Francisco.