Bedard Pitches Orioles to Victory
Newhan Continues Hot Streak With Homer, Three Hits: Orioles 10, Royals 1
By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 29, 2004; Page D01
KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 28 -- The numbers sat there glowing devilishly on the Kauffman Stadium scoreboard for about 10 minutes Monday night -- Baltimore Orioles 7, Kansas City Royals 0 -- and one could imagine everyone in the Orioles' dugout having the same dark, unspoken thought.
The Orioles had had a long flight Sunday evening and a full day Monday during which to digest the bitter proceedings of the previous afternoon, in which they had held that same lead against the Atlanta Braves, only to see it fade and dissolve into a stunning loss.
This time, however, the Orioles did what teams are supposed to do with such a lead: They added to it, cradled it like a baby and carried it home for an easy 10-1 victory over the Royals in front of a crowd of 14,521.
Rookie left-hander Erik Bedard (3-2) threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, continuing a weeklong string of impressive starts by the Orioles' young rotation, and third baseman David Newhan added to his growing list of offensive heroics by banging out three hits, including a two-run homer, and scoring three runs.
The win was just the seventh in the Orioles' past 25 games, but it was an important one in that it eased some of the sting of the team's harshest loss of the season -- Sunday's horror show, which stands as the second-largest blown lead in franchise history.
"It was real important," Newhan said, "to not only get the lead, but to keep [the scoring] going. And then to hold it was great. You get your confidence level back up. It was a rough loss [on Sunday]. But it was good to battle back tonight."
Bedard's stellar start -- he pitched into the seventh inning for just the second time in 13 starts this season -- continued a welcome trend for the Orioles (31-41), who suddenly are awash in hot starting pitchers. Including Bedard's gem, Orioles starters have allowed one earned run in 30 1/3 innings and have posted a 0.89 ERA over their past six starts.
"It's a good sign for the young kids," said Manager Lee Mazzilli.
The dismissal of pitching coach Mark Wiley on Saturday stands as the midpoint of that six-game string, which means the trend began in Wiley's final days and has continued under new pitching coach Ray Miller.
Bedard said it was the best he has felt on the mound all season, "just because all three of my pitches, I could throw over for strikes."
Meantime, the Orioles' most significant free agent signee -- that, of course, would be Newhan, who was signed to a modest major league-minor league split contract 10 days ago -- continued to fuel the team's offense and fuel speculation that injured third baseman Melvin Mora is on the verge of being Wally Pipp'd.
In the top of the first, after Brian Roberts led off by roping a double into the left field corner, Newhan pushed a bunt past Royals pitcher Darrell May (5-9), putting runners at the corners with nobody out and giving Miguel Tejada an easy RBI with a sacrifice fly, Tejada's 62nd run batted in of the season.
Four innings later, Newhan came to the plate in a 2-0 game with Jerry Hairston on first base having drawn a walk. On May's first pitch, Newhan reached out and yanked a breaking ball over the wall in right, perhaps 20 feet inside the foul pole, for a two-run homer that doubled the Orioles' lead.
Newhan also played a role in the four-run seventh inning that broke the game open, as he singled and scored. Roberts had the biggest hit of the inning, a two-run double past third baseman Desi Relaford.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company