O's Run of Rallies Screeches to a Halt
Saturday, May 28, 2005
BALTIMORE, May 27 -- The game had come down to Screech. Three weeks ago this would have been unimaginable. Jeff Fiorentino, plucked from obscurity in Class A ball, already nicknamed for a wild-haired, scratchy-voiced sitcom character, was standing there in the bottom of the ninth inning in a one-run game with two outs and the bases loaded.
Screech gripped the bat.
Detroit closer Ugueth Urbina pawed the mound.
Thirty-four thousand, one hundred seventy five in Camden Yards held their breath.
Urbina threw. Screech swung.
Later Friday night they exploded fireworks at Camden Yards, blues, reds, whites and oranges bursting in the air in celebration of a holiday weekend. But Hollywood would not come to the corner of Eutaw and Camden.
Screech had struck out.
"Yeah he got me," Fiorentino said standing at his locker after Urbina celebrated Detroit's 4-3 win by hugging his relieved teammates on the mound. "Hopefully I'll see him tomorrow."
He said this with the clear eyes of a player who knew he had been thrown into his first big moment but seemed to know there would be more to come. A group of cameramen and reporters surrounded his locker just as they would have done if he had lashed one of Urbina's fastballs into left field for the game-winning hit.
"They didn't bring me up here to feel good, they brought me up here to win," he said.
But the fact is the Orioles almost did on a night when it looked as if they had no chance to be in the game. Starting pitcher Sidney Ponson once again was erratic, constantly wriggling out of jams until at last giving up the decisive runs on a two-run home run by Craig Monroe that landed deep in the left field seats. He was not aided, however, by his offense, which slipped meekly through the first seven innings against pitcher Nate Robertson.
Then Baltimore came to life. A run in the seventh, two in the eighth and suddenly the Orioles were on the brink of their 17th comeback win of the year.