Supported by Reed, O's Get Past Old Foe

By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 15, 2005

BALTIMORE, June 14 -- Always in this improbable year there is someone to rescue the Baltimore Orioles, someone to pull them from their predicaments and keep this season rolling blissfully along.

They were in trouble Tuesday night; 24,659 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards fretted. A prospective victory, against a pitcher who has stifled a decade's worth of Baltimore teams, was falling through their grasp. Orioles reliever Jorge Julio was throwing as hard as he could, throwing too hard, actually, to keep a three-run lead safe and doing a poor job of it.

He hit Craig Biggio.

He walked Lance Berkman.

The crowd groaned. Manager Lee Mazzilli leaped off his dugout seat. Across the field in the bullpen he had Steve Reed and Steve Kline. Both were throwing. Both are specialists in late-game calamities and this was a game that was quickly deteriorating. Mazzilli wanted Reed; he liked the pitcher's looping, sidearm motion in such moments because it usually generated ground balls. And ground balls mean double plays.

So he called for Reed. Only Reed walked Morgan Ensberg to load the bases.

More groans.

Until the sidearm pitch began to work. Jason Lane struck out. Adam Everett hit a ground ball to short that almost was a double play. Brad Ausmus popped up to first. And the inning was over. Ballgame saved.

Later that inning the Orioles would score three more runs to make this a 6-1 victory. Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro would drive in runs. The crowd at Camden Yards would dance again.

But make no mistake, the 18 pitches Reed threw in the eighth inning -- 12 strikes and six balls, one inherited runner scoring -- saved them Tuesday night.

"He did a great job," Biggio said. "He's tough on right-handed hitters."

Said Mazzilli: "Hopefully you only have to put out a few fires in a year. It's not one guy who can go a whole year doing that. That's why you need a whole bullpen. They've done their share of the job."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2005 The Washington Post Company