Orioles' Past and Present Collide in Split
Saturday, July 28, 2007
BALTIMORE, July 27 -- Miguel Tejada left the Baltimore Orioles on June 22 -- 28 games ago -- shortly after Sam Perlozzo had been fired and the team hit its nadir. He returned Friday night, to a packed house at Camden Yards and a team riding a four-game win streak.
Make it five. After the New York Yankees barely held off the Orioles to complete a rain-suspended game from one month ago, Baltimore humbled the streaking Yankees, 4-2, with a performance as complete as the Orioles have delivered this season. They banged out 10 hits, starter Jeremy Guthrie gutted through six innings and the bullpen retired nine of the 10 batters it faced, including three in a row by Chad Bradford in the ninth for his first save this season.
"That's the way we've been playing," Manager Dave Trembley said. "Contributions from everybody. No one giving in."
Said Kevin Millar: "The Orioles are the player of the game."
The change from five weeks ago was not lost on Tejada, who handled his duties at shortstop with aplomb and hit the ball hard twice, but went hitless in five at-bats in his first night back.
"It's a lot different," Tejada said. "Everybody is relaxed. Everybody looks ready to win. Trembley put a lot of confidence in everybody."
Ramon Hernandez set the pace, lacing a two-out, bases-loaded single in the second off Andy Pettitte, the kind of clutch hit the Orioles have depended on during their run. The runs would hold up with little resistance until the fifth, when Guthrie faced men on second and third with one out and Derek Jeter at the plate.
Jeter struck out looking on an 87-mph slider on the outside corner. Guthrie then induced a ground ball to first base to quash the rally. After scampering to cover first, he pumped his first and sprinted to the dugout, "probably the most emotion I've seen out of Guthrie," Trembley said.
"They had me on the ropes," Guthrie said. "It kind of hit me real quickly how big of an out that was."
Guthrie recorded three more outs and yielded to the bullpen, which dominated even without Danys Baez, who was sick and not at the park. John Parrish, Paul Shuey, Jamie Walker and Bradford combined to shut down the Yankees from there.
"They're the MVPs of this game," Guthrie said.
The night began with novelty, a game to be finished one month after it began and all the quirky hypotheticals that came with finishing June 28's rain-delayed contest. Could Alex Rodriguez push his career home run total to 500 by hitting No. 493? Might Luis Hernandez record an official major league hit before his first major league call-up? Would Doc Brown drive his DeLorean to Camden Yards?