Baltimore Orioles pitcher Juan Guzman infuriated Manager Ray Miller on Thursday night in Anaheim by failing to back up home on a play at the plate. He also walked six batters. And he came within one pitch, Miller later revealed, of getting yanked in the first inning.
And yet, after all that, the enigmatic Guzman lasted six innings and allowed only one run and three hits. He earned the win in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Angels, which gave the Orioles a series victory and sent them up the coast to Oakland with their first back-to-back road wins of the season.
Guzman (2-4) is "a tough read when he's not throwing it over the plate," said Miller. "You can't wait to get him out of the game. Then all of a sudden you look up and it's the sixth inning, and he's given up one run. So you say, `Way to battle.' . . . It was a struggle for him. But he hung in there with medium stuff."
Guzman left after the sixth with the score tied at 1. But Charles Johnson's bases-loaded, run-scoring infield single in the top of the seventh broke the tie, and Brady Anderson followed with a grand slam off Angels left-hander Mike Magnante to get Guzman the win.
Struggling closer Mike Timlin, who was bypassed for Arthur Rhodes in a save situation Wednesday night, needed only 19 pitches to get the final six outs and collect his seventh save.
"That was a big game for Mike Timlin," said Miller, who plans to "mix and match" Timlin and Rhodes in save situations for the time being. "It was important for him to get some good feelings going. He got caught up in some pressure because he had a few bad outings."
It may also have been a big game for Guzman, who is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five May starts. In earlier starts this season, when he has pitched himself into perilous situations -- such as Thursday night's first inning, when he loaded the bases with two outs and a run already in -- he was more likely to fall apart than redeem himself.
But with left-hander Doug Johns already warmed up in the bullpen, and with Miller perched on the dugout steps ready with the hook, Guzman struck out Troy Glaus to end the inning. And while he held the Angels scoreless the next five innings, he still never had total command of the strike zone.
"I was wild," Guzman said. "But the key was I made some big pitches when I needed them. I'm not the type of pitcher to give up. I didn't have my good command, but I kept trying."
Orioles Notes: Miller said he plans to give Johnson a day off Saturday, Johnson's first since May 2. Rookie Tommy Davis, who was called up when Lenny Webster (ankle sprain) went on the disabled list, will get his first career start. . . .
Today is the day Webster is due to come off the disabled list, but the catcher said he is not close to being ready to play. "It ain't going to happen," Webster said. "Right now I don't see any quick fixes. Being optimistic, I want to hope things heal and I can play soon. But being realistic, I don't think so. I can't take the pounding right now." . . .
Willis Otanez, whom the Orioles placed on waivers Wednesday, was claimed by the Blue Jays. Otanez was the starting third baseman most of April while Cal Ripken was on the disabled list. . . .
Bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks has been working with Arthur Rhodes on warming up quickly. Rhodes is sharing closer duties with Mike Timlin, and Miller said, "We can't afford somebody to take 15 minutes to get ready." Miller said Rhodes's problem is not with his arm, but in the pace of his warmup routine.
CAPTION: Brady Anderson is welcomed by Charles Johnson, Delino DeShields after grand slam in Orioles' 6-3 win Thursday.