Orioles 9, Rangers 1
Reprinted from yesterday's editions
In a nicely gift-wrapped package Friday night from the Texas pitching staff, the Baltimore Orioles found their fourth straight win and bounced the Rangers out of first place in the American League West, 9-1, in a lengthy game replete with miscues.
When the Rangers weren't walking the bases loaded (the team racked up nine walks) or making costly errors (three of Baltimore's runs were unearned), the Orioles were sending the balls they could get a bat on into the stratosphere over Camden Yards.
Three of the Orioles' nine hits were home runs, giving Baltimore starter Erik Bedard plenty of support to improve his record to 5-6. The rookie left-hander returned to the form he showed while going 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in June, giving up just a single run and striking out seven in 61/3 innings of work against one of the American League's top offenses.
After giving up a single to the first batter he faced, Bedard retired 10 straight Rangers before walking Alfonso Soriano with one out in the fourth.
"When you shut a team down with that offense, you're doing a good job," Manager Lee Mazzilli said of Bedard. "Today I felt he threw the ball as well as he has all year. He had a good curveball tonight."
Mazzilli allowed Bedard to throw 125 pitches in the first meeting between the two clubs this year, finally removing his starter after he had loaded the bases on a single, a walk and another single with one out in the seventh inning. As Bedard walked off, the crowd of 29,276 gave the pitcher a rousing ovation.
The manager said he thought Bedard was overthrowing in the seventh, trying to finish out the game. But Bedard said that wasn't the case.
"I wasn't thinking a complete game," Bedard said. "I was just trying to throw strikes. I was just comfortable, not worrying about the score."
Reliever Todd Williams entered the game and immediately gave up a single to Michael Young, ending the shutout bid. Williams then got Soriano to hit into a double play to end the inning.
Bedard had recorded a sub-par July, going 1-4 with a 6.43 ERA. But the pitcher mowed down the Rangers, ending their three-game winning streak. The loss, coupled with Oakland's 3-1 win over Minnesota, sent Texas into second place in the West. The win was the sixth straight for the Orioles over the Rangers, dating from last season.
Rangers pitchers allowed the Orioles to score in each of the first five innings, as the home team recorded nine runs on seven hits. In the first two innings, Rangers pitchers yielded six walks and hit a batter while allowing just two hits. The Orioles took advantage, building a 4-0 lead.
Texas starter Nick Regilio retired just four Orioles and left after 55 pitches, only 28 of which were strikes.
The Rangers' defense didn't help Regilio. The first two Rangers errors led to unearned runs. Texas added another error in the fifth to give the team nine in its past five games.
In the first, with the bases loaded and a run already in, B.J. Surhoff collected the Orioles' first hit on a solid line drive to right field that knocked in David Newhan and Miguel Tejada. The Rangers finally got out of the inning -- in which six Orioles reached on just one hit -- on a diving snare by first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Texas got lucky to escape the second down only 4-0 after the Orioles had the bases loaded with one out and catcher Javy Lopez at the plate. But reliever Ryan Snare induced a double play from Lopez to quash the threat.
The Orioles reached Snare, making his major league debut, in the next inning when Larry Bigbie hit the first of three Baltimore home runs off the left-hander. Bigbie's two-run shot made it 6-0. One inning later Tejada and Lopez added solo shots.
Surhoff and Melvin Mora were the only two Orioles to record a multi-hit game -- Surhoff had two singles and Mora had a single and double.
"We've been playing a lot better," Mazzilli said after the win. "You always like to put a streak together."