Blue Jays 12, Orioles 0
-- It's not difficult to point out the moment when Baltimore Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera lost control of his emotions and the game. While the Orioles -- 12-0 losers on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays -- don't appear affected by the distraction of Rafael Palmeiro's return from a 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids, they are susceptible to inconsistent pitching from their young prospect. Cabrera hasn't pitched past the fifth inning in four of his past five starts.
The Toronto Blue Jays had quickly built a lead in the first inning after Melvin Mora's error with two outs. Cabrera stewed on the mound while batter after batter reached base until Eric Hinske came to bat. On the third pitch, Cabrera hit Hinske in the back of the right arm with a fastball.
"I thought it was gutless," Toronto Manager John Gibbons said. "You throw that hard and you can kill somebody. That's what it was, gutless."
Hinske began to yell at Cabrera, who glared at the designated hitter. Hinske did not stop and soon both benches had come onto the field. Hinske had to be held back by first base coach Ernie Whitt. At first base, Hinske continued to yell.
"It was a 2-0 pitch and he threw a fastball right at my head," Hinske said. "It definitely seemed like he tried to do it on purpose, which is why I was so upset. We exchanged some words, but we got to him early, and that's good. He was rattled and we ended up winning the game. If you're going to hit a guy, hit him in the [butt] or the leg or something. When you come at a guy's head, then you're messing with a guy's career."
After the game, Cabrera, tied for fifth in the American League with 10 hit batsmen this season, left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed inside.
"He's going to learn the hard way because we're probably going to get somebody hurt [Saturday]," Orioles catcher Sal Fasano said. "Those guys are probably going to throw at somebody and is it their fault? No. Who's fault is it? So it's unfortunate, but that's how baseball is played and somebody on our team is probably going to get hit."
The last Oriole out of the dugout during the scuffle was Palmeiro, the first baseman who sat for the second consecutive night. Interim manager Sam Perlozzo said the decision to sit Palmeiro was made on Thursday night. After Friday's game Perlozzo said Palmeiro likely would play on Sunday, though the decision was not final.
Palmeiro took batting practice Friday and appeared to hit the ball better than he had on Thursday.
"It wasn't bad, but that's batting practice," Palmeiro said. "I can hit batting practice in January and feel good. It's just different in the games. They're changing speeds. I haven't played in 10 days. Baseball is a little different than any other sport. Especially with hitting, you have to worry about the timing."
After a resurgence against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Orioles' offense went silent. It had nine hits -- all singles -- against Toronto starter Josh Towers, a former Oriole, who pitched a complete game. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, hit four home runs and Gregg Zaun had five RBI.
Perlozzo had tried to calm his starter in the first inning. While pitching coach Ray Miller usually makes the trips to the mound, Perlozzo chose to go in the first. He lectured Cabrera, telling him it would be a tremendous test to get out of the inning unscathed. But his young pitcher had already lost control.