O's rally behind their Maine man

August 14, 2005|By DAVID GINSBURG

BALTIMORE - Desperate for a victory after a 12-0 defeat one night earlier, the Baltimore Orioles put their faith in a rookie who had lost his last seven decisions at Triple-A before being sent to the mound for his second big league start.

John Maine did his part, and the Baltimore bullpen did the rest.

Maine pitched five scoreless innings to earn his first major league win, Miguel Tejada singled in a third-inning run and the Orioles ended the Toronto Blue Jays' four-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory Saturday.

Rafael Palmeiro sat out a third straight game since returning from a 10-day suspension for using steroids. He is expected to start as Baltimore's designated hitter today.

Maine (1-0) and three relievers combined on a five-hitter, helping the Orioles improve to 6-3 under interim manager Sam Perlozzo.

"He's working on three days' rest and he was in a tough situation with the (100-degree) heat," Perlozzo said.


"Johnny really came through when he needed to, and that's a real shot in the arm for us. He came up here right when we needed it, he knew that and went out and pitched a good game for us."

Maine was filling in for an injured Sidney Ponson, who was put on the disabled list Tuesday. It was supposed to be a one-shot audition, but now it appears the right-hander will be sticking around.

"He's earned the right to stay on this ballclub for a little while," Perlozzo said.

Maine, recalled from Ottawa on Friday night, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out three. Last year, in his major league debut, he allowed four runs in 3 2-3 innings in a loss to Minnesota.

"He was much better than we've seen in the past," Perlozzo said.

Maine allowed only one runner past second base. That was in the third inning, when he retired Russ Adams on a foul pop with two outs and Reed Johnson on third.

In the fifth, Maine retired Orlando Hudson and Adams after the Blue Jays put runners on first and second with one out.

"I was very tired," Maine said. "I'll sleep good tonight, though."

Dave Bush (2-6) took the loss despite allowing four hits - none after the third inning - in his third career complete game.

"I pitched better than I have other times," Bush said. "I was throwing strikes and changing speeds."

Coupled with Josh Towers' performance in that 12-0 rout Friday night, the Blue Jays got successive complete games for the first time since Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar did it April 21-22, 2000, against the New York Yankees.

"Seems like we can't get our bullpen any work," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said with a chuckle.

After Maine left, Tim Byrdak entered in the sixth and left with runners at first and second and one out in the seventh. Todd Williams came in and got Johnson to hit into a double play, then allowed two hits in the eighth before getting Shea Hillenbrand to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

B.J. Ryan worked the ninth for his 26th save.

Brian Roberts hit a leadoff double in the third and scored with two outs when Tejada lined an opposite-field single to right.

"(Bush) threw well," Gibbons said. "He just had that one pitch up to Tejada."

Bush retired 16 of the next 17 batters. The only runner to reach after the third inning was Javy Lopez, who was hit by a pitch with two outs in the sixth.

But the Orioles didn't need any more offense than Tejada's RBI single, thanks to a solid pitching performance and a defense that turned three double plays.

"They surprised me today. They really played well," Perlozzo said. "This team, when we pitch a little bit, they're really into the game. That's all there is to it."

Notes: Toronto OF Vernon Wells was a late scratch with the flu. ... Baltimore has scored only one run in the first two games of the series, but can win a second straight series for the first time since early May with a victory on Sunday. ... Perlozzo said he would talk with RHP Daniel Cabrera, who nearly beaned Eric Hinske with a pitch Friday night. "If that indeed was an intentional thing, we'll have to address that," Perlozzo said. "It's not the way we're going to play baseball."

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