MILWAUKEE -- Left-hander Mike Flanagan is a starting pitcher by trade, but he seems to be adapting very well to his new role as the left-handed middleman in the bullpen.
Flanagan came on in the sixth inning yesterday and got a crucial double-play ball to get right-hander Jose Mesa out of trouble and preserve a precarious one-run lead. The Baltimore Orioles went on to break the game open and score a 7-2 victory, but that did nothing to diminish the significance of the relief effort.
The Orioles' 39-year-old left-hander came on with runners at second and third and walked pinch hitter Greg Vaughn to load the bases, but got veteran infielder Willie Randolph to bounce into the inning-ending double play. Flanagan also got the first two outs of the seventh inning before turning the game over to right-hander Mark Williamson.
It was Flanagan's fourth appearance in the Orioles' first six games of the season, and he has yet to give up a run. New York Yankees left-hander Greg Caderet is the only American League pitcher who has appeared in more games so far, but Flanagan appears to be holding up under the new regimen.
"All I can say is when I've gotten up, I'm getting in," Flanagan said. "That's all I can ask. I haven't had any problems getting loose. I can get loose quicker than anyone out there and I'm getting a better feel for how I'm being used."
There has been speculation that Flanagan eventually will enter the starting rotation, but he is making a tremendous case for leaving him in a setup role, at least until left-hander Joe Price is eligible to return to the major league roster on May 1.
Fan does Davis a favor
Glenn Davis had no reason to think he would have anything for his trophy case after he hit his first home run as an Oriole yesterday, but the fan who caught the ball in the left-field bleachers threw it back onto the field in mock disgust.
That brought a derisive roar from the Opening Day crowd, but Davis didn't mind a bit. Umpire John Hirschbeck retrieved the ball and relayed it to the Orioles dugout.
Brewers starter Chris Bosio was not so accommodating. The next time Davis came to the plate, Bosio drilled him with a fastball in the upper back, then picked him off second base.
Hoiles throws out a pair
The Brewers tried to take advantage of catcher Chris Hoiles, perhaps aware that he threw out only three of 14 attempted base stealers during spring training. But Hoiles threw Dante Bichette out stealing in the second and gunned down Paul Molitor in the seventh.
Molitor represented the tying run in the seventh, but Hoiles made a perfect throw to end the inning with Robin Yount at the plate. Lest anyone forget, Hoiles threw out his shoulder trying to throw out Molitor last September.
Hoiles' arm appears to have healed nicely. He has thrown out three of the four runners who have attempted to steal against him during the regular season.
Randolph reached base on seeing-eye grounder through the infield for his 2,000th career hit in the ninth inning, but he grounded into a double play with the game still in doubt in the sixth. . . . Dwight Evans has had some trouble making contact lately -- striking out five times in his past eight at-bats -- but reached base twice yesterday on walks. . . . The grand slam by Sam Horn was the third of his career. He last hit one on Sept. 14, 1990, off Duane Ward of the Toronto Blue Jays.