O's come up empty, 5-0

Orioles' big bats silent, 8 runners stranded vs. Saberhagen, 2 relievers

Valentin HR key for Red Sox

Bordick, Anderson, Orosco hit milestones

June 24, 1999|By JOE STRAUSS | JOE STRAUSS,SUN STAFF

The significance of several personal milestones wasn't enough for the Orioles to overcome the power of John Valentin and Reggie Jefferson nor the sage pitching of Bret Saberhagen last night as the Boston Red Sox administered a 5-0 defeat at Camden Yards.

Mike Bordick, Brady Anderson and Jesse Orosco all arrived at career moments, but the Red Sox improved upon their league-best ERA as Derek Lowe and closer Tim Wakefield piled on for the shutout.

The Orioles stranded eight runners, six in scoring position, and had another cut down at the plate as the recently sidelined Saberhagen (3-2) won for the first time since April 13.

The shutout loss was the 32-38 Orioles' fourth this season (the first since April 24), represented only their second defeat in 13 games and ended a four-game win streak. The lack of support punished Orioles starter Juan Guzman (3-6), who suffered the loss for surrendering Valentin's two-run homer in the fifth inning.

A three-run ninth inning against Ricky Bones blew the loss out of proportion. However, the Orioles hardly resembled the team that had hit .319 while averaging 6.72 runs in 18 previous games this month.

They stranded runners in scoring position in six of the first seven innings, managed a scoreless three-hit inning and were again baffled by a Red Sox starting pitcher. The Orioles have split the first two games despite managing only 10 hits and one run in 11 2/3 innings against Pat Rapp and Saberhagen.

Guzman's starts are rarely smooth rides. Last night he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings and allowed only four hits. But the start included 110 pitches, two of which hit Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and Darren Lewis.

He walked four, including Lou Merloni and Trot Nixon to force his manager from the dugout to summon Scott Kamieniecki with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning. But, still, Guzman gave what has been a torrid offense plenty of time to crack Saberhagen. Several times it came close only to fail.

Two of the first three hitters against Saberhagen reached -- Bordick with his 1,000th career hit and B. J. Surhoff with an single that moved Bordick to third base.

Albert Belle, Tuesday night's hero and a career .368 hitter against Saberhagen, this time snuffed the rally by bouncing into a 3-6-3 double play.

While Guzman escaped unscathed from Lewis' triple to center field to lead off the game, Saberhagen allowed runners to reach scoring position with less than two outs in each of the first three innings. Each time the Orioles fell back.

Will Clark led off the second inning with a double but failed to score when the Orioles couldn't get another ball out of the infield.

In the third, Anderson reached on a one-out error and stole his 252nd base as an Oriole, tying Al Bumbry's franchise record. Two fly balls sent him nowhere.

Saberhagen wobbled most noticeably in the fifth inning but this time received an assist from third base coach Sam Perlozzo's daring, Cal Ripken's ponderous speed and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek's road block at the plate. The combination allowed him to escape the inning unscored upon despite surrendering three hits.

Ripken led off the inning with a single and moved to second when Jeff Reboulet sacrificed despite a 2-0 deficit. Charles Johnson then pulled a single into left field. With one out, Perlozzo had Ripken challenge Damon Buford's arm.

Buford uncorked a looping throw that one-hopped to the plate. Ripken appeared to have chugged around in time to beat the throw, but Varitek planted his right leg atop Ripken's lead foot, blocking him off the plate. Replays showed Ripken never reached the plate as Varitek administered the tag.

The gambit became even more painful when Anderson followed with a lined single to center, bumping Johnson to second base. Bordick's quest for career hit No. 1,001 failed when he instead became Saberhagen's second strikeout victim.

Saberhagen didn't make it as far as Guzman. However, he made the most of his 85-pitch limit, going 5 1/3 innings before handing the game to Lowe. In the sixth, Surhoff led off with a double followed by Belle's first-pitch pop-out to right field. Clark walked and Saberhagen was done.

With the tying run at first base and Red Sox manager Jimy Williams committed to his right-handed reliever, Orioles manager Ray Miller faced his toughest decision of the night -- use left-handed batter Harold Baines to pinch hit for Jeff Conine or keep his most dangerous reserve on the bench for later use.

Miller elected to let Conine face Lowe and received a pop-out to short. The inning died when Garciaparra ranged into the hole at short to backhand Ripken's grounder, then unleashed a throw from short left field that beat the third baseman by half a step.

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