5 in 10th lift O's to 10-5 win over K.C.

Segui injures hand

young pitchers lose lead

April 27, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - During spring training, when the mood was still bright under the Florida sun, the Orioles looked at their pitching depth as one of their biggest strengths.

Not only did they like their big-league staff, they loved the young replacements they had waiting at Triple-A Rochester.

The first true test of the season came on a cool, damp Missouri night, and suddenly the Orioles' pitching depth looked rather thin.

Sean Douglass and Travis Driskill, two pitchers fresh off that Rochester shuttle, squandered an early four-run lead last night against the Kansas City Royals, and the Orioles had to rally for five runs in the 10th inning to pull out a 10-5 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

Tony Batista, who hit a two-run homer in the first inning, added a two-run single in the 10th off Royals reliever Jason Grimsley (1-1). Geronimo Gil added a run-scoring single, and Jerry Hairston finished the scoring with a two-run single.

Buddy Groom (1-0), who pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, earned the victory, and Jorge Julio stranded the bases loaded in the 10th.

"These games have a tendency to take on a life of their own," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "And this one did."

Orioles designated hitter David Segui left in the seventh inning to have precautionary X-rays taken on his left hand. Royals catcher Brent Mayne stepped on Segui's hand in the third inning on a play at the plate.

Hargrove said he didn't know the results of the X-rays, but said he didn't think it was serious.

Douglass was scheduled to start Thursday in Rochester, but the Orioles needed him after Jason Johnson broke a finger simulating his pitching motion in a bullpen session. Johnson won't be able to pick up a ball for two weeks, and the Orioles are saying it could be up to five weeks before he returns.

With Rick Bauer and Josh Towers shifted to bullpen roles, the Orioles turned to Douglass hoping he might fill the spot in the starting rotation. But Douglass didn't look the part.

In 3 2/3 innings, he walked six batters and threw 87 pitches, just 47 for strikes. The Royals scored three runs off him on just three hits. Douglass had good zip on his fastball, throwing 91-94 mph, but limited control.

"He didn't have a breaking pitch, he didn't have a fastball, he didn't have anything," Hargrove said. "He was all over the place."

Hargrove said Douglass would likely get another start but added, "I reserve the right to change my mind."

Driskill made his major-league debut with the Orioles leading 4-2 in the fourth inning, and the Royals greeted him with a single and back-to-back doubles. Mike Sweeney's double to deep center field gave Kansas City a 5-4 lead.

But to his credit, Driskill took pitching coach Mark Wiley's advice and made a mechanical adjustment, then kept the Royals scoreless his final 2 1/3 innings. The score remained 5-4 until the Orioles tied it in the seventh.

Hairston led off with a walk and then starter Dan Reichert hit Melvin Mora with a pitch near the left elbow. With runners on first and second, Royals manager Tony Muser pulled Reichert for Cory Bailey.

Gary Matthews Jr. laid down a sacrifice, putting runners at second and third, and then the Orioles had to hit for Segui.

Segui doubled in his first at-bat and singled in his second at-bat. In the first inning, he scored on a nifty headfirst slide under the tag of Mayne. Jeff Conine had singled, and center fielder Carlos Beltran's throw pulled Mayne to the left of home plate.

In the third inning, Segui was on first base when Conine doubled to deep center field. Segui rounded third, and Orioles third base coach Tom Trebelhorn sent him home. This time, the relay from Beltran to shortstop Neifi Perez to Mayne made it in plenty of time to nab Segui.

After getting injured on that play, Segui tried batting in the fifth but grounded out to third. So in the seventh, with the tying run on third, and the go-ahead run on second, Hargrove summoned Chris Singleton, who came in batting .132.

Singleton hit a grounder toward first and reached on an infield hit to tie it. The Orioles still had runners at the corners with one out, but Conine grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

Conine had three hits in his first three at-bats, with two RBIs.

The Orioles have now won five of their past seven games.

"I think we're getting better," Batista said. "Everyone's getting the base hits at the right time."

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