Colon deals O's 4th loss in a row, 3-1

Indians score 2 off Bauer in 8th inning to triumph as ace gets fifth victory

Lopez only yields unearned run

Singleton hits home run, lifts May average to .359

May 16, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - The Orioles lost their fourth consecutive game last night, and while it wasn't in the heartbreaking fashion of two of their recent losses, it still hurt.

The Cleveland Indians broke an eighth-inning tie with two runs against Orioles reliever Rick Bauer and held on for a 3-1 victory at Jacobs Field.

Bartolo Colon (5-3) earned the victory for the Indians, hold ing the Orioles to one run on seven hits over eight innings. It marked the fifth time in nine starts this season that Colon has pitched into the eighth inning.

Rodrigo Lopez missed his chance to become the Orioles" first rookie to begin a season 6-0. He earned a no-decision, de spite holding the Indians to one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.01. The run was unearned, as Omar Vizquel scored on Lopez's first-inning throwing error.

"We played very well tonight." Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "It would have been very easy for this ballclub to come out and roll over and play dead after last night, but they didn't. They came out and played hard, played well and had a chance to win this ballgame."

Cleveland's winning rally started with back-to-back sin gles by Matt Lawton and Jim Thome. Bauer (1-1) had entered the game to start the seventh inning, and he wavered for one of the few times this season.

After a passed ball, he walked Ellis Burks to load the bases, and then Russell Branyan hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field, scoring Lawton with the go-ahead run.

On Tuesday night, Lawton hit a two-run homer off Orioles closer Jorge Julio to cap a four-run rally in the ninth, as the Indians defeated the Orioles, 6-5.

Last night all three runners advanced on Branyan's fly ball, and when Bauer threw a wild pitch to Bruce Aven, Thome scored to give Cleveland a two-run lead.

"There's nothing you can do about an infield hit [Thome's]." Bauer said. "He hit it in the perfect spot. I gave up a good solid hit to Lawton again. Can't seem to figure him out. Couldn't get the pitch down to Branyan. The passed ball killed me. I threw a slider 10 feet outside, which killed me. I was garbage."

Hargrove was less critical.

"I think when it's all said and done, Rick Bauer's going to be a very good pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, and we have a lot of confidence in him." he said. "The next time we get in that situation, we"ll have him in there."

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth to earn his eighth save.

Lopez had won each of his first four starts, but he left Friday's game at Tampa with a blister on his right middle finger. The Orioles had reliever Travis Driskill warming up during the fourth inning this time, but Lopez hung on to throw a season-high 107 pitches, 56 for strikes.

He walked a season-high five batters, but erased two of those runners with double-play grounders.

Lopez was his own worst enemy in the first inning, as Cleveland scored an unearned run to take an early lead. Vizquel led off with a double and took third base on grounder to second by Ricky Gutierrez.

The big out seemed to come when Lopez got Tuesday's hero, Lawton, to ground to shortstop with the infield in. But with two outs, Vizquel was making a lot of movement as he led off from third base, so Lopez stepped off the pitching rubber and tried to throw him out.

In doing so, Lopez slipped, and his throw sailed over third baseman Tony Batista's head. Vizquel scored easily.

"I don't know why I threw that ball." Lopez said of the pickoff throw. "I was just trying to keep him close to the base."

The score remained 1-0 until the sixth inning, when Chris Singleton led off with a home run. It was Singleton's first home run since Sept. 2, and he hit a 2-0 fastball from Colon an estimated 398 feet to right-center field.

Singleton came into the game with two hits in 20 career at-bats against Colon, but he singled in the first inning before homering in the sixth.

After finishing April with a .165 batting average, Singleton is now batting .359 during May.

The Orioles' continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. After going 1-for-10 in those situations in Tuesday's loss, the Orioles missed a golden opportunity in the first inning.

Mike Bordick, batting leadoff for the first time this season, singled to start the game, and Singleton followed with another single, putting runners at first and second. David Segui, playing for the first time since Friday, hit a deep fly to center, and Bordick advanced to third.

Next came Jeff Conine, who grounded into an inning-ending double play. For the season, Conine is batting .213 (10-for-47) with runners in scoring position. A year ago, he ranked third in the American League in those situations, batting .400.

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