Brock's first aid doesn't stop O's bleeding this time


2nd stint as Ponson fill-in not as smooth for reliever

July 01, 2002|By Alex Koustenis and Roch Kubatko | Alex Koustenis and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

For the second time in less than two weeks, Orioles right-hander Chris Brock was called in unexpectedly to relieve an injured Sidney Ponson.

Yesterday, Brock entered the game in the third inning after Ponson could not continue because of a finger blister. He gave up three runs on five hits in two innings but refused to blame being called on short notice.

"I'm here to pitch. I don't decide when, I just go out there when they tell me," Brock said. "I threw some bad pitches and I walked Pat [Burrell] earlier which didn't help. Then I threw Scotty [Rolen] a bad pitch. I tried to throw a fastball in and left it over the plate and he hit it off the wall. Can't be perfect every day."

But he almost was the last time Brock replaced an injured Ponson. On June 19 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ponson was hit on the wrist in the fourth inning and Brock entered. He pitched three scoreless innings, surrendering one hit and getting his first career win as an Oriole as they topped the Diamondbacks, 6-1.

Light goes on for Matthews

Baseball life returned to normal yesterday for Orioles outfielder Gary Matthews, which meant he didn't go 5-for-5 again.

Coming off the best game of his professional life, Matthews went 1-for-5 with a double against Philadelphia starter Robert Person and relievers Jose Santiago and Carlos Silva. He also threw out a runner at the plate from center field to end the Phillies' three-run fourth inning.

Matthews' average jumped from .270 to .292 after he homered, doubled and singled three times in Saturday's 11-1 victory over the Phillies.

Well-traveled at age 27, Matthews was hoping he found a home in Baltimore when the New York Mets traded him during the season's first week. It's sure beginning to look that way.

"Gary's a good athlete," said manager Mike Hargrove. "Sometimes it just takes the light longer to go on for some guys. Hopefully, the light is on for Gary and stays on.

"We were in a position to obtain guys like Gary who had that potential and allow him the chance and the room to see if he could find it. A team like the Yankees and Red Sox, they don't have nearly as much wiggle room that we do right now."

Hitting coach Terry Crowley began working with Matthews the moment he arrived, hoping to cut down on Matthews' strikeouts by concentrating more on hitting to the alleys.

"I think Terry Crowley's had a big influence on Gary," Hargrove said. "I've been around a lot of hitting people in baseball, and Terry's the best."

A No. 2 hitter early in the season, Matthews dropped to third for the Orioles' July 13 makeup game in Cleveland. He made his 14th start there yesterday - a spot occupied in the past by David Segui, Chris Singleton, Jeff Conine and Marty Cordova.

Putting the switch-hitting Matthews there "just balanced our lineup better," Hargrove said.

As balanced as going 5-for-5.

Singleton takes leave

The Orioles were a player short yesterday when Chris Singleton traveled to Arizona to attend a memorial service for his sister.

Yolanda Chandler died earlier this month after a lengthy illness. She had visited Singleton recently in Baltimore.

Singleton, who had three hits Saturday, is expected to rejoin the team tomorrow in Anaheim.

Bobbleheads arrive

The first 25,000 fans 15 and older who attend the July 15 game against Seattle will receive one of three randomly distributed bobblehead dolls bearing at least a slight resemblance to Jay Gibbons, Jerry Hairston and Ponson.

The Orioles also will give away bobbleheads of the "Fun Bird" on July 23 and Hall of Fame announcer Chuck Thompson on Aug. 7. Thompson's doll includes actual audio recordings from past Orioles games.

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