O's take beating against Jays, 5-4

As Toronto completes sweep, Gibbons' wrist acts up

Mora hit 3 times

July 19, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - The Orioles can only hope this little two-game trip to Canada was an aberration because they can't take many more series like this, both physically and mentally.

Shortstop Melvin Mora tied a major-league record last night, when he was hit by a pitch three times, and he wasn't the only one hurting after the Orioles' 5-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome.

Orioles right fielder Jay Gibbons had to leave the game after the sixth inning because lingering pain in his right wrist made it difficult to hold the bat. Today, he will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam for the first time since he had the wrist surgically repaired in August.

"It's been really bad the last five days," said Gibbons, who suspects he might have some torn cartilage in the wrist. "I'm going to the doctor [today], just to get it checked out. Hopefully, I can be in the lineup [tonight]."

After looking like a well-oiled machine earlier in the week during three-straight victories over the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, the Orioles went across the border and seemed to have their momentum stripped at customs.

The Blue Jays have looked down and out all season, but they scored four runs in the third inning against Orioles starter Travis Driskill (6-3) and held on to complete the two-game sweep. Toronto has now won six of its past seven.

Driskill had his third rough outing in four games, allowing five runs on seven hits and leaving after just four innings. Since starting the season 5-0, Driskill is 1-3 in his past four starts with a 7.59 ERA.

"Right now, I'm doing everything that I can do to be unsuccessful," Driskill said. "I can't get ahead of hitters, can't get back in the count when I do fall behind, and if I do get ahead, I can't even put them away."

Blue Jays starter Chris Carpenter (3-1) allowed four runs in seven innings but still came away with his second straight win. Cliff Politte pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Kelvim Escobar pitched the ninth for his 16th save.

The Orioles had chances to tie the score in the final two innings, but the Toronto relievers pitched out of trouble both times. With runners on first and second in the eighth, Brook Fordyce struck out against Politte and Jerry Hairston hit a soft liner to first.

Escobar hit Mora in the hand with a 95 mph fastball to start the ninth inning, bringing Mora to a knee. After being hit by Carpenter in the fifth and again in the seventh, Mora became the 22nd player in major-league history to be hit three times in the same game.

The last actually came Tuesday, and it was the Detroit Tigers' Damion Easley.

"They're not trying to hit me," said Mora, who has been hit 13 times this season. "They're just trying to pitch me inside."

With Mora on first, it created a challenge for bench coach Sam Perlozzo, who was filling in as manager while Mike Hargrove attended the memorial service for Cleveland Indians trainer Jim Warfield, who died this week.

Chris Singleton was at the plate, but Perlozzo chose against the sacrifice bunt. Singleton flied out to left field, Gary Matthews struck out, and then Tony Batista hit a bloop single to left field on a ball that probably would have scored Mora had he been on second base instead of first.

But Mora never made it past second, as Jose Leon, who had come in the game to replace Gibbons, ended the game by popping out to second.

"You can play for the tie if you want to play for a tie," Perlozzo said. "We had the top of the order up there. At that point in time, I'd rather see [Singleton] get a base hit for us. He's quick enough to not to hit into a double play. I thought that was the aggressive way to go."

In Toronto's four-run third inning, Jose Cruz Jr. had the big hit. He followed a sacrifice fly from Eric Hinske with a two-run homer to right field, his 15th of the season.

Each team scored one run in the fourth, and that marked the end of Driskill's night. Chris Brock, B.J. Ryan and Willis Roberts combined on four innings of scoreless relief, giving the Orioles a chance to come back.

The Orioles had a very shaky game defensively Wednesday and didn't do much to restore their confidence last night. Mora has played three games at shortstop since Mike Bordick when down with a hairline fracture in his right kneecap, and he has an error in each of those games.

"I just need to play more," Mora said, "so I can go back to way I was before."

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